Rookie Rob Cross Beats Retiring Legend Phil Taylor To Win PDC World Championship

Rookie Rob Cross Beats Retiring Legend Phil Taylor To Win PDC World Championship

Phil Taylor PDC World Championship

In the end, the fairy-tale finish was not to be as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, 16-times World Champion, was denied a 17th win in his last ever match. It was remarkable that he made the final at all, but at one point it appeared written in the stars as top seeds were eliminated, opening up the tournament for the retiring legend.

But as so often happens in sport, as one star makes way another emerges, and so it was that Rob Cross, 27, who 18 months ago was an amateur player and a working electrician, finished his first ever professional season as the new Darts Champion of the world.

Ranked 28/1 before the start of the tournament, a brilliant Cross — who averaged 107 and landed 20 out of 34 checkout attempts in the final — was too much for Taylor who managed just 10 from 22 in a match that ended in a 7-2 defeat at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor, heavily backed by the crowd, averaged a decent 102 and won 10 legs, scoring 12 180s — one more than Cross — but still had no answer to the rookie.

Landing a 167, Cross immediately went up 2-0 and was soon three sets ahead and never looked like squandering the lead from there. Taylor took down the fourth set but the gap between the two Englishmen was restored when Cross capitalised on his rival’s failure to land his doubles in the following leg.

One set away from defeat, Taylor landed the eighth before Hastings-based Cross, finished in fantastic style with a 140 finish, made up with two treble 18s and a double 16, to win the what will surely be the first of many more major tournaments to come. In total, Cross hit 66 180s in the tournament, 16 more than anyone else.

Cross’s path to victory

Just 18 months ago, Cross was working as an electrician playing darts only occasionally and whose winnings last year included £7 in a pub game. Cross even gave the game up for three years to look after his family. Then, he took his shot.

After failing to qualify for the 2016 BDO World Championships, he tried his luck at the UK Open, a tourney open to qualifying amateurs. Following defeat at Riley’s Bar in South Benfleet, Essex, Cross was on the verge of quitting before being persuaded by his uncle to take part in the very last qualifier in Norwich, a move which was to prove “sort of life changing,” as Cross described it on Sunday.

He duly won in Norwich and went on to make the final 32, eventually being eliminated by world number one Michael van Gerwen in a close fought 9-5 defeat. From there, his new-found confidence inspired him to go on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour where he finished top of the order of merit, giving him an automatic two-year tour card.

Then on the 3rd of February this year, Cross played his first ever match as a professional, earning £250 at a UK Open qualifier in Wigan. In the year that followed, he was to continually make the latter stages of tournaments and beat MVG multiple times including 6-2 in the quarter-final of the European Darts Open and 6-5 in an epic match at this year’s World Championships as he eventually replaced the near-invincible Dutchman as World Champion.

Next up the number three raked Cross will be playing in the Darts Premier League, the next big event from the PDC and due to start next month. Dublin’s 3Arena will open the 2018 season on Thursday, February 1 on Sky Sports Action with the season wrapping up at the Play-Offs at London’s O2 on May 17.

Phil Taylor’s place in Darts’ history

There can be few sportsmen who have dominated and influenced their game quite like Phil “The Power” Taylor. Hailing from Stoke-on-Trent, Taylor was one of the original 16 players that broke away from the BDO to form the World Darts Council in 1992. This committee would soon evolve into the PDC which held its own world championships two years later in 1994, changing darts forever.

The Power won the first of his world titles in 1990 — the same year its latest champion Rob Cross was born — and went on to win a further 15 and almost claimed his 17th last Sunday as he fell just one match short of the ultimate send off. In July, however, he summoned up his brilliant best as he took down a record 16th World Matchplay title, which was to prove his final ever major televised title win in an incredible career.

Taylor’s major titles

World Championship (16): 1990 (BDO), 1992 (BDO), 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013
World Matchplay (16): 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
World Grand Prix (11): 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
Grand Slam of Darts (6): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014
UK Open (5): 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013
European Championship (4): 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Players’ Championship Finals (3): 2009, 2011, 2012

BDO Championships betting

With the PDC players now taking a well-earned rest, it is timely that the BDO Championships begin this Saturday. The 2018 BDO World Darts Championships will take place from January 6-14 at the Lakeside Country Club where Glen ‘Duzza’ Durrant will begin his title defence against either Gary Robson and Pengiran Mohamed in the first round.

