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Stephen Bunting's delight at retaining Winmau Masters trophy
11:25am Friday 18th October 2013 in Sport
STEPHEN Bunting had to hand over the magnificent Winmau Masters trophy on Friday morning.
It was only out of his hands for two days, and on Sunday night it was polished and back safely in his possession and en route back to St Helens after Bunting became only the fourth fourth player to retain the title in its 40 year history.
It has been a good month so far for the 28-year-old from Newtown.
In the recent World Cup in Newfoundland, Canada Bunting was runner up in the singles final to Wesley Harms but was crowned Pairs Champion along with his team mate Tony O’Shea as England retained the World Cup Trophy.
But in the Masters at the weekend Bunting’s experience in Hull could not have been any different to that suffered by fellow St Helens darter Dave Chisnall in Dublin.
Number one seed and bookmakers favourite Bunting did not drop one set during his mission to retain the title, beating James Wilson 7-0 in the final.
He said: “My preparation had gone really well and my form prior to the tournament had been really good.
“Winning it before took the pressure off in the semis because I was the only one left who had the experience of winning a major tv final, which showed a bit.
“It makes it extra special to retain the trophy.
“We had to take it back on Friday morning but they returned it to me cleaned and polished on Sunday!”
Sunday was a tough day with three games down from the last eight. It is something Bunting was geared up for.
He said: “The thing with Winmau is the the quarters, semis and final are all on one day so you have to prepare yourself.
“I am the only person to win the tournament and not drop a set.
“Only four people have retained the title - Bob Anderson, Eric Bristow and Martin Adams and now me.”
He had special thanks for his sponsors Team Nevada and Target Darts, as well as fiancee Keila and his 15-month-old son Toby who were in the crowd cheering him at Hull.
His attention will now switch to Lakeside in January.
“The last couple of years I have played well at Lakeside but they just seem to step it up against me.
“I am going into it in the best form I could be in.
“The bookies have got me as favourite so hopefully this is the one. It is the one that I have always wanted.
“Winning at Winmau will have relaxed me and so I ll be ready for January.”