Is Cross’ victory history repeating itself?
Written by Spark on 2nd January 2018
Michael Lough examines Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor’s shock loss.
In Stephen King’s novel ‘11/22/63’ he repeatedly observes that “the past harmonizes with itself”, King was talking about time travel, but it could equally be applied to the 2018 Worlds Darts Championship final.
New kid on the block Rob Cross thrashed the widely considered best darts player of all time 7-2 to cap off a remarkable year for the former electrician. Rewind 28 years and Phil Taylor comprehensively beat one of the best darts players of all time, idol and personal mentor Eric Bristow to stun the world.
Of course, I’m not claiming that Cross will go on to have the career anywhere near as impressive as Phil Taylor’s but the rise of the 27-year-old from electrician to PDC world champion can only be good for the future of darts.
Phil Taylor helped revolutionise darts in the early 90’s by being one of the players to lead a breakaway from the British Darts Organisation to form the Professional Darts Corporation as well as setting a number of records that are unlikely to ever be beaten. But as with all sports, it can become tedious when one person completely dominates with little in terms of competition. Rivalry makes for compelling viewing and The Power certainly had a number of those down the years including Dennis Priestly, John Part, Raymond Van Barneveld and most recently, Michael Van Gerwen. Such was his brilliance, that everyone was desperate to claim the scalp of the greatest darts player of all time.
In the aftermath of Taylor’s World Championship Final defeat, he admitted that he no longer had the hunger of the energy to compete with the younger players. This is why the emergence of the likes of Rob Cross, Jamie Lewis and Van den Bergh in the 2018 Worlds combined with the number of seeds who were defeated against all the odds suggests that the established status quo might be in for a rude awakening over the coming years.
Of course, Van Gerwen is still very much the man to beat but with the continual rise of the new generation of top class players as well as the threat of the established old guard such as RVB, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson he certainly won’t have it all his own way and a new wave of rivalries could captivate the ever-growing audiences around the globe.
For Phil Taylor it was a disappointing way to bow out of professional darts, but on the evidence of the last few weeks, the future of the sport is very much in safe hands.