Bunting blasts his way to the top of the world

Just champion: Stephen celebrates back at home with son Toby and fiancee Keila

Bunting blasts his way to the top of the world

First published in News St Helens Star: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

TEARS rolled unashamedly down the cheeks of St Helens arrows ace Stephen Bunting after he was crowned BDO world darts champion at Lakeside on Sunday night.

The realisation that more than a decade of dedication and sacrifice had finally paid off, with his name joining an illustrious list of darts luminaries including John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and Phil Taylor, was only part of it.

But being able to see his 18-month-old son Toby again after missing him for the duration of the ten-day tournament, combined with thoughts of his darts-loving mother, who passed away ten years ago, understandably produced an emotional reaction from the Newtown-based thrower.

Bunting said: “We could not bring Toby down – so for ten days I had only had FaceTime on the phone - and that is what made me emotional when I did my speech at the end of the game.

“That is when all the emotions came out especially when I thought of my mum, too. She passed away ten years ago. This tournament was special to her but she died just before I played in my first one but she always wanted me to win it. That was part of the emotion at the end; it is a family thing.”

Although Bunting is Fazakerley born and proud of his Liverpool roots, he is an adopted Sintelliner having worked, lived and thrown darts in the town for more than a decade.

That is reflected in the support the Pride of St Helens Sportsperson of the Year had down at the Lakeside, including some of his team-mates from Our Ladies, Parr, who he plays for regularly. They joined his biggest fans – his dad and his fiancée Keila – in cheering the Bullet to victory.

Bunting added: “I am still a Scouser but I am proud to be from St Helens as well. I have been here for 11 years and am always proud to walk around in my St Helens rugby top as well and I was doing that down in London.

“There were quite a few people down from St Helens and a few of those were in the camper van with my dad for ten days and they all said they absolutely loved it.

“Ronnie Singleton was probably the loudest of the lot and you could hear him above them all. Eddie Dootson and some of the other guys I throw with at Our Ladies were there too.

“I had really good support – even the people who I didn’t know gave me good support – with people in the crowd dressed as cartoon characters from Family Guy – because I get Peter Griffin all the time.”

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