Bunting get his World Matchplay off to a flying start

Stephen Bunting

Stephen Bunting

First published in Sport

Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting enjoyed a superb World Matchplay debut as he overcame number six seed Peter Wright, the World Championship finalist and Premier League star who went down 10-6.

Bunting became the third of the town's contingent of darters to make it through to round two at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool.

Bunting settled any nerves quickly by taking a 2-0 lead - capitalising on a miss at tops from Wright in the opener before taking out 70 on the bull in leg two - and after his opponent cut the gap to 4-3, the St Helens ace took the next three to pull clear.

Bunting landed a 13-darter as he exended his lead to 9-5, and though Wright hit the bull to keep his hopes alive, the fightback was brief as the PDC newcomer finished 72 to complete a memorable Winter Gardens debut.

"I couldn't have asked for much better from my debut game," said Bunting. "It was an achievement just to qualify for this tournament, but to beat a player like Peter is great for me because he's a fantastic player.

"I scored well and just want to sharpen up a bit on my doubles. The crowd got me through that game and the atmosphere was amazing, and even though I was nervous I did the job.

"I've put a lot of hard work in to get here, but now I'm here I want to win the tournament because this is one of the most prestigious titles in the PDC. I've got to raise my game even more to compete at the top level, but this is a good start.

"Nights like this make the switch worthwhile. I was very nervous today but I'm sure that now I've played my first game and my debutant nerves have gone I should be fine."

Bunting will now face former Premier League Darts champion Gary Anderson in the second round, after the Scot overcame Jamie Caven 10-8 in a tight contest.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree