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BUNTING: I closed my eyes before big win!

Bullet fires into Matchplay with sudden death glory

By Phil Lanning

FORMER World Champion Stephen Bunting admitted he closed his eyes before producing one of the great wins in a nail-biting clash with Gerwyn Price.

The Bullet fired his way back into the contest in some style after trailing to Welshman Price 4-1 after the first session in Blackpool last night.

Both missed darts to win the match but the St.Helens star held his nerve to take out a massive win to take it 13-12 - his first win at the Winter Gardens for five years.

Bunting said: “I feel crazy to be honest. When you go to sudden death it’s always going to be difficult. I knew I had to dig deep but I’m just so happy to get over the line. It means a lot to me, to my family, sponsors and management. I can’t believe it. 

“It was just like a normal day in the office really. I was thinking ‘not again’. But my scoring has been brilliant and I’ve put a lot of work into my finishing over the past couple of months and it definitely worked tonight.

“You feel dejected when you see someone go for match darts. You feel like nothing is going to go your way, I’ll be honest I closed my eyes when he was going for his doubles to win the match. He probably did the same for me.

“Everytime I got a chance I felt like I was going to take it. But I felt Gerwyn would also punish me if I gave him chances so that made me a bit nervous. I’m just so happy to be in the next round. I’ve now got a few days off to prepare for Wednesday.

“Gerwyn is a fantastic player, I’ve know him for quite a while now and he gets a bit of stick. Over the past few years I’ve had Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson first round. So I actually had the crowd on my side tonight!

“The grit and determination I showed pulled the fans on my side and that definitely helped. It’s a good feeling. I’ll take that win all day long, any win will do. I don’t care if I win 10-0 or just get over the line, I’ll take it.

“I honestly believe I’m playing better than I’ve ever played. Obviously I’ll be back practising solid before Wednesday. I’ve got another four tough games ahead of me if I’m going to win this title.

“But for now, without doubt, this is one of the biggest wins for me in the PDC.”

Price was the second seed to drop out in the opening two games as on-form star Nathan Aspinall was surprisingly dumped 10-5 by Mervyn King. Rob Cross beat Chris Dobey 10-3 and Gary Anderson KO’d Danny Noppert 10-6.

Images: Lawrence Lustig/PDC


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