The great Phil Taylor bowed out of professional darts after the 16-time champion lost 7-2 to debutant Rob Cross in the final of the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace in London on Monday night.
The 27-year-old Cross, who turned professional at the start of last year, was soon three sets ahead of fellow Englishman Taylor, who is 30 years older and won his last title in 2013.
Taylor who battled to stay in the contest, won 10 legs and had 12 180s, one more than Cross, but could not stop the sparkling former electrician who triumphed with a 140 finish.
Cross is the first man to win the tournament on his debut since Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld in 2007. Taylor won his first final on debut 28 years ago by beating Eric Bristow.
Taylor jokingly lifted the trophy and said of his career: “It’s been marvellous. I’ve had a fantastic career, (with) the youngsters coming through I just can’t do it anymore.
“I tried my best but he was like me 25 years ago, he was relentless and didn’t stop putting me under pressure.
“It was like an old man against a young man. It was a mis-match. That’s it for me because I haven’t got the energy or interest to beat Michael van Gerwen or him (Cross).”
Cross had already beaten Dutch defending champion Van Gerwen 6-5 in one of the most thrilling semi-finals in years.
Taylor, nicknamed ‘The Power’, said before the tournament that it would be his last professional event before retirement. It was his 13th defeat in his 29 world championships.
Taylor was playing in his 21st final and Cross joins Dennis Priestley, John Part, Van Barneveld and Gary Anderson as the only men to defeat ‘The Power’ in a World Championship final.
“I feel great but I’ve got to say it’s Phil’s last year, I’ve won my first world trophy but it’s about him departing and that’s why I let him lift the trophy with me,” said Cross.
“It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I’ve played him, it’s absolutely phenomenal. I was actually born in 1990 when he won his first title.
“Watching him with his dominance over the years he has been excellent and you won’t see another sportsman like him, you definitely won’t.”