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Darting greats Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld will be renewing their rivalry – after Paddy Power set up a Darts From Home match between the pair, in conjunction with Target Darts.
The legendary Taylor and Van Barneveld, who have won 21 world titles between them, have met in two world championship finals, winning one apiece. The Paddy Power match, in almost no way at all, will act as the determiner.
Their last meeting was in 2017, with Taylor winning their Champions League of Darts match-up. This will be the first time they’ve played each other – or, indeed, anyone – digitally.
Using the interactive Target Nexus dart board, the pair will be able to play remotely – with the board allowing the players to see, speak to, and play each other from their own homes, meaning the match can happen in complete isolation during lockdown.
Paddy Power will make a £1,000 donation to the NHS charity Heroes for every 180 hit in the match.
And big finishes are practically guaranteed – with the entire bullseye (including outer and as well as inner bull) worth 50 in soft-tip darts, this match could have one of the highest averages in darting history.
The clash will be filmed on mounted iPhones sent to both players and will be available to view on Paddy Power Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels, as well as Target Darts Twitter and Facebook.
That’s if they know how to operate them. Paddy Power technicians had to send Taylor an extensive brief on how to use the phone – and have even removed all other apps to ensure he finds the camera function. Let’s hope he hits record.
Either way, he will be cheered on by girlfriend Karen – so long as she’s back from walking the dog in time. Her words, not ours.
It follows the brand’s exhibition match between former England footballers Wayne Bridge and Jamie Redknapp last week.
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “The whole world has been lamenting the loss of top-level sport to keep us entertained in these strange times.
“Well you don’t get much more top-level than Taylor and Barney when it comes to darts, and both players will be really going for it.
“It may not be Ally Pally, but Darts From Home should at least offer some relief for all my fellow sports fans who are going stir crazy during lockdown.”
James Tattersall, Target Darts spokesperson said: “Sport provides entertainment and brings people together.
“We wanted to give sports fans some action and for sports stars to have some competitive fun – what better way than using our online dart network to create a Darts from Home match!”
Darts legend Phil The Power Taylor has stepped in to help an NHS worker whose bicycle was stolen during a busy shift.
StokeonTrentLive reported earlier this week how Spencer James was devastated after discovering his bike had been taken from outside the Royal Stock University Hospital.
The 25-year-old, who works as an imaging scheduler the X-ray department, had been using the bike for his commute from his home in Eccleshall.
Now Burslem-born Phil has replaced Spencer's bicycle with a KTM Electric Bike after seeing his story on Stoke on Trent Live.
He said: "I was shocked by the story straight away. I couldn't believe anyone could do this to someone. These are the same people who will want them to look after them in a couple weeks time.
"The lad is putting his life on the line for us for some scumbag to steal his bike.
GARY ANDERSON lifted the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts title for the first time with an 11-4 victory over Peter Wright in the final in Brighton on Sunday.
The two-time World Champion made it four televised titles for the year thanks to a series of spectacular displays throughout the weekend at The Brighton Centre as he clinched the £100,000 top prize.
Anderson avenged his 2017 Champions League final defeat to Mensur Suljovic with an 11-4 triumph in the semi-final before seeing off his fellow Scot by the same scoreline in the final.
Having survived two missed match darts against Michael van Gerwen in their final group game earlier in the day which would have eliminated the World Matchplay winner, Anderson recovered to fire in three ten-darters during a dominant display in the final.
"I'm over the moon to win, it was a hard weekend and I struggled at times but came good in the end," said Anderson, who has also won the UK Open, World Matchplay and US Darts Masters in 2018.
"I just turn up and play my game but it's going alright so far this year. It's been a good weekend."
Anderson also landed seven perfect darts in his bid for a nine-darter which would have earned the Brighton crowd a share of a £50,000 prize offered by sponsors Paddy Power.
"I had a good go at the nine-darter, I really tried for the fans all weekend," he added. "Now I'm looking forward to having a few days at home - my little man [son Tai] will love this trophy!"
Anderson flew out of the blocks in the final, breaking the Wright throw three times as he raced into a commanding 6-1 lead.
Wright, who came from 8-5 down to defeat Van Gerwen 11-9 in the semis, fought hard to stay in the game but a 4-7 deficit was as close as he came to halting his World Cup of Darts teammate's march to glory.
Anderson reeled off the next four legs in typically quick fashion, ending the game with three ten-dart legs and a 65% checkout rate to land his maiden Champions League title.
Despite falling at the final hurdle, it was a positive weekend for Wright, who had previously failed to make it out of the group stage in the previous two years of the event.
"I think I just ran out of steam," Wright admitted. "I played really well but I had nothing left in the final.
"Gary is the man to beat at the moment and I believe I lost to the best player of the weekend.
"It was a pleasure to play in front of such an amazing crowd."
