Alexandra Palace, London

Thursday 14th December 2017 - Monday 1st January 2018

Rob Cross capped an incredible first year as a professional dart player when he was crowned William Hill World Darts Champion at the Alexandra Palace in London on 1st January as he beat his darting idol and sixteen times world champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor by seven sets to two, recording an average of 107.67. 


To win the world's biggest tournament is a remarkable achievement for Cross having only been on the PDC Pro Tour since February. In that time he has won five ranking events, beaten 48 of the current top 64 in the PDC order of merit and recorded 150 wins and just 44 loses, a winning percentage of 77.32%.


This was Taylor's last ever match on the PDC circuit as he retires after a long and highly successful career.


Cross advanced to the final with wins against Seigo Asada 3-0, Michael Smith 4-3, John Henderson 4-1, Dimitri van den Bergh 5-4 and world number one Michael van Gerwen 6-5.



Rob 'Voltage' Cross saved his best performance at the William Hill World Championship for the final as he produced a scintillating display of high quality darts from start to finish.


There appeared to be no nerves what so ever from the Hastings hot-shot, he looked very relaxed and comfortable on the biggest stage in world darts as he soaked up the atmosphere and kicked off with a 14 dart opening leg of the first set by taking out 84 (T18, D16). Taylor responded well with a 14 darter himself in the second leg, finishing on 46. Cross then banged in his first two 180's of the match as he won the third leg in twelve darts, finishing on 58 (18, 20, D10). In the fourth leg Taylor hit his first 180 but failed to take out 36 with three darts in hand after Cross had hit 171 to leave 47. Cross took out the finish (15, D16) for another 14 darter and claim the set 3-1.


Cross hit his third 180 of the match in the first leg of the second set as he finished in 13 darts, hitting double sixteen to break the Taylor throw. He then went on to take the second leg in 15 darts with a 68 finish (T20, 4, D2). Taylor then won the third leg in 14 darts by hitting double top and seemed happy having hit another 180 in the fourth to leave himself on 121 after nine darts. Cross had hit 60, 134 and 140 after his first nine to leave 167. Taylor was left stunned as Cross took out the 167 (T20, T19, bull) to go two sets up.


'Voltage' hit a maximum and finished on double eighteen to take the opening leg of the third set and then produced scores of 180, 139, 130 and a 52 finish (20, D16) for an eleven darter. Taylor then tried to gain eye contact with Cross but the Sussex man was focused on his job and set about extending his lead. He did so by firing in a 153 finish (T19, T20, D18) for a 15 darter to lead 3-0 in sets.     


Is was Taylor's turn to take out a big finish in the opening leg of the fourth set. Cross looked in a great position to break again having hit a 180 to leave 28 as 'The Stokie' turned up the power with a 151 finish (T20, T17, D20). Taylor went on to finish off the next leg in 14 darts with a 50 finish (18, D16) after Cross had missed a dart at bull for a 127 checkout, and then took out 80 (T20, D10) to win the set 3-0 and trail 3-1 in sets.


Taylor nearly brought the house down as he just failed to produce a nine dart finish in the opening leg of the fifth set. After hitting two maximums followed by a treble twenty and a treble nineteen the 16 times champion of the world narrowly missed the double twelve. A slack next throw from Taylor let Cross in as he finished off 83 (T17, D16) to take the leg in 14 darts. Despite another 180 from Taylor in the next leg, Cross broke throw with an excellent 11 darter, scoring 140, 140, 180 and taking out 41 (9, D16). He then started off the third leg with a 180 and finished it with 25 (9, D8) to take the set 3-0 and lead 4-1 in sets.

Another eleven darter followed at the start of the sixth set. This time Cross hit scores of 139, 180, 130 and finished off 52 by hitting single twenty and double sixteen. He then hit another maximum as he went on to win the next leg by hitting double twenty for a 13 darter. Taylor then checked out on 123 (T20, T13, D12) in a 12 dart leg as he tried to find a way back into the match but it was all to no avail as Cross continued his onslaught by checking out on 84 (T16, D18) to claim the set 3-1 and extend his lead to 5-1.