Durrant is the 5/4 favourite with Betway to become the first back-to-back winner at Lakeside since Martin Adams in 2011. His 7-3 win in last year’s final came at the expense of Danny Noppert who the same online bookmakers are rating as a 15/2 shot.

Mark McGeeney and Scott Mitchell hold the BDO world number one and two spots respectively, so they will be the ones looking to stop Durrant’s dominance in the event. That said, a victory for ‘Duzza’ in the final would ensure he ends the season in the BDO’s number one position.

Durrant would meet Mitchell in the semi-final, should they both progress as expected, while he could well face off with McGeeney in the final.

Mitchell is 12/1 to win what would be his second world title, with McGeeney currently priced at 20/1.

Elsewhere, Jamie Hughes is also considered to be a 12/1 shot, with Cameron Menzies rated at 16/1. Further down the money line, Scott Waites is valued by Betway at 22/1 with the old master Martin Adams worth 40/1.

Events will be broadcast in Channel 4 and BT Sport.

Read More
PDC World Championships Betting Preview

PDC World Championships Betting Preview

PDC World Championships

The 25th staging of the PDC World Championships gets underway on Thursday, setting off 18 days of pure darts action and making up what has become part of the holiday season’s crucial viewing for darts fans and non-fans alike.

Sadly, this will be the last time we will see the departing legend and 16x World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor throw a dart — at this level at least. But even as the greatest darts player of all time exits stage left, there is still plenty to get excited about.

The favorites to win PDC World Championships

This time last year, Michael van Gerwen was set to become a two-time World Champion, joining Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson as the other double winners on the tour. Now, he arrives at London’s Alexandra Palace — Ally Pally if you’re cool enough — gunning for a third world title.

Anderson, along with world number two and third seed Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, are likely to be the closest challengers to the Dutch master. In Peter Wright’s case, participation is entirely dependent on his recovery from a recent attack of suspected gallstones, leaving Wright unlikely before Thursday according to a Tweet from his wife. The illness has pushed his price out to 10/1 at Betway to win the event outright, which is surely great value for such a high-ranking player. Wright, always a crowd favourite, brings colour to the show and would be sorely missed should he be absent from the event. This is especially true given that overtook his great rival Gary Anderson in the Order of Merit this year.

Emerging darters and familiar faces round out top favorites

Having won major titles this year, emerging stars Mensur Suljovic and Daryl Gurney will go into the World Championship with confidence, with odds of 50/1 and 40/1 to win outright, respectively.

The meteoric rise of Rob Cross, who is making his Ally Pally debut this year, has repeatedly reached the latter stages of major tournaments leading many to predict a bright future for the 27-year-old and is now pushing for a Premier League place. His performance this year is enough for us to select him as dark horse of the tournament. Not that we expect him to win, but look out for match-to-match value or even jump on an each-way outright bet which could pay off should he run deep enough. Let’s not forget that the rookie has played and beaten Michael van Gerwen on a couple of occasions this year too, so never say never.

And, of course, it would be criminal to rule out former World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, while the likes of James Wade and Dave Chisnall will be on a mission to prove that they still belong in the company of the elite despite recently dropping out of the top eight.

The first matches and final thoughts

The stand out match of the first round is Phil Taylor against Chris Dobey, quarter-finalist in the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts. Dobey, who beat Raymond van Barneveld at the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton, will be a tough opening opponent for Taylor. Phil loves to put young threats in their place, just as he did so brutally to Daryl ‘Superchin’ Gurney last month.

To surmise, Michael van Gerwen, who has won the last four TV events coming into the last four majors, is the red-hot favourite. Then there’s Gary Anderson and Peter Wright with the winner coming from one of those three with Rob Cross, 6/1 to reach the final, as the outsider. But don’t write off Phil Taylor, who has the edge over MVG this year and will want to end on the ultimate high.

Sky Sports will be broadcasting all of the action live, across their Main Event, Action and Arena channels.

