ST HELENS darter Stephen Bunting ended his five-year PDC title drought at Players Championship 17 in Coventry on Monday, defeating Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-4 in the final.

The £10,000 title all but confirms the Windle-based thrower's place in July's Betfred World Matchplay, having started the day outside the provisional qualification places.

Bunting, a 2020/21 World Championship semi-finalist, recorded victories over Gerwyn Price and Raymond van Barneveld on a memorable opening day of PDC Super Series 5 at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

The former Lakeside Champion missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish in the final, which Bunting controlled from the fourth leg when he landed a 13-darter for the game's first break of throw.

St Helens Star:

Despite being unable to produce his usual scoring power, Van den Bergh pressured the Bunting throw but was unable to break back as Bunting kept the Belgian at distance throughout the contest with holds of throw.

Victory was sealed with a 64 checkout on double top for Bunting, whose previous two ProTour titles came in 2014 and 2016.


"It's an amazing feeling to be stood here as a winner again," said an elated Bunting.

"A lot of people know I was close to packing in a few years ago but since then I've worked so hard behind the scenes, I've put everything into this.

"Trying to qualify for the World Matchplay was my priority this week, so to come here and win the title on the first day is beyond my dreams.

"I know I'm playing well, but I do honestly believe there is a lot more in the locker and I can relax now knowing I'm going to Blackpool."