Cross won the opening leg of set seven in 14 darts with a 56 finish (20, D16). Taylor responded by levelling in 13 darts, hitting double top. Cross then banged in another 180 and a 32 finish (x, D16) as he won the third leg in 17 darts and sealed another set with scores of 140, 134, 134 and a 93 check-out (T19, D18) for yet another 11 darter.


The PDC debutant was now just one set away from glory and despite a few missed doubles in the next set the title looked to be going his way. Taylor won the eighth set 3-0, finishing on 57 (15, x, D16) in an 18 dart first leg, 63 (13, 18, D16) in a 12 dart second leg and 32 (D16) in a 16 dart third leg. 


The dream became reality in the ninth set as Cross won his first world title in ruthless fashion by taking it three-nil. The opening two legs were won in 13 darts with a double twenty finish in the first and a score of 177 and a 32 check-out  in the second. The last was won in just 12 darts. The last eight were perfect. An opening score of 59 was followed by 140 (20, T20, T20), 162 (T18, T18, T18) and then a 140 check-out (T18, T18, D16). 


Cross hit 11 maximums and averaged 107.67, Taylor hit 12 maximums and averaged 101.50.



In the semi-final there was hardly anything between Cross and Van Gerwen throughout the match. The opening eight sets all went with throw. Cross had a 76 checkout as he took the first set 3-2. MvG won the second by the same scoreline as he finished off 116 in the opening leg, Cross had a 12 darter in the third that culminated with an 81 finish.


The opening two legs of the third set were both 11 darters against the throw. MvG scored 171, 180, 98 and checked out on 52 in the first with Cross scoring three 140's and taking out 81 in the second. Cross then had winning legs of 17 and 12 darts to go 2-1 up.


'The Green Machine' raced into a two leg lead in set four with a 105 finish in the second leg only for Cross to level with another 12 darter to win leg three and a 74 finish to take leg four. MvG posted a 13 dart leg to level the match at two sets all.


The fifth set was another that went all the way to the deciding leg. MvG looked in a great position as he hit a 180 to leave 81 only for Cross to send the crowd into raptures by hitting what was to be the highest check-out of the match, a 161 (T18, T19, bull) to regain the lead at three sets to two.


This appeared to fire the world number one up as he came out after an interval to win the sixth set three-nil with legs of 13, 13 and 12 darts.


Cross soon got the crowd cheering again in the seventh set as he won it three-one by taking out 126 (T19, T19, D6). MvG responded with another three-nil win to make it 4-4 in sets, this included a 95 finish. 


'Voltage' looked well on the way to winning the ninth set with legs of 12 and 13 darts to go 2-0 up, only for the 'Dutchman' to level with legs of 14 and 11 darts and then break with a 12 darter to lead 5-4 and go one set away of making the final.

Cross then showed why he has had such a great first year on the pro tour by taking the first leg of the tenth set against throw in 13 darts. This included a score of 177 to set up a double eighteen finish. He then hit back-to-back 180's and finish off 83 for an 11 darter. MvG responded by taking out 84 to trail 2-1 in the set but then missed a hatful of chances to take the set to a decider as Cross picked off double four to take the match into a final set decider.


The final set proved to be a right ole ding dong. MvG broke in the opening leg with an 84 finish for a 12 darter. Cross broke straight back after Van Gerwen had missed three darts at a double. Cross won the next to lead 2-1 in legs and then missed a dart at the bull to win the match as MvG levelled at 2-2. 


The next four legs all went with throw, 14 and 15 darters for Cross, 14 and 13 darters for MvG. The match then swung in the favour of MvG as he broke with a 16 dart leg after Cross had missed two darts to regain the lead.