Outright World Darts Championship betting odds at Betway

  • 8/11 Michael van Gerwen
  • 6/1 Gary Anderson
  • 10/1 Peter Wright
  • 10/1 Phil Taylor
  • 12/1 Rob Cross
  • 28/1 Adrian Lewis
  • 40/1 Daryl Gurney
  • 50/1 Mensur Suljovic, Raymond van Barneveld
  • 125/1 Dave Chisnall, James Wade. Simon Whitlock
  • 150/1 Kyle Anderson, Michael Smith
  • 200/1 Alan Norris, Benito van de Pas, Jelle Klaasen, Kim Huybrechts
  • 250/1 Cristo Reyes, Jonny Clayton, Mervyn King, Robert Thornton, Darren Webster Stephen Bunting, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Gerwyn Price, Ian White, Joe Cullen
  • 300/1 Steve West
  • 400/1 Vincent van der Voort
  • 500/1 Brendan Dolan, Chris Dobey, James Wilson, Jamie Lewis Jan Dekker, Jeff Smith, John Henderson, Justin Pipe, Mark Webster, Ronny Huybrechts, Steve Beaton, Steve Lennon, Krzysztof Ratajski
  • 750/1 Ted Evetts, Kevin Painter, Richard North, Keegan Brown, Jermaine Wattimena
  • 1000/1 Antonio Alcinas, Devon Petersen, James Richardson, Martin Schindler, Peter Jacques, William O’Connor, Zoran Lerchbacher
  • 2000/1 Aleksandr Oreshkin, Cody Harris, Gordon Mathers, Kenny Neyens, Kevin Munch, Kim Viljanen, Luke Humphries, Marko Kantele, Paul Lim, Willard Bruguier, Alan Ljubic, Bernie Smith, Christian Kist
  • 2500/1 Xiao Chen Zong, Diogo Portela, Kai Fan Leung, Seigo Asada

Match schedule (seeds in brackets)

Thursday December 14 (7pm)

  • (25) Steve Beaton v William O’Connor
  • (32) James Wilson v Krzysztof Ratajski
  • Michael van Gerwen v Christian Kist
  • (16) Gerwyn Price v Ted Evetts

Friday December 15 (7pm)

  • Seigo Asada v Gordon Mathers (P)
  • (21) Stephen Bunting v Dimitri Van den Bergh
  • (6) Phil Taylor v Chris Dobey
  • (20) Rob Cross v Seigo Asada/Gordon Mathers

Saturday December 16
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

  • Brendan Dolan v Alan Ljubic (P)
  • (14) Benito van de Pas v Steve West
  • (22) Mervyn King v Zoran Lerchbacher
  • (28) Robert Thornton v Brendan Dolan/Alan Ljubic

Evening Session (7pm)

  • Jeff Smith v Luke Humphries (P)
  • (19) Joe Cullen v Jermaine Wattimena
  • (12) Jelle Klaasen v Jan Dekker
  • (3) Gary Anderson v Jeff Smith/Luke Humphries

Sunday December 17
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

  • Kenny Neyens v Jamie Lewis (P)
  • (15) Alan Norris v Kim Viljanen
  • (24) Kyle Anderson v Peter Jacques
  • (31) Jonny Clayton v Kenny Neyens/Jamie Lewis

Evening Session (7pm)

  • Willard Bruguier v Cody Harris (P)
  • (11) James Wade v Keegan Brown
  • (8) Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort
  • (17) Ian White v Willard Bruguier/Cody Harris

Monday December 18 (7pm)

  • Kai Fan Leung v Paul Lim (P)
  • (5) Mensur Suljovic v Kevin Painter
  • (4) Daryl Gurney v Ronny Huybrechts
  • (30) Mark Webster v Kai Fan Leung/Paul Lim

Tuesday December 19 (7pm)

  • Aleksandr Oreshkin v Kevin Munch (P)
  • (29) John Henderson v Marko Kantele
  • (9) Raymond van Barneveld v Richard North
  • (7) Adrian Lewis v Aleksandr Oreshkin/Kevin Munch

Wednesday December 20 (7pm)

  • Xiao Chen Zong v Bernie Smith (P)
  • (13) Michael Smith v Steve Lennon
  • (10) Simon Whitlock v Martin Schindler
  • (27) Justin Pipe v Xiao Chen Zong/Bernie Smith

Thursday December 21 (7pm)

  • (26) Cristo Reyes v Antonio Alcinas
  • (18) Kim Huybrechts v James Richardson
  • (23) Darren Webster v Devon Petersen
  • (2) Peter Wright v Diogo Portela

Second Round

Friday December 22
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

  • Price/Evetts v White/Bruguier/Harris
  • Chisnall/Van der Voort v Beaton/O’Connor
  • Klaasen/Dekker v Bunting/Van den Bergh

Evening Session (7pm)

  • Suljovic/Painter v Thornton/Ljubic/Dolan
  • G Anderson/J Smith/Humphries v M Webster/Leung/Lim
  • Van Gerwen/Kist v Wilson/Ratajski

