It was disappointment on The Rock for Stephen Bunting as he crashed out of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy in the first round.

Faced with talented Florian Hempel in his opening match, many expected Bunting to set up a tasty repeat of last year’s World Championship semi-final clash with Gerwyn Price in round two.

However, the German had other ideas and clearly didn’t read the script as he sailed into a 5-3 lead against the under performing Bullet.

Bunting did pull it back to 5-5 but with Hempel throwing for the match, he produced an excellent 12 dart leg to book a date against the world number one.

For the Liverpudlian, having missed out on qualification for the recent Hungarian Darts Trophy, it means he will also have to sit out the European Championship which takes place next month in Austria.

Reflecting upon the event, Bunting said: “Yes, I am disappointed to lose early on in Gibraltar but I am here for the week on holiday with the family. It’s now time to relax before I begin my preparation for the World Grand Prix.”

Indeed. Next up for the Bullet is the famous ‘Double In, Double Out’ tournament in Leicester, beginning on 3rd October.

Bunting will be looking for a deep run to build up confidence as well as pick up some crucial ranking points as we approach the business end of the year.

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