The World Matchplay dream is over for Stephen for at least another year.
It was a cruel draw, picked out of the hat to face multiple major champion, Gerwyn Price but in the early stages, it looked like the Bullet could cause an upset.
Grabbing the opening two legs were almost as good as it got for the Liverpudlian as the Iceman then turned it into his own show.
With the match ending 10-3 in favour of the Welshman, it was a disappointing day at the office for Stephen.
Speaking afterwards, Bunting said: “Yeah, very frustrated I couldn’t push on from such a strong opening.
“I felt good at the start but then struggled to find my scoring power and Gezzy began to ramp up the pressure.
“I’m disappointed now but I’ll take it on the chin and bounce back.”