Despite a fantastic start to his Grand Prix campaign, Stephen sadly bows out of the tournament after a 3-2 defeat to Martin Schindler.

It was all rosey in the Bunting garden on Monday evening, knocking out the reigning World Matchplay Champion in his opening outing.

Facing a tough draw against The Asp, Stephen upset the odds to get the better of the Stockport man with a solid display.

After a days rest, it was a second round clash against Martin Schindler with both men eyeing a quarter-final berth.

This is an event Stephen has enjoyed relative joy in, twice reaching the semi-finals.

However, after an epic round two match up, it was the German who pinched the deciding set of a dramatic contest.

When the race began, Schindler failed to get into gear. No such problems though for the Liverpudlian who burst out his blocks to take the opening set in impressive fashion.

Back charged The Wall to overtake Bunting. But unperturbed, the former Lakeside Champion levelled things up with a brilliant under pressure tops.

But with the duo neck and neck, it was Schindler who stole the imitative to reach the winning post first.

After the match, Stephen spoke to us.

“Naturally after getting off to such a positive start, I’m gutted to lose that one.

“I’ve seen the stats and my average of 92.02 was almost four points higher than Martin’s.

“But the crucial difference is he finished legs the better and in darts, that’s the statistic which counts.

“I still believe that my game is on the up since switching to these new 18g darts.

“On another day, I could have won this then who knows. All credit to Martin and I wish him the best for the rest of the week

“I’ll take a days break then hit the practice board and be ready for the upcoming European event in Hildesheim.

“I’m still very confident of adding another title or maybe two to my name before the year is out.”

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