Rob Cross destroyed Phil Taylor with a sensational performance to win the PDC World Darts Championship. Recap a stunning night at Alexandra Palace.
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Result: Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor
2210: I will end with this: that was one of the most impressive single sporting displays I've ever witnessed. This wasn't about Taylor not being good enough at his age, it was about Cross producing one of the all-time great world final performances.
It's also the day Phil Taylor retires. The sport owes him beyond measure and to many, he will be sorely missed.
Well done Rob Cross. What a champion. Good night.
2205: Cross keen to lavish praise on Taylor and his career - clearly admires the man and these are sincere words as Taylor goes off signing stuff, not really paying attention. It's all a bit odd as Taylor shows the crowd a 'thank you' sign he's composed, rather than just, say, thanking them in his interview. Shame that Cross didn't get to talk about his own performance in his interview. Now onto Phil and we're talking about his nine-dart attempt.
I grant you, we're saying goodbye to the greatest here, but there should be more about Cross.
Taylor: "He was like me 25 years ago. He is a lot like myself. He's dedicated. He listens."
I find this a little difficult. I'm sure there would've been a way to say 'well done' to the champion without it all being about Taylor, but there we go.
2203: Bizarre scenes as Taylor has a little go with the trophy. Not sure if it was his idea or the world champion's. Safe to say I didn't compose the below...
ROB CROSS IS THE WORLD CHAMPION
How do you describe that? Rob Cross has just utterly destroyed Phil Taylor. This is his first TV title! It was his first world final. He averaged 107.43, threw 11 maximums and would've thrown another handful had Taylor been able to prolong the match. This was just sensational, as good a performance as you're ever likely to see. Breathtaking. Brilliant. A place in the history books.
SET NINE, LEG THREE
A nervous 59 from Cross and Taylor pounces, ramming home a maximum in what could still be his final leg in this event as Cross hits 140. Taylor's nine-dart dreams are no more but a 131 is very good and he's in control. Cross switches to 18 and throws a mammoth 162 to leave 140, which he'll have a shot at for the title. Taylor is on 50 should he miss. Can he seal the job in style? Needs two trebles. Hits two trebles. Double 16 for the title... IN IT GOES!!!! MY WORD!
Cross 3-0 Taylor (Sets: 7-2)
SET NINE, LEG TWO
97 from Taylor and Cross again sails past it with 140. No treble on his second visit, so Cross has a big chance here and he gobbles it up, a 177 leaving him on 184. Taylor knows this is the beginning of the end and there's no treble here either - he throws 45 and is more than 100 in arrears. Cross, back inside the treble 20, then switching to 18s, leaves 50. Taylor still isn't on a finish so it's six from here. Single 18, two misses thereafter, but he'll be back. Taylor pops in a 180 to ask a question - he'll have 24 if he gets another go. Cross takes his time and hits it. Bang. One leg away.
Cross 2-0 Taylor (Sets: 6-2)
SET NINE, LEG ONE, CROSS TO THROW FIRST
134 to kick off a huge set for Cross. Should he lose it, Taylor would be throwing to get within two and all of a sudden the lead looks narrow. He throws 137 with his second set and is a dart or so ahead. Another treble goes in as he throws 95 to leave 135, with Taylor not on a finish - six from here. A nice, easy tidy-up would go a long way here, and 95 leaves him tops. Taylor can do nothing but try to apply pressure and isn't able to do that, throwing 60 to leave 148. Cross needs just one dart. Two more legs.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 6-2)
MORE INTERVAL: Brutal. No milk in the work fridge. Well, there was soya milk, but it doesn't feel like the right time to make my soya milk debut. Black tea it is. This has been so one-sided that all I've got for you is a tale about milk.
INTERVAL: Quick tea for me. Cross is still 1/25 favourite. BRB (do they still say that, on Snapchat or whatever it is? It means 'be right back')
SET EIGHT, LEG THREE
A 140 from Taylor, who has the crowd in full voice. Cross throws 59 and this is his poorest spell of the match - had to happen, I suppose. Taylor follows up with 100 and Cross now is simply trying to keep the set alive. That he does with a magnificent 177 to draw just about level. Taylor now can't find a treble and Cross smells blood. That's a really good 133 to get down to 132 and he may have six from there after just 60 from Taylor. Cross first, starts with 25, then treble 19, but is a mile off bull - hitting single 20. Phil though has 141. In goes treble 20, then single 19, treble 10 to leave 32. Now Cross, single 16, single three... miss. The first signs of fallibility. Taylor steps in for 32, hits it in a dart after more silliness with his corner. Good stuff, in purely darting terms at least, to reduce the deficit.
Cross 0-3 Taylor (Sets: 6-2)
SET EIGHT, LEG TWO
A big leg, potentially. Cross starts 96, 60, and that's an opening for Taylor who goes 123, 180 - that's pretty much why he's been the best by a mile over two decades. Cross is searching a little here but regathers himself for an important 140. Taylor strays into treble five but it's 135 in total to reach 63 after nine and steal the darts. Cross throws 97 to leave 108 but now needs Taylor to miss, which he doesn't - hitting double 16 with one dart in hand. Comeback? He'll throw for the set.
Cross 0-2 Taylor (Sets: 6-1)
SET EIGHT, LEG ONE, TAYLOR TO THROW FIRST
Feels like a formality now, but of course it isn't. Cross might realise what's going on any moment. Taylor starts with 60, Cross betters it with a 134. Taylor finds a treble on his second visit, but another nice switch keeps Cross ahead through six darts against the throw. Taylor can manage only 60 and here we have a big chance for Cross to move within a couple of legs of victory. He takes it with a 140 to get down to 134. Taylor needs a big one and gets it, throwing a 140 of his own, but in a race from 134 and 141 it's Cross now to throw. He won't be taking this one out and 58 is modest, but he should be back for 76. Should be... and is, after Taylor's second dart is way off. Taylor down to 47, but will need Cross to miss two at double. He misses one and appears shocked. He misses two. First chink. Taylor goes 15, miss, double 16 to just about scrape the leg.
Cross 0-1 Taylor (Sets: 6-1)
YET MORE INTERVAL: Our darts guru, Chris, is understandably enjoying this. He stuck up Cross at 16/1 prior to the tournament, and his forecast for tonight was a quick match won by Cross. I would say that's pretty much bang on the money unless someone slips him a dodgy turkey cob during this interval.
MORE INTERVAL: Here we are, some numbers to put on this thing. Taylor isn't playing badly, albeit his average is helped by the fact he's not had all that many darts at double. Cross is simply in the middle of one of the finest displays of darts ever witness. I knew he was good. I had no idea he was this good.
INTERVAL: No words for this, which is a little awkward.
SET SEVEN, LEG FOUR
Taylor takes an age to get this leg under way and can only muster 60. Cross just won't let any of it get to him and 100 is enough, as Taylor returns with one of his own. Cross switches to 19 and again nails two trebles in a 134 to put real pressure on Taylor, throwing to stay in the set. To his credit, in goes a maximum to leave 161 but he may need to hit it, because another 134 leaves Cross on 93. In go the first two trebles for Taylor, but the dart at bull is high. Cross, now, for 93, to move within a set of the title, and again the first dart lands in the treble. Double 18 now and he hits it yet again. We've been playing for 70 minutes and it is 6-1 to Cross.
Cross 3-1 Taylor (Sets: 6-1)
SET SEVEN, LEG THREE
A rare glimmer for Taylor as Cross opens with 57, but Taylor can only manage 60. That's nowhere near enough. Cross is back on track with 100, but even that has to be considered a chance - and again Taylor can't take it, throwing 80 after a bounce-out. Again, Cross opens the door just a little with 60, but again, Taylor doesn't capitalise, even if his final dart just about hangs onto the board for 95. Chances gone, Phil, as Cross finds his range and hits 180 to leave 104. Taylor is on 266 and can't work his way to a finish with a 97. Six from here, then, and the first is single four. A little sloppy with the first two, but treble 16 leaves 32. A classy final dart. Taylor throws 43, and there's no kind of pressure on this. Well, except THIS IS THE WORLD FINAL. He takes two this time.
