Rob Cross determined to beat retiring Phil Taylor in World Darts Championship final

The former electrician is gunning for his first world title against the 16-time world-beater.
The former electrician is gunning for his first world title against the 16-time world-beater. Photo credit: Getty Images

This time last year, Rob Cross was sitting at home preparing to watch the World Darts Championship final with his family. Fast-forward 12 months, he has the opportunity to become world champion on Tuesday morning (NZ time).

It has been a crazy year for Cross, who is in his first year as a professional with the Professional Darts Cooperation.

The 27-year-old stunned the darting world when he beat Micahel van Gerwen 6-5 in the semi-finals to book his spot in the final against retiring legend Phil Taylor.

The final will be Taylor's last match as a professional, bringing down the curtain on an illustrious career which has seen him win 16 world titles.

Facing Taylor for the first time will be Cross' biggest match of his young career, but he has no plans to go easy on the retiring Taylor. He is confident he can stay calm, and not let the occasion get to him.

"I won't be disrespectful to Phil but I have to be myself," said Cross.

"I am quite aggressive when I play and whether it's his last game on stage it doesn't matter to me. It's a great privilege to be playing him in his last match, but I am here to win.

"I have always been able to throw darts, but I had to give up a few years ago to provide for my family. Since having three kids, and the responsibility that goes with it, I know what it's like to graft for money.

16-time world champion Phil Taylor.
16-time world champion Phil Taylor. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I am not here for the fame, but I believe I can still improve my game by 30 percent. Then I can do some real damage."

Back in November, Cross met Taylor at the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton and concedes he showed far too much deference to the greatest player of all-time.

"The first time I spoke to him was at the Grand Slam six weeks ago and I got my photo taken with him. It sounds sad now, doesn't it?

"But he did say, 'You and me in the final at the world championship, bud.' He must be Mystic Meg.

"I've watched Phil play on TV since I was about 12 and I fell in love with darts. He is an inspiration, and now I am going to be playing an inspiration in the final so I need to be inspired.

"I don't know if I'll ever get this opportunity again. If I am aggressive, it won't be anything personal.

"It is a great privilege playing him in his last match but I have to do what is right for me and whether it is his last game on the stage it does not matter. I want to win."