Debutant Rob Cross sealed the PDC World Championship title as 16-time champion Phil Taylor’s final appearance ended in a 7-2 defeat at Alexandra Palace.
Cross, 27, who only turned professional at the start of 2017, hit a 167 to go 2-0 up and was soon three sets ahead.
Taylor, 57, who won his last world title in 2013, won 10 legs and had 12 180s in the match, one more than Cross.
But he had no answer to Cross, who won the tournament in fantastic style with a 140 finish.
The pattern of the match was established in the opening set when sixth seed Taylor narrowly missed a 147 checkout but then squandered three more darts as Cross settled into a lead he never looked like surrendering.
After his superb 167, Cross maintained the momentum with a 153 to seal the second.
- Relive Cross’ famous victory over retiring Taylor
- Darts says farewell to sport’s unlikely revolutionary
- How well do you know Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor?
With the both capacity crowd and Taylor looking bewildered by the brilliance of former electrician Cross, the Stoke veteran finally put a set on the board when he recorded his highest finish of the tournament with a 151 and went on to take it 3-0.
Taylor then missed double 12 for a nine-darter and failed to finish with his next three attempts as Cross restored a three-set cushion.
Only one set from defeat, Taylor, who had an overall scoring average of 102, took the eighth set after an isolated blip from Cross, who missed with three darts at 30.
But Hastings-based Cross had a match average of 107 and secured the title in memorable fashion with two treble 18s and a double 16.
‘It was an old man against a young man, a mis-match’
Following his comprehensive defeat, Taylor lifted the trophy in jovial style and said of his time at the top in world darts: “It’s been marvellous. I’ve had a fantastic career, [with] the youngsters coming through I just can’t do it anymore.”
Cross said: “I feel great but it’s Phil’s last year and it’s about him departing. That’s why I let him lift the trophy.
“It was my dream to play him 15 years ago and now I have. I was actually born in 1990 when he won his first title.”
Taylor added: “I tried my best but he was like me 25 years ago, he was relentless and didn’t stop putting me under pressure.
“He’s dedicated, he’s listened, learned and the players next year have got a big problem.
“You’ve got someone who wants to win, I don’t think the money with him is going to make a scrap of difference, you’ve got a little animal on your hands.
“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].”
Taylor’s place in history
Few people have dominated and shaped their sport like Phil “The Power” Taylor.
From Stoke-on-Trent, he won the first of his world titles in 1990 when part of the British Darts Organisation, then the only major darts circuit.
He was one of 16 players that formed the breakaway World Darts Council in 1992, the company which became the PDC and held its own version of the world championship in 1994.
Having announced in January that 2017 would be his final year on the PDC circuit, Taylor has reduced his playing commitments over the past year.
But he has still been a regular in the latter stages of major tournaments and in July rediscovered his imperious best form as he clinched a 16th World Matchplay title.
Taylor was a key figure among the 14 dissatisfied players who in 1993 broke away from the British Darts Organisation because of what they perceived to be a decline in the game.
They helped to form their own governing body – what is now known as the PDC – and changed the sport forever.
Taylor’s dominance made him the playing figurehead of the new organisation, which now boasts an annual prize fund of more than £11m and sells out arenas all over the world.
|Phil 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|