Cross 2-1 Taylor (Sets: 5-1)
SET SEVEN, LEG TWO
Respite, of sorts, for Taylor as Cross throws 58. Power capitalises with a 180 which should give him enough rope in this leg, especially as he follows it with a 140 to leave 85 after nine darts. Cross is a little way back and not on a finish as Taylor hits single 11, single 14, single 20 to leave tops on his return. Sloppy from Cross as Taylor wins the leg and then milks the applause. Don't be fooled, Rob.
Cross 1-1 Taylor (Sets: 5-1)
SET SEVEN, LEG ONE
Lights have gone off here. Blogging in the dark. Was that a Springsteen song? They will be turning them off at Ally Pally earlier than expected if this continues as Cross throws first in the seventh set, which would put him one away from the title. He's down to 150 quickly in the opening leg and Taylor is way back again. Cross just wants to set this up nice and handy and 94 is enough to do so, leaving 56. Taylor throws a solid 100 but isn't on a finish as Cross returns for the leg. In goes the 20. In goes the double 18. This is all-time great stuff when you walk about one-off performances.
Cross 1-0 Taylor 0 (Sets: 5-1)
SET SIX, LEG FOUR
140 from Cross, 55 from Taylor. Cross switches to treble 19 to keep it respectable with a 97 and Taylor's 125 probably isn't enough. Cross misfires, for once, in an 85 to give Taylor a sniff and a 140 gets him back level - it's a race from 180. Cross has the darts, though, and a nice switch leaves him 84. Taylor needs to put pressure on it and he does, throwing 123 to leave 58. Cross hits treble 16 to leave 36 and, again, it's one dart. That's a 5-1 lead.
Cross 3-1 Taylor (Sets: 5-1)
SET SIX, LEG THREE
Five perfect darts to start the leg from Phil, who has resorted to some classic gamesmanship ploys here. Cross is way back but that's OK - Taylor is throwing first in this leg and it's difficult to beat five treble 20s from the thrower. Taylor makes a mess of his third visit but has six from 123, maybe more... and needs just three! That's a sublime 123 checkout, just to remind Cross he's there, but it's ultimately a hold of throw.
Cross 2-1 Taylor (Sets: 4-1)
SET SIX, LEG TWO
'Just' 96 from Cross. Taylor, though, can't take advantage, hitting 60. Cross switches for a 134 and Taylor can only manage 60. It's a 10th 180 from Cross to leave 91 and his average has just gone beyond 110 as Taylor throws 43. This is a demolition job. Cross can't take out 91 but Taylor is way back on 338, which he barely reduces until a good last dart for 100. Cross has six at 40, needs one, and is a leg away from a 5-1 lead.
Cross 2-0 Taylor (Sets: 4-1)
SET SIX, LEG ONE, TAYLOR TO THROW FIRST
It's still one break, remember. Should Taylor hold, then break, then hold, we would be level at 4-4. We'll see about that and the legs score, 12-5 in favour of Cross, does tell us something. We resume with Taylor throwing 60. Cross takes care of that in a single dart, then adds another treble 20 and a 19 for 139. Taylor responds with two trebles and a single five but again, Cross is all over it, firing his ninth maximum to leave 182 after six darts. Pressure on now and Taylor can't find a treble - he's 75 behind. Two more trebles and a single 10 for Cross leaves 52 after nine. A 140 for Taylor to leave 117 is good but Cross takes out 52 in two darts. This is ridiculous.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 4-1)
INTERVAL: The MC said 'Phil, you require 25' as Cross lined up that set, and that tells you something: this is a Taylor-esque performance so far from the debutant. He's averaging 107.96, he's 66.67% on doubles and he's Sky Bet's 1/6 favourite to win the world title.
SET FIVE, LEG THREE
Another 180 to start from Cross, his eighth, and his average is briefly over 109. How do you live with that? Taylor is trying - his average is over 103 as he bags another 140 - but Cross just won't stop here and after nine darts is down to 89. Taylor needs a big one and gets it, to a point, with a 123 leaving 153, but Cross first for the set. It's single 19, single 20 to leave bull... which hits the wire. Phil, then, for the steal. Treble 20 goes in, treble 19 goes in, but double 18 is short. Cross, then will have two darts at 25 and that means two at double eight. He needs just one.
