The Bullet continued his positive start to this year’s European Tour campaign with another fine run to the final day of action, this time in Leverkusen.
After reaching the Sunday of the Baltic Sea Darts Open in Kiel a few weeks ago, Stephen replicated that achievement picking up a couple more wins at the European Darts Open to propel him to fifth place in the race to Dortmund at the end of October.
It’s fair to say the Liverpudlian wasn’t at his best for the opening match in the Ostermann Arena but still found a way past an equally below par Daryl Gurney.
Neither player will add this clash to their darting highlight reel, especially not Superchin as he found himself on the wrong end of the pair’s last leg shoot-out.
Bunting then took care of the number 13 seed, Ryan Searle with a marginally better display over another opponent who didn’t have his usual shooting boots on.
It was Heavy Metal’s turn to be pipped at the post as the former Lakeside World Champion once again took the all important final leg of the contest.
Perhaps surprisingly, but very much to the local crowd’s delight, it was 28-year old Ricardo Pietreczko who stood between Stephen and a quarter-final place after the German had claimed the scalp of Peter Wright in his previous round.
With 2500 screaming fans firmly in the Nuremberg lads corner, it was a battle both on and off the oche for The Bullet. Eventually, and thanks to some excellent finishing on the outer ring, it was the German who prevailed as a 6-3 victor and ended Stephen’s hopes of European glory.
After the match, a sombre Stephen said: “Naturally, I am disappointed. Although I didn’t play close to my best this weekend, the results were coming.
“I won’t lie, a few of the crowd were shouting out when I was throwing at double against Ricardo [Pietreczko] but I heard afterwards that he was signalling them to be quiet which I very much appreciate.
“But I will bounce back stronger, it’s all a learning curve and after the first two European Tour Events of the year, I’m in a strong spot to qualify for the finals in October.”