Departing Phil Taylor hails Rob Cross after World Darts Championship final
"I'm at the end of my career and he's at the beginning of his career- it was like an old man against a young man. It was a mismatch really, he was a brilliant player"
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 02/01/18 12:37pm
Phil Taylor hailed a "brilliant" Rob Cross after losing 7-2 to the former electrician in his last competitive appearance in the final of the 2018 World Darts Championship.
The 16-time world champion was appearing in his 21st World Championship final but was brushed aside by an imperious Cross, who averaged 107.67 to clinch world title glory on his debut.
It has been an astonishing rise to prominence for Cross, who only turned professional back in January. However, after enjoying an incredible debut year on the circuit, he is now a world champion and ranked 3rd in the world.
'The Power', making his last competitive appearance ahead of retirement, was full of praise for his opponent and admitted that the current crop have got "a big problem" in the shape of the man nicknamed 'Voltage'.
They're dedicated, they're young, they're fit and I can't compete with them anymore, I'd love to. Barry would love me to carry on, I suppose Sky would but I just can't do it anymore.
Taylor told Sky Sports: "I tried my best, I just hadn't got that push against him. He was like me 25 years ago, he was good and he was relentless. He just doesn't stop putting you under pressure and that's the way I used to be. He is a lot like myself trust me, he's dedicated, he's listened, he's learned.
"I think the players now next year have got a big problem. I think Michael van Gerwen, I think Barney, your top players, Adrian Lewis, you've got somebody now who's actually dedicated and wants to win.
"I actually don't think the money with him is going to make a scrap of difference; I think it's about winning and that's the way I was, so you've got a little animal now on your hands. He's got that grit in his teeth."
The former electrician took out stunning 167, 153 and 140 finishes en route to victory and Taylor admitted that it was a mismatch.
"I'm at the end of my career and he's at the beginning of his career- it was like an old man against a young man. It was a mismatch really, he was a brilliant player. I tried my best, I really did, I'm so pleased that's it for me as I just haven't got the energy to beat him or Michael van Gerwen or Adrian Lewis anymore."
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However, Taylor came agonisingly close to writing more history in his final appearance, wiring double 12 for a nine-darter in the fifth set, which would have been his first-ever nine-darter at the World Championship.
Despite suffering defeat in his final farewell, the legendary Stoke-on-Trent star was in positive spirits as he reflected on a "fantastic" career.
"It's been marvellous. I've had a fantastic career. The crowds have been fantastic. The youngsters coming through now are fantastic. They're dedicated, they're young, they're fit and I can't compete with them anymore, I'd love to. Barry would love me to carry on, I suppose Sky would but I just can't do it anymore."
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The 2018 Premier League is the next major darting event on Sky Sports, running from February to May. Dublin's hugely popular 3Arena will open the 2018 season on Thursday, February 1 from 7pm on Sky Sports Action with the season concluding at the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
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