Cross 3-0 Taylor (Sets: 4-1)
SET FIVE, LEG TWO
Taylor opens up with 58 and Cross is all over it with his 15th 140 of the match. Taylor, regathered now it seems, bags another maximum but Cross fires in another 140 and is serving it up to the thrower. Taylor's 99 leaves him on 164 but he may need it, as Cross is just relentless on the treble 20 and a maximum leaves him on 41 after just nine darts. Taylor goes straight to the 19s and hits five of them to leave 69, but he will not get a chance as Cross takes out 41 in two, an 11-dart leg. Sensational. Just sensational.
Cross 2-0 Taylor (Sets: 3-1)
SET FIVE, LEG ONE, CROSS TO THROW FIRST
Cross returns to the stage with a 137. Doesn't look like that set has fazed him, but a maximum from Taylor might - he's improved a mile over the last 15 minutes, Phil. Cross throws 48 on his second visit and Taylor is back into the treble 20 - it's three more! He'll have 141 for a nine-dart finish, his first on this stage. Here goes. Yes. YES. OH MY WORD! He misses the double 12 by the width of the wire. What a moment that was. Wow. Cross isn't on a finish so Taylor will come back for it, but he misses three and Cross could yet win this leg if he can take out 83. In goes the treble 17, in goes the double 16. That's massive from Cross. Massive.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 3-1)
INTERVAL: Well, that set seemed to take about 45 seconds and it was won at last by Taylor, who had the darts. But, as with Cross in the opening set, the manner of victory may be of greater significance than the one on the board.
SET FOUR, LEG THREE
140 for Cross after an opening 96 from Phil - this ain't over. Although, Taylor is back with a 140 and this time it's Cross who strays with a 48 which may spell the end of this set. Yep, Taylor is back with 100 to get down to 165 and while that's not a finish, 57 from Cross leaves him miles back. Taylor hits a frustrating 85 after a good first dart but Cross needs a couple of trebles from 256. He finds them, of course, so there's some pressure on this... but Taylor takes just two darts. Huge set under enormous pressure and he's on the board.
Cross 0-3 Taylor (Sets: 3-1)
SET FOUR, LEG TWO
That was just class from Taylor, who leads a set for the first time, even if it was just a hold. He has a chance against the throw here but can't find a treble when he needs one and Cross can keep his nose in front with a decent 96. Taylor's 80 means it's just about a race from the mid-200s and those are two quality darts from Cross to manage 121 after a single one - he has 127 left. Taylor, though, has upped his game and 174 leaves 50. First, Cross, and he hits treble 19 with his second dart to leave bull... but this time, he misses. Phil now wants double 16 - and hits double 16. Big effort this. It was needed. He'll throw for the set.
Cross 0-2 Taylor (Sets: 3-0)
SET FOUR, LEG ONE, TAYLOR TO THROW FIRST
Taylor starts with 58. He's getting an absolute hammering right now and could've done with a break. He's shy of 100 on his second visit, too, and Cross is all over it with another 140 to open up a lead. Taylor manages 99 but Cross is 17 behind with darts in hand. They're not his best, just 57, to leave 208 and Taylor now must take this leg. He just must. A final-dart save gives him 97 and a chance at 151 coming, but Cross is back in that treble bed with a maximum. WOW! He's down to 28. This has to go... AND IT DOES GO!! Turning point?
Cross 0-1 Taylor (Sets: 3-0)
SET THREE, LEG THREE
Just 93 to start as Cross throws for the set, which Taylor betters with 140. Cross follows with a 140 of his own and is just relentless right now. Taylor makes another mistake, albeit recovering on treble 19 for 82. At last a real opening as Cross can only hit 58 to leave 210 and Taylor shows his class with a 129 which was just a hair from 177, to leave 150. Another poor visit from Cross, 57, and Taylor has the leg in his hands now. But he throws 38. Thirty. Eight. Cross now for 153 and the first two go in to leave double 18... WHICH. GOES. IN.
Cross 3-0 Taylor (Sets: 3-0)
SET THREE, LEG TWO
Taylor is smiling but his 100 is not enough as Cross bangs in another 180. Taylor then throws 46 and Cross has control of the leg - it's five perfect darts before a switch sees him finally miss treble 19. Still, he'll have six from 182, maybe more, with Taylor on 233. In goes another treble, and another, and after nine darts he's on 52. Taylor takes his time in reply and finds a good 140 to leave 93, but is it too late? Cross goes 20 for double 16 and, again, hits it first time. If he keeps this up this will be over before the news.