With the match seemingly going MvG's way he astonishingly missed five darts at a double to win the match as Cross hit double eighteen for a 17 darter to send the match to a sudden death leg. 


Cross won the bull-off to give him the advantage of throwing first. After four throws apiece Cross was left on 140 and MvG on 108. Cross hit T20, T16 but fell inside with a dart at double sixteen. MvG hit T20, 16 and also missed a dart a double sixteen by the narrowist of margins. With the crowd roaring him on Cross then hit double eight to claim an astonishing victory.


There were 54 legs played with both players winning 27 apiece. Cross hit 15 180's and averaged 100.97, Van Gerwen hit 16 180's and averaged 102.44.    




In the quarter-finals Rob Cross got the better of the early exchanges against Dimitri Van den Bergh, taking out finishes of 64 and 88 as he won the opening set 3-0 in 18, 15 and 12 darts. The PDC rookie then went 2-0 up in the second set with legs of 20 and 13 darts before the Belgian fired in two legs of 15 darts to draw level. In the second of those he took out 92 as he began to gain confidence after a slack start to the match. Cross won the deciding leg in 18 darts to go 2-0 up in sets.


Van den Bergh won the third set 3-2 winning the odd legs in 13, 13 and 14 darts. Cross won the other two legs in 16 and 17 darts. The Sussex man trailed 2-0 in the fourth set as Van den Bergh produced legs of 13 and 14 darts. Cross then took out 74 for a 15 darter and followed that with legs of 16 and 13 darts to go three sets to one up.

Cross then cruised to a 4-1 lead by winning the fifth set in 11, 14 and 13 darts. The 11 dart leg was won with scores of 99, 180, 174 and a 48 checkout.


After the next interval Van den Bergh hit two 180's in an eleven dart leg and followed it with legs of 19 and 14 darts to trail 4-2 in sets.


The verocious crowd were now getting behind the current world youth champion as he staged a great comeback. He won the 7th set 3-1 winning the opening two legs in 14 and 12 darts and the fourth in 11 darts. The second leg included a 134 finish and the fourth saw two 180s. Cross took the third leg in 15 darts with a 72 finish.


Play continued to swing Van den Bergh's way in the eighth set and again he won the opening two legs and the fourth. This time in 14, 18 and 15 darts. Inbetween 'Voltage' had his best leg of the match, a 10 darter with scores of 180, 140, 145 and a 36 checkout.

With the match now level at four sets apiece and momentum with the 'Dream Maker' he won the opening leg of the decider in 16 darts. Cross then took out finishes of 81 and 89 in legs of 15 darts to move two legs to one in front and then sealed a place in the semi's with an 18 darter after missed darts by his opponent.


Third Round


The Hastings rising star, playing in his first World Championship started and ended the third round match with some top quality throwing.


He won the opening set 3-1 with a 110.22 average, winning the opening leg in 11 darts with scores of 140, 180 and 137 then checking out on 44. Henderson won the second leg with an 83 checkout then Cross took the last two legs in 14 and 17 darts.

The second set was a lot closer with 'Voltage' winning it 3-2 despite finishes of 109 and 101 from the Scotsman. Cross won the second, third and fifth legs in 16, 15 and 14 darts. Henderson won the other two legs in 18 and 15 darts.


The third set ended 3-1 in Henderson's favour as he produced two more big finishes of 136 and 125. Henderson won legs one, two and four in 18, 12 and 15 darts. Cross won the third leg in 14 darts.

Henderson then won the opening leg of the fourth set in 13 darts before Cross rattled off legs of 18, 15 and 15 darts to go 3-1 up. The second of Cross's winning legs included a 102 checkout.


The fifth set was the best of the bunch as Cross won it 3-0 with legs of 15, 13 and 10 darts. The final leg was won with scores of 180, 140, 149 and a 32 checkout. 


Cross hit seven maximums and averaged 99.77. Henderson hit four maximums and averaged 92.81.


Second Round


In the second round Cross came from three sets to two down to beat number 13 seed Michael Smith 4-3 in what proved to be a thrilling contest.