Saturday December 23
Afternoon Session (1pm)

  • Wade/Brown v King/Lerchbacher
  • M Smith/Lennon v Cross/Asada/Mathers
  • Van de Pas/West v Cullen/Wattimena

Evening Session (7pm)

  • Gurney/R Huybrechts v Henderson/Kantele
  • Taylor/Dobey v Pipe/Zong/Smith
  • Van Barneveld/North v K Anderson/Jacques

Wednesday December 27
Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

  • Whitlock/Schindler v D Webster/Petersen
  • Norris/Viljanen v K Huybrechts/Richardson
  • A Lewis/Oreshkin/Munch v Reyes/Alcinas

Evening Session (7pm)

  • Wright/Portela v Clayton/Neyens/J Lewis

All sets are the best of five legs and the following formats apply.

Knockout Stages

  • First Round – Best of five sets
  • Second Round – Best of seven sets
  • Third Round Best of seven sets
  • Quarter-Finals Best of nine sets
  • Semi-Finals Best of 11 sets
  • Final Best of 13 sets (Monday, 1st of January)
Read More
Grand Slam of Darts Group Stage Roundup

Grand Slam of Darts Group Stage Roundup

Phil Taylor Qualifies for Group Stage

Despite suffering defeat to James Wade, Phil Taylor joined Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Raymond van Barneveld and Daryl Gurney in the last sixteen of the Grand Slam of Darts. Wade, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney and Dave Chisnall will all be there too as the Round One Group Stage threw up little in the way of surprises.

The path to the final 16

For Taylor, progression into the knockout stages of his last ever Grand Slam was secured without even throwing a dart following Robbie Green’s shock 5-3 defeat to the BDO’s Peter Machin who had already been eliminated.

Green almost beat The Power on Sunday before the departing legend showed the class of old to fight back to a 4-3 win. However, last night in a match against James Wade The Power wasn’t able to match his opponent, averaging just under 85 and missing 11 darts at doubles in a 5-3 defeat that saw both men progress.

Elsewhere, two-time defending champion Michael van Gerwen — who was already guaranteed a place in Round Two — topped Group A after he made it three wins out of three following a 5-2 victory over Joe Murnan in which the Dutchman averaged over 108.

The world number one and pre-tournament favourite was followed out of the group by Rob Cross who secured a runner up spot with a 5-2 triumph over the BDO’s Ross Montgomery. In Group B, Raymond van Barneveld and second-placed Steve Lennon both moved into the last 16 at the expense of Gerwyn Price, the biggest name eliminated so far.

Group D was sorted in dramatic style after a nine-dart shootout was required to decide the result between Websters, Mark and Darren. The pair — which are no relation — returned to the oche after their match was tied with Mark scoring 298. Darren, who had previously lost 5-1 to Daryl Gurney, landed a brilliant win-or-die treble 19 with his last shot to total 301 and take the group’s second place behind Gurney.

The other groups were all finished on Monday, meaning we already knew Peter Wright had failed to secure the top spot in his admittedly tough Group E. He took second place behind Glen Durrant of the BDO, which we predicted as a possible outcome last week. Stephen Bunting topped Group F at the expense of Dave Chisnall, who still progresses as do the first and second place finishers of Group G — Mensur Suljovic and Michael Smith respectively.

There were also no surprises in the final group as the world number two Gary Anderson ran out the winner and was joined in the last 16 by Berry van Peer, despite his attack of Dartitis on Monday night.

Prices for final 16

Heading into the final 16, Betway has updated their outright odds accordingly.

Michael van Gerwen (8/11), Gary Anderson (11/2), Peter Wright (10/1), Phil Taylor (10/1), Mensur Suljovic (18/1), Daryl Gurney (20/1), Rob Cross (20/1), Glen Durrant (22/1), Raymond van Barneveld (40/1), Dave Chisnall (50/1), Michael Smith (66/1), James Wade (80/1), Stephen Bunting (100/1), Darren Webster (150/1), Steve Lennon (250/1) and Berry van Peer (500/1).

Second Round (Best of 19 legs)

TV Coverage: Sky Sports Action/Main Event (19:00)

Wednesday November 15

Mensur Suljovic v Berry van Peer
Glen Durrant (BDO) v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Michael Smith
Stephen Bunting v Peter Wright

Thursday November 16

Michael van Gerwen v Steve Lennon
Raymond van Barneveld v Rob Cross
Phil Taylor v Darren Webster
Daryl Gurney v James Wade

Read More