Cross 2-0 Taylor (Sets: 2-0)
SET THREE, LEG ONE, CROSS TO THROW FIRST
Cross can manage just 51 as the third set gets under way. If he 'just' holds throw, he'll be 3-0 up. Taylor throws 45 and Cross is back among the trebles with a maximum, which Taylor can only follow with 60. Needs to up his game very, very quickly. Cross switches again for a 134, a fine impression of Taylor if ever I saw one. Better from Phil but 97 leaves him way back and means Cross's botched attempt at 136 shouldn't matter. He'd have liked more than 42, mind. Taylor has one last chance to apply some pressure in the leg you suspect but 100 leaves him on 199. Cross has six from 94 and will need them after 58 to leave 40. Taylor finally finds his range with a 135 to leave 64 may be too late. And so it is. Cross hits double 18 first go.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 2-0)
INTERVAL: Cross is now a 4/9 favourite with Sky Bet, who make Taylor 7/4. What a start from the rookie. It's 9/4 that the third set produces a checkout of 100+ for either man, which is probably a decent bet. Click here if you want to get on.
SET TWO, LEG FOUR
Just 60 for Cross, throwing for the set - a rare visit without a treble. Taylor can only match it. Cross switches sensationally for a big 134 in the circumstances and that ability to move down the board is serving him very well right now. Taylor sneaks his third dart in for a 140, which Cross follows with one of his own to work his way to a finish on 167. Taylor at last asks a big question with a maximum to leave 121. Cross, though, hits treble 20, he hits treble 19, AND HE HITS BULL. That's a 167 finish, for the set, in the final of your first World Championship, against the greatest player in history. HA! Ridiculous.
Cross 3-1 Taylor (Sets: 2-0)
SET TWO, LEG THREE
Nice 140 from Taylor but Cross matches it. Taylor decides he'd better up the ante and does so with his second maximum of the match, which puts him in control of the leg as Cross can only manage 93. Taylor is forced to switch on his next visit and a fine third dart gets him 96, which leaves 85 with Cross back on 176. So, six darts for it and again the first strays, this time into treble seven. He eventually settles for 45, leaving tops on his return, and he'll need it after 98 from Cross to leave 78. Taylor, for the leg... first dart high, second dart perfect.
Cross 2-1 Taylor (Sets: 1-0)
SET TWO, LEG TWO
134 to open for Cross, now north of 107 with his average. An 81 won't help that figure but those six darts give him a small lead after 99 and 100 from Phil. Cross switches to hit treble 19 after a pair of bad darts in a 78 which opens the door but Taylor can only manage 93 - it's a race from just north of 200. Cross is first to go and that 140 is a lovely shot in the circumstances, one which Taylor just about matches with 137. Good stuff, this. Cross first for 68 and hits treble 20, followed by single four... and then double two! Superb. Just superb. Phil throwing to stay in the set now.
Cross 2-0 Taylor (Sets: 1-0)
SET TWO, LEG ONE, TAYLOR TO THROW FIRST
It's a cool 177 to start the second set for Taylor, which Cross keeps tabs on with 140. Dreams of a nine-darter on hold for now as Taylor throws 67 on his return and Cross is all over it, switching in devastating fashion in a 134. Taylor, however, is back with 125 - the first two perfect, the third pulled - although again, Cross is on his tail, this time with a maximum. He's down to 47 after nine and Taylor needs this 132. His first dart hits 25 and the second is treble seven, which means Cross will be back, presumably with two darts for a break. First, he apologises to Taylor for dropping a glass after Taylor's first dart. He then goes a step further, missing two darts at double to allow Taylor a chance, which he misses with his sole dart at double top just too high. Cross returns for 32 and hits it first time. He's won the last two legs against the throw.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 1-0)
INTERVAL: There were two concerns for Cross coming into this, rather two questions to answer. Could he handle the occasion? Could he hit those doubles? So far - and it is very early - the answer to both is yes. He averaged 103.56 and hit three doubles from four opportunities in that opening set, leaving Taylor to rue that shambles of an attempt at 36. In the grander scheme it's a set to the thrower, but the manner in which Cross wrapped it up could prove telling.
SET ONE, LEG FOUR
And now it's Taylor's turn to start a leg with a maximum, which Cross follows with 100. Taylor can't find a treble on his second visit and that throw of 58 opens the door a little for Cross, but he manages just 43 and is almost 100 in arrears. Taylor goes searching after a stray first dart and finds 116 to leave 147, before a 140 from Cross gets him to 208. Taylor hits treble 20, treble 17 and is a whisker away from a big out on double 18. He'll be back for it but under pressure - and starts with double one! That leaves double 17, which he misses, hitting single. Wow. Cross is down to 47 after a big visit and has two at double 16 for the set. In goes the first. Dream start.
Cross 3-1 Taylor (Sets: 1-0)
SET ONE, LEG THREE
It's a 180 to start the leg for Cross, his 56th of the tournament - the record is 71, so it's touch-and-go whether Cross sets a new record. A modest second visit means he's not shaken off Taylor, who fires in 136, but then comes another Cross maximum. After nine darts he's down to 58 and while Taylor throws 133 to leave 136, he needs Cross to make a mistake. He doesn't, hitting 18, 20, double 10 for a 12-dart leg. Very impressive start.
Cross 2-1 Taylor (Sets: 0-0)
SET ONE, LEG TWO
Taylor in control of the second leg as Cross hits 39 on his opening visit. Taylor is down to 186 in nine darts with Cross on 269, which means this should be a formality. He pops in a 140 just to be sure and will have six for 46, after two bounce-outs to deny Cross a max. Like Cross before him, Taylor needs just two darts - 14 in total - as he wraps it up on double 16.
Cross 1-1 Taylor (Sets: 0-0)
SET ONE, LEG ONE, CROSS TO THROW FIRST
Solid 100s to start for both men. Cross bangs in a 140 soon after as the crowd go quiet, unsure what to do now that there's some actual sport to watch. A poor visit from Taylor hands the initiative to the thrower, who covers on 19s. Three visits, a treble on each of them for Cross to reach 164. Taylor fires in a couple of trebles but isn't on a finish as Cross throws a so-so 80 to leave 84. Not much pressure on it as Taylor throws just 54 and still isn't on a finish. Cross goes treble 16, double 18 and that's a sweet-as-a-nut two-dart combination to settle the nerves.
Cross 1-0 Taylor (Sets: 0-0)
2023: He's done a selfie on the way to the stage, or tried at least. Wonder just how he feels inside. Hard to say. No more time to speculate.
Let's. Play. Darts.
2022: And here comes the greatest player in the history of this sport, the man responsible, in some roundabout way, for there being a live blog of darts at the top of our website, for Sky Bet having a thousand markets and, well, for people actually caring about this sport at elite level. He's been darts' ultimate game-changer, and here he seeks a 17th world title. It would be an astonishing achievement in an astonishing career.
2019: Said it the other day, but Cross should be walking on to 'Danger, High Voltage' by Electric Six, not 'Feeling Hot Hot Hot' by The Merrymen. Equivalent would be Anthony Joshua making his way ringside to the sound of Norah Jones.
Cross is on stage, anyway.
2017: Contradictory though it may seem, was half tempted to play one of the under options in total Cross 180s. He threw 15 in an 11-set duel with MVG, and I'm not sure this will go any further. Throw in the pressure of the situation and I wondered whether evens that he throws no more than 15 might be a bit of value.
I have, however, kept it simple. Come on Robert.
2013: I know what you're thinking - 'what times does it start?'. Soon, I reckon. First we here from Cross, immediately likeable, unmistakably Kentish. Wikipedia tells me he is one of the most notable people from Pembury, along with Shane MacGowan and Michel Roux Jr.
2005: We've been running a poll on who you want to win and who you think will win. We have a slight majority wanting Cross to win, which will surprise some, but not me. We have 71%, currently, believing that Taylor will win.
You don't need luck when you've got 71(.4)% of the population behind you.
