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Kent's Rob Cross wins the World PDC Darts title by beating Phil Taylor at Alexandra Palace

By KentOnline reporter

Kent-born Rob Cross capped an extraordinary debut season as a professional with a stunning PDC world title win at Alexandra Palace on New Year's Day.

Cross, who only turned pro a year ago, is now £400,000 richer after beating 16-time world champion Phil Taylor 7-2 in the Power's last-ever match before retiring.

The 27-year-old former electrician enjoyed Darts success in the county last year - winning £1,000 in prize money when he retained the Sheppey Classic title in June.

"I feel great, but I've got to say it's Phil's last year - I've won my first World Championship but it's about him departing and that's why I let him lift the trophy with me," said Cross, speaking to the official PDC website.

Rob Cross, left, pictured with Merlins Entertainment's Lee Dunn and her nephew Gary after winning the Sheppey Darts Classic in June Picture: Tony Cox
Rob Cross, left, pictured with Merlins Entertainment's Lee Dunn and her nephew Gary after winning the Sheppey Darts Classic in June Picture: Tony Cox

"He's been phenomenal. It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I've played him. It's absolutely phenomenal.

"In the final today it was a dream to play Phil. Watching him with his dominance over the years he has been excellent and you won't see another sportsman like him.

"It's a life-changer, it's a fairytale."

The first three sets went to Cross, taking out 167 to win the second and 153 to claim the third as nine of the opening 11 legs went his way.

Three successive legs saw Taylor hit back in the fourth but he then missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the opening leg of set five – only to see Cross take that leg and the set.

He then took the next two sets 3-1 to move 6-1 up with an average of 107 and although Taylor won the eighth without reply, Cross won set nine with a 140 checkout to take the title.

Taylor was full of praise for the new champion.

"I tried my best, I just didn't have that push against him," he said. "He was like me 25 years ago.

"He was good. He was relentless, he just doesn't stop putting you under pressure, and that's the way I used to be.

"I don't think the money with him will make a scrap of difference, I think it's about winning and that's the way I was.

"I'm at the end of my career and he's at the beginning of his career and it was a young man versus an old man. It was a mismatch really, he was a brilliant player."

Pembury-born Cross started playing local league darts aged 15. He hit his first 170 finish at the same age and his first nine-dart finish in practice when he was 17.

His first teams were The Swan in Edenbridge and The Fountain in Cowden. He played in the Edenbridge & Oxted League on Mondays, The Sevenoaks Charity Darts League on Tuesdays and the Crawley Friday Darts League and has represented both Edenbridge and Sevenoaks in the Kent Super League as well as Roffey and Hastings in the Sussex Super League.

Cross has played for both Surrey and Sussex at youth level and Kent at senior level.

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