Sunday afternoon's final group matches had seen Wright join Suljovic in progressing from Group B with a 10-3 win over World Champion Rob Cross.
A disappointed Cross said: "I didn't play anywhere near my best. I was so determined to play well but it didn't happen for me.
"It wasn't good enough this weekend and I've got to take it on the chin. We've got lots of big events coming up and I know what I've got to work on to put it right."
Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney, meanwhile, agonisingly missed out in Group A, with his 10-7 win over Dave Chisnall coming in vain when Anderson edged past Van Gerwen by taking out 140 in the deciding leg of their contest.
Gurney conceded: "I couldn't have done much more. I gave it my all and to win two games out of three in a group like that is a good achievement."
Focus on the PDC circuit now moves to the Unibet World Grand Prix, which will be played at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin from September 30-October 6 and will be shown live on Sky Sports with tickets available at www.ticketmaster.ie.
Paddy Power Champions League of Darts
Sunday September 23
Final Group Games
Mensur Suljovic 10-1 Simon Whitlock (B)
Peter Wright 10-3 Rob Cross (B)
Daryl Gurney 10-7 Dave Chisnall (A)
Gary Anderson 10-9 Michael van Gerwen (A)
Gary Anderson 11-4 Mensur Suljovic
Peter Wright 11-9 Michael van Gerwen
Gary Anderson 11-4 Peter Wright
Written by Josh Phillips
DARREN WEBSTER dumped World Champion Rob Cross out of the BetVictor World Matchplay with an 11-8 win to reach the quarter-finals for a second successive year on a dramatic Wednesday in Blackpool.
Clinical finishing proved to be the difference for world number 15 Webster, as Cross exited the Blackpool event in round two for a second successive year.
With Cross waiting on a finish at 10-8, the Norfolk thrower sealed victory with his last dart in hand to spark huge celebrations in the Winter Gardens and keep himself in the hunt to claim the Phil Taylor Trophy.
"I really enjoyed that win, it's a great feeling to beat the World Champion," said Webster, who also reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Championship.
"When you get involved in a scrap you have to dig in and win it. I know I'm good enough to beat the best players and now I'm showing it.
"I've got the chance of a lifetime to push into the top ten and now I want to keep winning and keep pushing my way up.
"I'm playing the best darts of my life in terms of results but I've still got an extra 20% of my practice game to bring to the big stage.
"I didn't used to like playing against Mensur but I enjoy it now so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into that game."
There was nothing to separate the pair with the scores tied at 5-5 but it was Webster who seized the initiative in the second half of the contest, taking out 20 to take a 7-5 lead.
That break of throw turned out to be the crucial moment in the match as Webster stood firm to hold throw four times despite the best efforts of Cross, who averaged 98.81 but paid for 21 missed doubles.
Having won through to his latest televised quarter-final, the Norfolk man who will face Mensur Suljovic in the last eight on Friday.
Austrian ace Suljovic edged out Ian White 11-8 in a tense affair to reach the quarter-finals for the third time in four years.
The world number six got off to a strong start, taking a 3-0 lead before maintaining the advantage throughout the game despite being pushed all the way by White, who clawed his way back into the contest to trail 9-8.
Suljovic crucially found double nine at the third attempt to break straight back before pinning his favourite double 14 in the following leg to book his place in the last eight once again.
"My performance was not that good, but I am so happy that I won," said Suljovic, the 2017 Champions League of Darts winner.
"It was a very hard game, Ian is a good player. There are lots of good players in this tournament who are favourites ahead of me but I will keep trying my best to win."
Last year's beaten finalist Peter Wright produced a superb 105.6 average, the highest of the tournament so far, in his 11-5 victory over Kim Huybrechts.
The world number two was in confident mood heading into the tie and delivered a world-class performance, though Huybrechts matched his rival as both players averaged over 105 after nine legs.
Wright broke the Belgian's throw to move into a 7-4 lead and then cruised to victory, landing a roof-raising 130 finish on the bull on the way to booking a quarter-final tie with Simon Whitlock.
"I felt comfortable and I felt focused - I'm happy with how I played," said Wright.
"In my next game it will be tough because Simon is a good friend but when we get up on stage I will have to treat him as the enemy. He is fantastic though and he's playing really good darts at the moment."
Whitlock's 11-7 win over James Wade in the opening game of the evening guaranteed a new name on the trophy this year.
Wade, the only former champion remaining in the field following his 2007 triumph, struggled to find his best form throughout the match but stuck with Whitlock and found himself trailing 6-4 heading into the second break.
Two-time Winter Gardens semi-finalist Whitlock took advantage of Wade's two missed darts at double to go within a leg of victory at 10-7 and then finished the job to advance to the quarter-finals in Blackpool for the first time since 2014.
"I feel really relaxed on the Winter Gardens stage this year, I'm enjoying playing up there," said Whitlock.
