The Bullet bravely bows out of this year’s European Championship Finals but not without one hell of a fight.

Trailing 7-2 to reigning Masters Champion, Chris Dobey it looked very much like Stephen’s mountain was too steep to climb.

However, with a quarter-final berth in Dortmund beckoning, the Liverpudlian dug in deep and began to make strong headway.

A mammoth effort saw Bunting amazingly reduce the deficit to just a single leg, trailing 8-7.

But eventually the Geordie reasserted himself to end an exhilarating contest as the 10-8 victor.

A couple of days earlier, the former Lakeside Champ opened up his quest magnificently, defeating Martin Schindler 6-1 on the German’s home patch.

An astounding 101.42 average and a clinical doubling percentage of 75% silenced the Dortmund crowd as they watched their nation’s number two player eliminated.

Sadly, a slow start was ultimately what cost Stephen this afternoon and despite a huge effort, it was Dobey who reached the summit first.

Speaking immediately afterwards, Bunting said: “Yeah, quite frustrated right now. If I could have began like I finished, it could well have been me in the quarter-finals tomorrow.

“But you can’t give quality players like Chris [Dobey] such a fast start and expect to claw it back, although I gave it a really good shot!

“It’s a pity I couldn’t find Thursday nights form but that’s darts.

“I’ll fly home, then hit the practice board for a couple of days before heading to Barnsley keen to make further headway and maintain my recent good record.”

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