2003: "Tonight marks the end of perhaps the greatest career in British sporting history."
Oh god. Not sure I'm the right man for this.
2001: Not my favourite quote of the tournament, though. That came from van Gerwen, who is no fan of Brexit.
"You know what? Brexit has changed my life - it's made me a lot poorer," he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
"Most of my prize money is paid in pounds sterling and the lower exchange rate has been killing me. Every time I win a tournament it costs me 10 per cent - which is a lot of money when you have won more than £1million."
Yes it is, Michael. Yes. It. Is.
1957: Phil Taylor was once told he isn't known for being humble and replied, "I think I'm more humble than you would understand." Politics joke for you there. Will get back on the straight and narrow shortly.
1955: What does Taylor have planned for his retirement? In a touching Sky Sports feature currently running, he says he'd like to go home and watch the telly. Rarely goes home, apparently. What on earth does he do? Best not to ask.
And then... "I've won more than them lot put together!" he says of a self-drawn comparison with Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and so on. Bit like me saying I've done more live blogs than Hemingway.
Confession: not a massive fan. Some darts player though isn't he?
1953: Many thought we'd get a rematch between Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen tonight. In a strange way, what we have is better. The absence of the world's best player from any world championship final robs it of something, but the Cross story is big enough to fill the void.
As for Anderson, he was among Taylor's victims in the last eight. How much of a problem was that back injury, I wonder...
1943: Some route-to-the-final info before we reveal the result of our 'heart and head' poll.
- First round: 3-0 v Seigo Asada
(Ave: 104.12, 180s: 6, Doubles: 9/18)
- Second round: 4-3 v Michael Smith
(Ave: 102.65, 180s: 16, Doubles: 12/31)
- Third round: 4-1 v John Henderson
(Ave: 99.77, 180s: 7, Doubles: 13/22)
- Quarter-finals: 5-4 v Dimitri van den Bergh
(Ave: 97.13, 180s: 11, Doubles: 19/50)
- Semi-finals: 6-5 v Michael van Gerwen
(Ave: 100.97, 180s: 15, Doubles: 27/71)
- First round: 3-1 v Chris Dobey
(Ave: 96.33, 180s: 3, Doubles: 11/25)
- Second round: 4-0 v Justin Pipe
(Ave: 99.37, 180s: 2, Doubles: 12/22)
- Third round: 4-0 v Keegan Brown
(Ave: 101.34, 180s: 4, Doubles: 12/19)
- Quarter-finals: 5-3 v Gary Anderson
(Ave: 102.02, 180s: 12, Doubles: 20/40)
- Semi-Finals: 6-1 v Jamie Lewis
(Ave: 99.87, 180s: 5, Doubles: 20/38)
1942: Pre-tournament, Taylor was a shade shorter than Cross, largely because he was in the opposite side of the draw thus could not face hot favourite van Gerwen until the final.
Now? Barely a fag paper between them, and I'm very keen on the younger man at even-money. Doubling could be an issue, but he's a heavier scorer than Taylor on all current evidence, particularly in the 180s department, and can pick up some cheap legs simply by racing away from The Power.
If this boils down to doubles, Taylor will win. He beat Jamie Lewis 6-1 for precisely that reason and of course has a huge experience advantage. But could that become an issue? Might he be too desperate for this incredible ending? All speculation, but I'll take Cross at the price.
Sky Bet have a Flash Boost going on if you want to join the crowd and enhance the odds, plus plenty more odds and offers right here.
1937: This match will have to go some to beat Saturday's semi-final between Cross and a devastated Michael van Gerwen, who bowed out after six missed darts for a place in this historic final.
1930: Welcome, world, to the perfect end to the year's first day.
Yes, it's the final of the PDC World Darts Championship and this is not any old final. It's Phil Taylor's final match, and in Rob Cross he faces a young player on the brink of one of the most meteoric rises in the history of sport.
Half an hour until they reach the oche which should give me (Ben Coley, hello) enough time to get sufficient fluids into the system, because I think we could be in for a very long night.
Our darts tipster Chris Hammer isn't quite so sure, however. He will of course be rooting for Rob Cross after backing him each-way at 16/1 but he's also previewed the final and has a couple of bets to consider, with the advice to go low on sets.