"I started well and then it became a scrap, I felt like I should've been further ahead at some points but I got the win and that's all that matters.
"The last time I got to the semis here was in 2014 and I actually feel like I'm playing better now than I was then."
The £500,000 tournament continues on Thursday at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, as world number four Gary Anderson plays Joe Cullen and Dave Chisnall plays Jeffrey de Zwaan, the Dutch wonderkid who has knocked out Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis so far this week.
Friday's quarter-finals begin with Suljovic meeting Webster before Wright takes on Whitlock for a spot in the last four.
2018 BetVictor World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Wednesday July 25
Simon Whitlock 11-7 James Wade
Mensur Suljovic 11-8 Ian White
Darren Webster 11-8 Rob Cross
Peter Wright 11-5 Kim Huybrechts
Thursday July 26 (7pm)
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Dave Chisnall
Joe Cullen v Gary Anderson
Friday July 27 (7pm)
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Mensur Suljovic v Darren Webster
Quarter-Finals: Best of 31 legs
KIM HUYBRECHTS claimed his first ever win at the BetVictor World Matchplay in thrilling style as he edged past John Henderson 13-12 in an incredible clash as the first round concluded on Monday.
Huybrechts had suffered six consecutive first round exits on the famous Blackpool stage but broke his duck against Henderson to kick off night three in Blackpool with a bang.
The Belgian had to survive a match dart in a dramatic deciding leg before finding double eight to claim victory in a high class contest which saw 13 180s and five ton-plus finishes.
"I am so relieved to finally win a game on this stage," said Huybrechts, who will face Peter Wright in round two.
"I was certain that John was going to hit double top and win the match but when he didn't I knew I had to take my chance and thankfully I did.
"It's never easy playing under such huge pressure but I'm so happy to win and now I'm going to enjoy this moment."
The former Premier League star raced into a 5-1 lead before Henderson battled back to 6-6 and then took out 60 to take the lead for the first time in the tie at 9-8.
Huybrechts broke straight back with an 85 finish to save the match and take the game to a first tie-break of the evening.
The Belgian missed four match darts in the tie-break, as Henderson took the match all the way to 12-12.
With Huybrechts unable to watch, Henderson missed a match dart of his own at double 20 before the Belgian stepped up to take out 32 and seal his passage into round two for the first time.
Last year's beaten finalist Wright cruised to a 10-5 victory over Jelle Klaasen in the final game of the first round, hitting a roof-raising 170 finish along the way.
The former UK Open champion struck a 122 checkout to move 3-0 up and found himself in a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the first break.
Klaasen fought his way back to 9-5 but was unable to get close to challenging for the lead as Wright marched onto the last 16 for a fourth successive year.
"I wanted to play a lot better than I did tonight," said Wright, the 9/2 second favourite with sponsors BetVictor.
"Ideally I would've produced a ton-plus average but there's a long way to go in the tournament and I'm confident I will beat Kim in the next round."
The only former champion remaining in the tournament, James Wade, was made to work hard for a 12-10 win over Jermaine Wattimena in the second tie-break of the evening.
With neither player producing their best game, the six-time Winter Gardens finalist was unable to shake off a stubborn Wattimena, who fought back from 9-7 to take the game into additional legs.
Wade held throw to take an 11-10 lead before landing double 18 to find the match-winning break of throw and set up a round two clash with Simon Whitlock.
"That was a very frustrating game for me, I thought I was going to play a lot better than that," Wade admitted.
"I just wanted to go up there and play well and not get involved in a scrap because it's never nice.
"I was nervous and anxious to get over the finishing line which, thankfully, I did in the end but I will need to play a lot better than that."
Whitlock secured a convincing 10-2 victory over his close friend and Winter Gardens debutant Richard North.
The Australian flew into a 4-0 lead and, with 36 points separating North from registering his first leg, Whitlock hit a crucial 126 finish to go into the break with a commanding five leg cushion.
The two-time Blackpool semi-finalist made it 8-0 before North won back-to-back legs to make it 8-2, but they proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Whitlock progressed to round two for the sixth time in eight years.
"Richard is a fantastic dart player, a lot better than he showed tonight," said Whitlock.
"It's never easy playing a friend but I felt relaxed during the match and I'm happy to make it through."
The £500,000 tournament continues on Tuesday at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, with four second round ties including Gary Anderson taking on Raymond van Barneveld.
Jeffrey de Zwaan, who knocked out world number one Michael van Gerwen, plays 2013 finalist Adrian Lewis, Michael Smith meets St Helens rival Dave Chisnall and Daryl Gurney takes on Joe Cullen.
Following the opening three days of action, Anderson is outright favourite to win the World Matchplay title at 11/4 with sponsors BetVictor, with Cross at 7/2.
2018 BetVictor World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Monday July 23
Kim Huybrechts 13-12 John Henderson
Simon Whitlock 10-2 Richard North
James Wade 12-10 Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright 10-5 Jelle Klaasen
Tuesday July 24 (7pm)
Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Joe Cullen
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Wednesday July 25 (7pm)
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
Mensur Suljovic v Ian White
Rob Cross v Darren Webster
Peter Wright v Kim Huybrechts
Best of 21 legs
* Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a Second Round game (best of 21 legs) reach 13-13, then the 27th leg would be the final and deciding leg.
BetVictor Outright Winner Odds - Following Round One
11/4 Gary Anderson
7/2 Rob Cross
9/2 Peter Wright
8/1 Michael Smith
10/1 Mensur Suljovic, Adrian Lewis, James Wade
16/1 Daryl Gurney
18/1 Raymond van Barneveld
33/1 Joe Cullen, Ian White, Simon Whitlock
40/1 Dave Chisnall
66/1 Jeffrey de Zwaan, Darren Webster, Kim Huybrechts
Written by Josh Phillips
JEFFREY DE ZWAAN produced one of the biggest shocks ever seen at the Winter Gardens as he dumped out two-time champion Michael van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay in Blackpool.
Number one seed Van Gerwen was odds-on to win the event before the start of play but fellow Dutchman De Zwaan repeated his UK Open triumph of March with a stunning 10-6 victory.
With Van Gerwen not at his usual brilliant best, the exciting youngster took full advantage, firing in a game-changing 121 checkout to level the tie at 6-6.
De Zwaan then reeled off the next four legs to raise the roof at the Winter Gardens and set up a second round clash with Adrian Lewis.
"I am absolutely over the moon with this win," said De Zwaan, who was making his World Matchplay debut after winning a Players Championship event in April.
"I always believe in myself, I said to myself 'why can't I beat Michael?' I know I am good enough to do it.
"To win this game on this stage is an absolute dream for me, I have to keep pinching myself!
"Everything has come together for me recently, I'm practicing hard every day and now it is paying off.
"I'm looking forward to playing Adrian on Tuesday and I want to cause another upset."
The opening match of the night saw former finalist 2013 finalist Lewis survive a scare as he overcame James Wilson 10-8 in a tense affair.
Lewis started well, taking the opening two legs before the Yorkshireman fought back to lead 7-3 thanks to some clinical double hitting.
The two-time World Champion dug deep to get himself back in the contest and went within a leg of victory at 9-8, before hitting a magnificent 116 finish - the highest of the match - to seal his place in the second round.
"I felt a bit nervous tonight because I've not played on TV for seven months," said Lewis.
"When I was 7-3 down I knew I had to find something and I did that. James was fantastic in the first ten legs, I didn't quite have my rhythm at times but I sped up towards the end and got the job done.
"I've been feeling the pressure in first round games all year so it's a relief to get through and hopefully I can push on now."
Four-time quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall ran out a comfortable 10-4 winner against Keegan Brown, growing in confidence as the tie went on after a tricky start.
Brown began brightly, leading 3-2 going into the first break before Chisnall hit brilliant back-to-back checkouts of 148 and 147 to take the lead for the first time in the contest.
Although Brown levelled at 4-4, Chisnall continued his charge as the former Grand Slam of Darts finalist rattled off the next six legs without reply to seal his place in the last 16 for a sixth year in succession.
"It was tricky and it's never easy to play Keegan," said Chisnall. "The 148 was a big turning point because he was on a double, and I think from then his head went down.
"I've got to play a lot better but I've done a lot of practise in the last couple of weeks and it's worked."
The final game of the evening saw Michael Smith see off World Matchplay debutant Jonny Clayton with a commanding 10-6 win.
Fresh from claiming the Shanghai Darts Masters title, Smith was made to work hard for the victory by the Welshman in a tight clash.
With Smith averaging ten points more than Clayton and leading 7-6, the former World Youth Champion kicked on in the final three legs to set up an all-St Helens clash with Chisnall in round two.
"I kept letting Jonny back in and it was a bit of a struggle, but I'm still in," said Smith, the 2018 Premier League finalist. "I didn't play my best but I ground out the victory.
"I felt like I was a bit dodgy but I'm glad to get over the line and get the win, and I'm looking forward to Tuesday."
Smith admitted: "After Michael van Gerwen lost, I went to give myself a little talking to.
"It's not opened up because I still had a game to play tonight and another game before I played Michael. I could only worry about Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals so I had to stay focused."
The £500,000 tournament continues on Sunday with a double session at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, including two-time World Champion Gary Anderson beginning his final challenge against Stephen Bunting.
Following Saturday's opening night, Anderson has now been installed as joint-favourite to win the World Matchplay title alongside Rob Cross at 4/1 with sponsors BetVictor.
