Trier might not be the first German city you automatically think of but that’s where Stephen was camped this weekend as he went in search of the European Darts Matchplay title.

And it turned out to be a decent trip over for The Bullet as he reached the final day of action.

Opening up his account was a 6-3 victory over Luke Woodhouse. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Liverpudlian, losing the first two legs to his compatriot.

However, Stephen rallied back strongly and after the first six legs were shared, he pulled away by winning the final three to complete a very good win whilst registering a healthy 93.44 average in the process.

Onto the Saturday where Bunting and Ross Smith fought out a terrific battle which went all the way to the wire.

In what is a rarity, every single leg of the match went with throw. And with Smudger having the darts from the start it meant Stephen was chasing from the offset.

But with the scores tied at 5-5, it was Bunting who wrestled to find that all important break and advance to the last 16. Both men couldn’t be separated in the average count with the pair coming in a fraction over the 96 mark.

A third Englishmen then awaited in the form of Luke Humphries as the final day in Trier got under way.

Unfortunately for Stephen, it was Cool Hand who raced out of the blocks with some heavy hitting and shot into a 5-1 lead.

From that point, it was always a sleep climb for the Bullet to reach the summit and despite advancing a few steps towards it, he eventually succumbed 6-3 to his opponent.

After the match, Stephen had this to say: “I’m satisfied with how I played and naturally pleased to pick up a couple of very good wins.

“I felt I played well and showed some good consistency. To be fair, Luke [Humphries], was excellent in that match and had me on toast. I know I have the game to produce a 109 average like he did but I have no real arguments about the result.

“It’s good progress though. When I qualify for a European Tour event, my first objective is always to get through to the final day. So although it would have been great to go further, to be in the mix on Sunday is always satisfying.

Stephen returns to Pro Tour action in Leicester this week just ahead of ninth appearance at the Winter Gardens competing for the World Matchplay crown.

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