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Thriller at Frimley Green: latest is Bunting 3-3 Norris
ST HELENS darter Stephen Bunting is level at 3-3 with Alan Norris in the final of the World Darts Championship at Frimley Green.
The BBC televised showpiece finale, which is the first to seven sets, is turning into something of a classic but Bunting will be rueing his missed doubles that should have seen him 4-2 up.
The Bullet lost the first set 3-1 despite having the darts, with Alan Norris starting well against the BDO ranked number one.
Bunting had the chance to take the opening leg of the second but missed one shot on double tops allowing Norris to nick it.
He scored well in the second leg and was under no pressure when he levelled at 1-1.
Norris missed double tops to allow Bunting to break throw for the first time in the match and was let off the hook for a missed double 16 to take the second set.
The volume of scoring increased in the third set, with the maximums becoming more frequent. The first two legs went with the darts, with Bunting ruling two missed doubles to lose the third leg and allow Norris to break throw.
But the Newtown based thrower lost no time in breaking back and then cashed in on Norris putting his decisive arrow in the neighbouring bed by taking the leg and third set with his next visit.
After losing the first leg of the fourth back to back 180s from Bunting allowed him to take it out in just 11 darts.
Norris missed three darts at double to allow Bunting to break throw and open up with the 10th maximum of the match but missed four chances to wrap up the set to allow Norris to pinch it.
It was a possible pivotal moment because Norris came back to level it with the next leg, meaning what should have been 3-1 was instead back level pegging.
The first two legs of the fifth set went with the darts and although Bunting was a fraction off bullseye that would have netted the highest checkout of 170, he still held throw in the third and took the fifth set with a bull, double 16 finish.
Bunting profited from some shaky arrows, albeit temporarily, from Norris to enjoy a purple patch to break throw in the opening leg.
But Norris broke straight back with an unplayable 11 darter and then held throw after a Bunting missed double.
Bunting levelled the set 2-2 but missed three darts to take the set and allow Norris to level at 3-3 instead of it being 4-2 lead for the Fazakerley-born marksman.