The BetVictor World Matchplay will be televised live on Sky Sports and worldwide through the PDC's broadcast partners, as well as through PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers (outside of UK, Ireland & Netherlands).
2018 BetVictor World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 21
Adrian Lewis 10-8 James Wilson
Dave Chisnall 10-4 Keegan Brown
Jeffrey de Zwaan 10-6 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 10-6 Jonny Clayton
Sunday July 22
Afternoon Session (1pm)
Darren Webster v Steve Lennon
Ian White v Max Hopp
Gerwyn Price v Joe Cullen
Daryl Gurney v Steve West
Evening Session (7.30pm)
Mensur Suljovic v Steve Beaton
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Rob Cross v Mervyn King
Raymond van Barneveld v Kyle Anderson
Best of 19 legs
* Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a First Round game (best of 19 legs) reach 12-12, then the 25th leg would be the final and deciding leg.
BetVictor World Matchplay
Tournament Odds (following Night One)
4/1 Gary Anderson, Rob Cross
6/1 Peter Wright
8/1 Michael Smith
10/1 Adrian Lewis
12/1 James Wade
14/1 Mensur Suljovic
16/1 Daryl Gurney
20/1 Raymond van Barneveld
33/1 Simon Whitlock
40/1 Ian White, Dave Chisnall
66/1 Gerwyn Price, Jeffrey de Zwaan
80/1 Joe Cullen, Darren Webster
100/1 Kim Huybrechts, Kyle Anderson, Stephen Bunting
150/1 Jelle Klaasen, Jermaine Wattimena, Max Hopp, Mervyn King, Steve West
200/1 John Henderson, Steve Beaton
250/1 Steve Lennon
500/1 Richard North
Odds courtesy www.betvictor.com and correct at time of writing.
THE winner of the BetVictor World Matchplay will receive the "Phil Taylor Trophy" after the top prize for the prestigious tournament was renamed in honour of the sport's greatest player.
Taylor's glittering career ended on Monday night with his retirement following the World Championship final at Alexandra Palace, where he lost 7-2 in sets to Rob Cross.
The 57-year-old had been aiming to bow out of the sport with a 17th World Championship title - but instead will hang up his darts with 16 triumphs in that event.
His record in the World Championship was matched by an incredible 16th World Matchplay title when he was victorious in July 2017 on his emotional farewell to the Winter Gardens event in Blackpool.
Taylor has often spoken of his fondness for the World Matchplay as an event and for the Winter Gardens as his favourite venue, and his rapport with the tournament will be sealed in history following the PDC's move to rename the trophy in his honour.
"I think it was a great decision," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn. "We owe Phil Taylor a huge amount within the sport of darts.
"I don't know how you repay 30 years of excellence which the great man has given us.
"He had a special affinity with Blackpool, as it showed this year when he came back and won it, and we thought what better way than to change the name of that trophy to the "Phil Taylor Trophy" so that we always remember what we owe Phil Taylor.
"It's mark of respect and one I think is thoroughly deserved. I'll always have a special part in me that remembers his contribution to where we are now globally in the sport of darts.
"Everything about darts is going vertically upwards, it's looking fantastic. The World Matchplay has always had a very special place in most darts players' hearts, and I think The Phil Taylor Trophy will summarise that."
BetVictor Head of PR Charlie McCann said: "We are thrilled that the winner of the 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay will receive the Phil Taylor Trophy.
"Phil has lit up Blackpool for the best part of 25 years and he will be long remembered as one of the great British sportsmen of any era.
"It will be a great honour for whoever is good enough to win the BetVictor World Matchplay at the end of July to receive the inaugural Phil Taylor Trophy, and Rob Cross is 11/4 with the sponsors to add the World Matchplay crown to the World Championship title he won so magnificently at Ally Pally."
The 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay will be held from July 21-29 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, live on Sky Sports, with tickets set to go on sale in due course via www.pdc.tv/tickets.
BetVictor World Matchplay - for the Phil Taylor Trophy:
5/4 Michael van Gerwen
11/4 Rob Cross
7/1 Gary Anderson
10/1 Peter Wright
ROB CROSS produced the performance of his life to win the William Hill World Darts Championship with an incredible 7-2 win over Phil Taylor, as the legendary Stoke thrower ended his career in defeat at Alexandra Palace.
Taylor had been bidding to win a 17th World Championship title to end the sport's most successful career in a blaze of glory as he prepares to move into retirement.
However, Cross produced a display reminiscent of Taylor himself when he had broken through to win the 1990 World Championship with a 6-1 rout of mentor Eric Bristow as the 27-year-old completed his remarkable rise by claiming the biggest title in darts.
Cross watched last year's World Championship final at home as he prepared to join the PDC circuit full-time, but lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy and secured the £400,000 first prize - double his career earnings to date - with an incredible display.
The former electrician won the first three sets without reply, taking out 167 to win the second and 153 to claim the third as he took nine of the opening 11 legs.
Taylor hit back in the fourth with three successive legs, and 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 to restore his advantage.
He then took the next two sets by a 3-1 scoreline to move 6-1 up as he maintained an average of 107, and though Taylor won the eighth without reply to claim his second set, Cross would not be denied as he won set nine with a 140 checkout to secure the title.
Only two players have averaged more than Cross' 107.67 in the World Championship final, while he added another 11 maximums and a 60 percent checkout rate as he won 21 legs to Taylor's ten.
As Cross lifted what could be the first of many World Championship titles, he was keen to share his moment with the retiring Taylor as the pair lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy in front of the capacity Alexandra Palace crowd.
"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.
"He's been phenomenal. It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I've played him. It's absolute 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 fairy-tale."
The significance of being born in the same year as Taylor's demolition job on Bristow was not lost on Cross - who has continually been compared to the 57-year-old in his approach to the game.
"I was born in 1990 so the coincidence may be there as he won his first World title while I took my first breath of air," Cross added.
"But with what he's done for the game I hope he has a happy retirement and I wish him all the best - he's brilliant."
Although disappointed that he could not add to his 11 televised nine-darters with his first in the World Championship, Taylor insisted that his narrow miss on double 12 did not affect the outcome of the match.
"It was close, I think the Paul Lim one would have been better, but it didn't go in and it didn't matter really," said Taylor, referring to Lim's miss at double 12 earlier in the event.
"At the start I thought I was going to lose 7-0 but when I got a set I thought to try and keep the score respectable and try and push him and make him think a bit, but it just didn't happen."
Taylor once again says that there are striking similarities between new World Champion Cross and himself in the way they both play darts.
"I tried my best, I just didn't have that push against him," added Taylor. "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."
The £400,000 prize money which Cross took as champion means that he has risen to third on the PDC Order of Merit, incredibly achieving the feat inside 12 months on a two-year ranking list.
Cross will also now make his Unibet Premier League debut in February after being included as one of four debutants - alongside Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Price - for the tournament.
Taylor, meanwhile, has seen his retirement marked by the PDC with the renaming of the BetVictor World Matchplay trophy as "The Phil Taylor Trophy" from 2018 onwards, making his amazing 16 Blackpool triumphs.
William Hill World Darts Championship
Monday January 1
Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor
Best of 13 sets
Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor
Pre-Match Bull: Phil Taylor has won the bull but given the throw to Rob Cross, who will throw first
1-0 - Cross holds throw with a solid 84 outshot on a 14-dart leg to start the final.
1-1 - Taylor responds with a 14-darter of his own as Cross suffers two bounce outs.
2-1 - Cross hits TWO 180s in the leg as he takes it in just 12 darts.
3-1 - Taylor hits a 180 but misses two doubles allowing Cross to pinch a break for the set.
1-0 - A 180 for Cross helps him to a second successive break of the Taylor throw.
2-0 - A tidy 68 checkout from Cross doubles his advantage in the set.
2-1 - A second 180 of the match and tops finish gets Taylor on the board.
3-1 - Special darts from Cross as he takes out 167 on the bull for the set.
1-0 - No let up from Cross as he hits another maximum to kick off with a hold.
2-0 - A fifth 180 of the match and an 11-darter from Cross for a break.
3-0 - Astonishing darts from Cross as he takes out 153 for the set.
0-1 - Cross hits a 180 but Taylor takes out 151 - vintage Taylor but it's all just to hold throw.
0-2 - Taylor backs up that amazing finish with a 14-dart break of throw.
0-3 - Third straight leg for Taylor as he cleans up 80 to get a set on the board.
1-0 - Incredible! Taylor just misses double 12 for a NINE-DARTER, but then loses the leg as he misses three further darts at doubles before Cross takes out 83.
2-0 - Cross now backs up that leg with an 11-darter to break.
3-0 - Just a standard 14-darter for Cross, with an eighth 180 thrown in.
1-0 - Relentless Cross hits a 180 and another 11-darter to start the set.
2-0 - Yet another maximum for Cross and this time a 13-dart leg.
2-1 - Taylor hits a 80 of his own and a 123 finish to hold throw.
3-1 - This time it's 14 darts for Cross who takes out 84 for the set.
1-0 - Cross hasn't missed double 18 yet - he nails it again to take out 56 and a 13-darter.
1-1 - A 13-darter from Taylor with a 180 but yet again on his own throw.
2-1 - An 11th 180 for Cross helps him go ahead.
3-1 - Taylor lands a 180, but misses the bull for a 161 finish as Cross steps in to take out 93 for a 12-darter to move a set away from the title.
0-1 - Cross actually misses a couple of doubles for once - Taylor doesn't as he lands double 16.
0-2 - A 180 and a 12-darter for Taylor in a rare break of the Cross throw.
