Rob Cross beats Michael van Gerwen in World Darts Championship semi-final
Debutant Voltage to face 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in New Year's Day showdown
By Paul Prenderville at Alexandra Palace
Last Updated: 31/12/17 1:22pm
Rob Cross produced the performance of his life to beat world No 1 and defending champion Michael van Gerwen in a World Championship semi-final, final leg shoot-out.
After Taylor had powered his way into a 21st World Championship final earlier in the evening with a 6-1 win over Jamie Lewis, MVG and Voltage served up an Ally Pally classic that finished just after midnight and ended with Cross winning a sudden-death leg for a 6-5 victory.
It ensures a fairy-tale finish to a sensational tournament with Taylor chasing a 17th world title playing in his last professional darts match and Cross playing in the final on his debut - much like The Power did when claiming the title on his debut in 1990, seven months before Cross was born.
MVG and Cross both averaged in excess of 100 and shared 31 maximums in a contest that went all the way with a packed Alexandra Palace enthralled throughout, but Van Gerwen's dream of title number three is over and Cross' debut year on the PDC could yield the most unexpected of results.
"I've written my own book this year," Cross, who rises to number six in the world 12 months after watching the event on TV last year and securing his card via the Challenge Tour, told Sky Sports.
"I actually believe I can keep with Michael everyday. I feel I can be better than what I am. Rankings don't mean anything until I'm number one.
"Phil's my favourite player. He's dominant, but I need to do my own job. I never expected this rise - I'm just a normal working boy."
Taylor beats Lewis to reach final
The Power reaches his 21st World Championship final after victory over Jamie Lewis
Saturday's Semi-Final Results
|Jamie Lewis||1-6||Phil Taylor (6)|
|Michael van Gerwen (1)||5-6||Rob Cross (20)|
An opening set high in drama set the tone for the match with both men averaging more than 103 and missing darts for the set, before Cross edged in front.
It was to remain that way with Cross keeping his nose in front throughout a high-quality affair, with neither man able to break.
In fact, Van Gerwen had only led once - and that was in the first leg of the contest - before he stole the ninth set with a brilliant 12-darter having come from two legs down for a 5-4 lead, however, that proved to be just the start of an epic conclusion that will go down in the tournament's folklore.
Having been impenetrable on his own throw, he had won the previous two to level at 3-3 and 4-4 without losing a leg, Van Gerwen crumbled uncharacteristically as Cross dealt the world No 1 some of his own medicine.
Taking out double 18 to break in the opening leg of the set, Cross rattled in a spectacular 11-darter before MvG missed six darts to take it to a decider and the Hastings thrower pinned double 4 to level again.
Van Gerwen's clinical 84 opened up the set but the Dutchman missed four darts at double 16 allowing Cross to break back and then move within a leg of the final. With MVG levelling the set at 2-2 it meant that one player had to win by two clear legs to claim the place in Monday's final.
First it fell to Cross who missed a dart at bullseye for the match when leading 3-2 and then Van Gerwen somehow missed five match darts at 5-4, before Cross swooped for double 18 to stay in the match and force the final leg shoot-out.
With nothing still separating the players there was predictably more drama to come. 'Voltage' missed double 16 for the match before a sixth match dart went awry from Van Gerwen and Cross was to make no mistake as double eight sealed a stunning win and continued his own fairy tale.
The former electrician has produced a spectacular debut year to claim four titles and more than £300,000 in prize money, but on New Year's Day he will share the oche with Taylor - both men at different ends of their careers, but both chasing the Sid Waddell Trophy and a win that would arguably be one of the greatest stories of the
The 2018 World Championship from Alexandra Palace reaches its dramatic conclusion on New Year's Day with the final live on Sky Sports Darts, coverage gets underway from 8pm
Keep up to date with the news as the PDC celebrates 25 years on Sky Sports, right through to the final on New Year's Day. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts