Template - Date: Unibet Premier League 2018

Cross capped an incredible debut year as a professional by reaching the William Hill World Darts Championship final at Alexandra Palace, and headlines four new faces for the 2018 Unibet Premier League.

World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney, Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic and 2017 UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price will also come in to make their Prmeier League debuts. Michael van Gerwen will be bidding to win his fourth Premier League title as the defending champion when the 2018 season begins at Dublin’s 3Arena on Thursday February 1.

Former champions Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld are joined by 2017 runner-up Peter Wright, while 2012 runner-up Simon Whitlock and former World Youth Champion Michael Smith return to the Premier League field this year. The ten players will face each other once over the first nine weeks, before the bottom two players are eliminated following Judgement Night at The SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday March 29.

The remaining eight players then meet for a second time in the league before the top four players progress to compete in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 17. The Unibet Premier League will also visit Germany for the first time in 2018, with the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin playing host to the event on Thursday March 22.

Rotterdam Ahoy will also host a sold-out league night for the third successive year, as well as traversing the UK and Ireland over a four-month period. The 2018 Unibet Premier League season will be the first since the tournament was introduced in 2005 which will not feature six-time champion Phil Taylor, who retired following the World Championship final.

Former champion James Wade, 2011 finalist Adrian Lewis, Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts also drop out of the Premier League after competing in 2017. Fixtures for the 2018 Unibet Premier League will be confirmed in due course.

2018 Unibet Premier League
Competitors (in alphabetical order)

Gary Anderson
Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith
Mensur Suljovic
Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright

2018 Unibet Premier League Dates & Venues

Night One – February 1
3Arena Dublin
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie and 0818 719 300 (ROI) or 0844 847 2455 (UK & NI)

Night Two – February 8
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Tickets via www.motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk and 029 2022 4488

Night Three – February 15
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 493 6666

Night Four – February 22
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Tickets via PDC Europe and through Affilitix +49 361 644 189 760 and with email support via [email protected]

Night Five – March 1
Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Tickets via www.ticketzone.co.uk and 08444 99 99 55

Night Six – March 8
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 248 1585

Night Seven – March 15
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Tickets via www.motorpointarenanottingham.com and 0843 373 3000

Night Eight – March 22
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Tickets via www.thessehydro.com and 0844 395 4000

Night Nine – March 29
The SSE Arena, Belfast
Tickets via www.ssearenabelfast.com and 028 9073 9074
Tickets priced at £45/£39 and £25.50 including booking fee

Night Ten – April 5
Echo Arena, Liverpool
Tickets via www.echoarena.co.uk and 0844 8000 400

Night 11 – April 12
The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
Tickets via www.flydsaarena.co.uk and 0114 256 5656

Night 12 – April 19
Rotterdam Ahoy
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.nl and 0900 300 1250 (Netherlands, 60 cpm) or 0031 88 123 24 25 (Outside Netherlands)

Night 13 – April 26
The Manchester Arena
Tickets via www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 847 8000

Night 14 – May 3
Arena Birmingham
Tickets via www.theticketfactory.com and 0844 33 88 222

Night 15 – May 10
The BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
Tickets via www.ticketmaster.co.uk/AECC and 08444 77 9000

Play-Offs – May 17
The O2, London
Tickets via www.axs.com and 0844 856 0202

Template - Date: Rob Cross is World Champion

ROB CROSS produced the performance of his life to win the William Hill World Darts Championship with an incredible 7-2 win over Phil Taylor, as the legendary Stoke thrower ended his career in defeat at Alexandra Palace.

Taylor had been bidding to win a 17th World Championship title to end the sport’s most successful career in a blaze of glory as he prepares to move into retirement. However, Cross produced a display reminiscent of Taylor himself when he had broken through to win the 1990 World Championship with a 6-1 rout of mentor Eric Bristow as the 27-year-old completed his remarkable rise by claiming the biggest title in darts.

Cross watched last year’s World Championship final at home as he prepared to join the PDC circuit full-time, but lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy and secured the £400,000 first prize – double his career earnings to date – with an incredible display. The former electrician won the first three sets without reply, taking out 167 to win the second and 153 to claim the third as he took nine of the opening 11 legs.

Taylor hit back in the fourth with three successive legs, and then missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the opening leg of set five – only to see Cross take that leg and the set to restore his advantage. He then took the next two sets by a 3-1 scoreline to move 6-1 up as he maintained an average of 107, and though Taylor won the eighth without reply to claim his second set, Cross would not be denied as he won set nine with a 140 checkout to secure the title.

William Hill World Darts Championship

Monday January 1st 2018

The Final
(107.67) Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor (102.26)
Best of 13 sets

Set-By-Set Information

Rob Cross 7-2 Phil Taylor

Pre-Match Bull:
Phil Taylor wins the bull but gives the throw to Rob Cross, who will throw first

First Set (1-0)
1-0 – Cross holds throw with a solid 84 outshot on a 14-dart leg to start the final. 1-1 – Taylor responds with a 14-darter of his own as Cross suffers two bounce outs! 2-1 – Cross hits TWO 180s in the leg as he takes it in just 12 darts. 3-1 – Taylor hits a 180 but misses two doubles allowing Cross to pinch a break for the set.

Second Set (2-0)
1-0 – A 180 for Cross helps him to a second successive break of the Taylor throw. 2-0 – Tidy 68 checkout from Cross doubles his advantage in the set. 2-1 – A second 180 of the match and tops finish gets Taylor on the board. 3-1 – Special darts from Cross as he takes out 167 on the Bull for the set.

Third Set (3-0) 
1-0 – No let up from Cross as he hits another maximum to kick off with a hold. 2-0 – A fifth 180 of the match and an 11-darter from Cross for a break. 3-0 – Astonishing darts from Cross as he takes out 153 for the set.

Fourth Set (3-1)
0-1 – Cross hits a 180 but Taylor takes out 151 – vintage Taylor but it’s all just to hold throw. 0-2 – Taylor backs up that amazing finish with a 14-dart break of throw. 0-3 – Third straight leg for Taylor as he cleans up 80 to get a set on the board.

Fifth Set (4-1)
1-0 – Incredible! Taylor just misses double 12 for a NINE-DARTER, but then loses the leg as Cross takes out 83. 2-0 – Cross now backs up that leg with an 11-darter to break. 3-0 – Just a standard 14-darter for Cross, with an eighth 180 thrown in.

Sixth Set (5-1)
1-0 – Relentless Cross hits a 180 and another 11 darter to start the set. 2-0 – Yet another maximum for Cross and this time a 13-dart leg. 2-1 – Taylor hits a 80 of his own and a 123 finish to hold throw. 3-1 – This time it’s 14 darts for Cross who takes out 84 for the set.

Seventh Set (6-1)
1-0 – Cross hasn’t missed D18 yet – he nails it again to take out 56 and a 13-darter. 1-1 – A 13-darter from Taylor with a 180 but yet again on his own throw. 2-1 – An 11th 180 for Cross helps him go ahead.

Eighth Set (6-2)
0-1 – Cross actually misses a couple of doubles for once – Taylor doesn’t. 0-2 – A 180 and a 12-darter for Taylor in a rare break of the Cross throw. 0-3 – Another two missed doubles from Cross as Taylor takes the set.

Ninth Set (7-2)
1-0 – 13 darts is all it takes for Cross to go ahead. 2-0 – Back-to-back 13 darters takes it despite a Taylor 180. 3-0 – He’s done it! An amazing finish as Cross takes out 140 to win it in style – incredible darts!