0-3 - Another two missed doubles from Cross as Taylor takes the set.
1-0 - 13 darts is all it takes for Cross to go ahead as he seeks to close out the win.
2-0 - Cross lands a 177 as he completes back-to-back 13 darters, despite a Taylor 180.
3-0 - He's done it! An amazing finish as Cross takes out 140 to win it in style - incredible darts as he scores 59, 140, 162 and then checks out 140 for the title!
ROB CROSS ended Michael van Gerwen's reign as William Hill World Darts Champion in an epic 11-set semi-final on Saturday as he set up a decider with Phil Taylor, whose dream finale continued with a 6-1 defeat of Jamie Lewis at Alexandra Palace.
Cross has enjoyed the most spectacular debut year in the sport's history since turning professional at the start of 2017, winning four events and reaching the European Championship final during his rise into the top 32.
The 20th seed will now contest the richest-ever darts match in Monday's final as he takes on legendary 16-time World Champion Taylor - who will be competing in his final game before retirement.
Cross ended Van Gerwen's bid to retain the World Championship title in a two-hour slugfest which left a capacity Ally Pally crowd captivated.
The 27-year-old former electrician matched Van Gerwen every step of the way as they traded heavy blows time after time and in the end they could only be separated by one single game of sudden-death 501 after remaining locked at five-all in the final set.
Both men won 27 legs and they combined for a semi-final record 31 maximums, but the key stat is the six match darts which Van Gerwen missed as he saw his title slip away in the dramatic finale.
Van Gerwen missed five of those chances in the tenth leg of the final set, allowing Cross to force the sudden-death leg where he punished a further miss from the Dutchman before landing double eight to seal a momentous victory.
"Words can't explain it, they really can't," said Cross. "Obviously I've lost to Michael a fair few times but tonight was my turn.
"At a point I felt inexperienced, I really did, but I managed to get through it and I'll make sure I'm right again for a couple of days."
Cross has not been able to get the better of Van Gerwen in a televised game previously, including losing in October's European Championship final, but showed his class in adapting to the big stage in Saturday's triumph.
"I'm confident in my own ability and I actually think if I come out and play like I can, near my best, then I actually believe I can keep up with Michael every day," said Cross.
"Obviously there are factors that mean I've not been able to do that but that just comes with being more comfortable. I feel I could be better than I have been but that comes with being more comfortable."
Van Gerwen landed one more 180 than Cross with 16 and achieved a higher average of 102.44, but crucially was left to rue his late missed doubles
"I hate losing, especially in this tournament," admitted Van Gerwen afterwards. "I think I was better than Rob but on the important moments I could not bring something extra.
"Missing these doubles was extremely painful. There was nothing I could do about it. He played really well, all credit to him. But I should have won this. I can only blame myself and nobody else.
"Of course he’s a great winner. But I think I deserved to win this match to be quite honest. I had six match darts and normally I don’t miss that many. I’m sick of it.
"I think this is just his year. He had the luck going for him. It’s that simple. Those doubles were so close on the wire. I’m sick about that. Normally that doesn’t happen to me and I’m the only one to blame for it.
"My scoring was good at the right moment but my doubles let me down. I can only blame myself for that."
That unforgettable clash had come after Phil Taylor's amazing last tournament continued as the 57-year-old's bid to win a 17th World Championship saw him power past Jamie Lewis 6-1 in their last four tie.
Taylor maintained his proud record of having never lost a World Championship semi-final as he made it into the final for the 21st and final time, although his win was harder than the scoreline suggested.
Lewis claimed the game's opening set but agonisingly lost the next three in a deciding leg as Taylor moved ahead, and the young Welshman eventually paid the price for nine missed set darts.
"It's surreal to be honest with you, it's like I'm not even here," said Taylor. "It's like winning the lottery.
"It was a struggle. Jamie's one of the players who's very steady, very accurate, he doesn't show any emotion, doesn't show any fear, he's fantastic.
"I played on Jamie's lack of experience, that's all it was. He missed a couple of crucial doubles there. He had me, in first two or three sets there I didn't know where I was and I was struggling.
"At 1-1 I thought I was a lucky boy and I just kept on picking away. The way Jamie was playing I thought I was going to be 4-0 down. He showed a lot of bottle there."
A naturally disappointed Lewis, who became the first player to win through to the semi-finals after starting in the preliminary round, admitted that the enormity of the game, in his first televised semi-final, hampered him.
"I was trying to blank it out but the occasion got the better of me," Lewis conceded. "Deep down I was thinking that I could be the last man to beat Phil Taylor in a World Championship.
"I had chances early on and misses a few crucial doubles, and Phil punished me. The pressure got to me a little bit but I will learn from it.
"My doubles have been good all week but I missed some today at important times as well, which you can't do against Phil.
"It's a stepping stone for next year, I know the darts are there now so I just need to produce them next year now."
Taylor admitted that he never thought he'd be able to reach the final on his farewell visit to Alexandra Palace but the clinical nature of his darts has returned him to the showpiece once again.
"The first round against Chris Dobey I knew I was in for a battle, but I thought if I got passed him then I could have a run at it," said Taylor, who retires following Monday's final.
"Then when I got to Gary Anderson I thought "that's you done now" because he's a younger, stronger, fitter and better player than I am at the minute but he didn't perform and I took advantage.
"It's a bit like John Part when he beat Kirk Shepherd in the final, I'm just picking up the pieces to be honest with you. It will be massive, and the best thing for me, I've got a day off so I can rest up tomorrow."
Taylor is now the 4/5 odds-on favourite with sponsors William Hill to win Monday's final, with Cross rated at Evens to capture the Sid Waddell Trophy and the £400,000 first prize.
William Hill World Darts Championship
Saturday December 30
Jamie Lewis 1-5 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 4-5 Rob Cross
Monday January 1 (8pm)
Rob Cross v Phil Taylor
Best of 13 sets
Jamie Lewis 1-6 Phil Taylor
(3-2, 2-3, 2-3, 2-3, 1-3, 2-3, 2-3)
PHIL TAYLOR'S career will come to an end in the William Hill World Darts Championship final after he defeated youngster Jamie Lewis 6-1 in their semi-final at Alexandra Palace on Saturday.
The 57-year-old maintained his proud record of having never lost a World Championship semi-final as he made it into the final for the 21st and last time in his glittering career.
Welsh qualifier Lewis was cast in the role of retirement party pooper and he played a lot better than the scoreline suggests, but paid the price for missing key doubles as Taylor came from a set down to claim victory.
Lewis averaged just two points less than Taylor and hit 11 maximums, but scoring was never going to be the issue as nine missed set darts ultimately cost the qualifier.
Coming from 2-0 down to win the first set showed that Lewis had the character to challenge Taylor and it looked like being a long, tough challenge for the 57-year-old darting legend.
The first four sets all went the full distance and Lewis had chances to win each, but instead found himself 3-1 down as Taylor's clinical finishing proved the difference, as it has done so many times over almost three decades.
A dip from Lewis saw Taylor go 5-1 up, but he still fought admirably in the sixth as four legs went against the throw before a 180 in the last helped the 16-time World Champion edge the decider.
Lewis' battle continued in set seven as he claimed the first two legs, but a 95 finish from Taylor reduced the deficit.
Two more set darts went begging for Lewis as Taylor levelled, and one last desperate attempt came agonisingly close for the 26-year-old as he missed his nemesis double 16 for what would have been a spectacular 152 checkout.
Michael van Gerwen 5-6 Rob Cross
(2-3, 3-2, 1-3, 3-2, 2-3, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0, 3-2, 1-3, 5-6)
ROB CROSS booked his place in the William Hill World Darts Championship final on his tournament debut after a breath-taking sudden death victory over defending champion Michael van Gerwen.
World number one Van Gerwen averaged slightly higher at 102 and hit 16 maximums, but was strangely shaky on his doubles - including missing six match darts in a nail-biting finale.
Both men won 27 legs in total as the momentum swung one way and another, with the pair trading 180s, 140s and big checkouts in another classic encounter at Alexandra Palace.
Cross came into the tournament with a lofty reputation despite only starting life as a professional this year, and matched Van Gerwen every step of the way before holding his nerve under the heaviest of pressure in a deciding set.
Having been labelled by some players as the next Phil Taylor - including by the man himself - it is ironic that he now faces the 16-time champion in what will be the final match of the Stoke legend's career on Monday.
Van Gerwen started a leg with two 180s three times, while Cross took out some amazing checkouts - including a roof-raising 161 to win the fifth set with the Dutchman waiting on 81 following a maximum.
Cross was always nudging a set ahead until Van Gerwen took the eighth and ninth sets to lead 5-4, but the debutant showed huge spirit to break and land an 11-darter as he hit right back and force a final set.
Van Gerwen broke in the opening leg of the set, but Cross levelled before then going ahead and forcing the world number one to hold throw to stay in the match.
Cross had the first dart for the match when he narrowly missed the bull at 4-3, but he then missed two double 16s as Van Gerwen broke to go 5-4 ahead.
Nerves were being well and truly tested but it was the two-time winner who faltered as he missed five darts for the match, allowing Cross to hit double 18 to force a sudden-death leg.
Cross won the bull to throw first and he got the first match dart of the leg when he missed double 16, but Van Gerwen also missed the same with his last dart in a bid to finish 108, as a sixth chance to seal victory went begging.
Cross stepped up and took out double eight with his first dart to secure his place in the final, becoming the first debutant to reach the World Championship decider since Kirk Shepherd a decade ago.