Smith got off to a great start by winning the opening set 3-0 with legs of 15, 14 and 17 darts.


'Bully Boy' then took the opening leg of the second set against throw with an 88 checkout. Cross broke back immediately with what was to be his best leg of the match, a 12 darter, hitting 137, 100, 100 and a 164 checkout. The next two legs went with throw, including a 109 checkout from Smith. Cross then sealed the set by taking out double sixteen for a 13 darter.

There was a 20 minute delay before the third set as a cable fault was being repaired to the big screens in the arena. Smith came out by taking the opening two legs in 15 and 12 darts then Cross banged in legs of 13, 14 and 13 darts to go 2-1 up.


Smith, who was producing some of his best darts of the year then won six straight legs to take sets four and five. The fifth set was won with legs of 11, 12 and 13 darts.


The opening four legs of the sixth set were shared then Cross hit double fourteen for a 13 darter to take the match into a decider with Smith having missed match darts at double eighteen and double nine.


Smith opened up the final set with a 15 darter then Cross took the next three legs in 13, 15 and 14 darts to advance to the last 16. 


"Voltage" averaged 102.65, Smith averaged 103.29.


First Round 


Cross made his debut at the Alexandra Palace on Friday 15th December where he recorded an average of 104.12 in defeating Japanese prelim winner Seigo Asada in three straight sets (3-1, 3-2, 3-2).


'Voltage' started the match in steady fashion although there were a few snatched darts, winning legs in 18, 16 and 15 darts. Asada taking the second leg in 16 darts.


After opening the second set with a 13 dart leg, Cross then banged in his first two 180s of the match but trailed 2-1 as Asada took out finishes of 44 and 64 in legs of 12 and 15 darts. The Hastings man responded with finishes of 87 and 121 in 12 dart legs to go two sets up.


The Japanese qualifier took the opening two legs of the third set with finishes of 70 and 

120 but once again Cross stepped up his game by taking the last three legs to seal the match in 13, 11 and 16 darts. The 11 dart leg beginning with seven perfect darts. 


Cross finished the match with six maximums, four of those being hit in the last two legs. Asada hit three maximums and averaged 92.01.

Coming off stage at the end of the match Cross was surprised that his average was as high as it was. In his post match press conference he said "Alexandra Palace is a very special place, it's phenomenal, the build up and and knowing obviously for two weeks that you are going to play someone but didn't quite know who it was, was a little bit different, so maybe a bit more pressure there but I felt that I dealt with it well, so onwards and upwards.


"I'm very confident, I believe in my own ability, but I have to work hard at the game and do what's right for me, so I won't stop that. I won't get lazy, so fingers crossed it keeps going the way it's going.


"I will go home now and I will stay on the practice board and make sure I'm right for next time and that's all I can do. Two months ago I was speaking to people about this tournament and you could see the enthusiasm, they were nearly foaming out the mouth for it. In fairness I can understand that now as when I came out for the first set I actually got sucked in by it and after that I went back to normal and tried to do what you do best." 


After a sensational opening year as a professional that has seen Cross climb to number 20 in the PDC order of merit and feature in seven major televised events went into the William Hill World Darts Championship as a major contender according to the bookies odds.


Going into the championship Cross said "I'm really excited. Everything's been new for me this year and I've really enjoyed it, and hopefully that will be the same at the World Championship.


"Everyone's told me what a fantastic tournament it is and I can't wait to experience it, but I'll be staying focused on my game too. I don't know much about my potential opponents so I'll just make sure that I get my preparation right."


The draw 


Schedule of play    


Day 1 Review


Day 2 Review


Day 3 Review


Day 4 Review   


Day 5 Review


Day 6 Review


Day 7 Review


Day 8 Review


Day 9 Review


Day 10 Review


Day 11 Review


Day 12 Review


Day 13 Review 


Day 14 Review


Day 15 Review