Grand Slam of Darts 2023

An amazing run at the Grand Slam of Darts finally came to an end for Stephen at the semi-final stage.

It was a tremendous journey that only began with qualification for the event a fortnight before the tournament kicked off.

Facing double World Champion Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and US qualifier Stowe Buntz in his group, Bunting had his work cut out.

But a last leg victory over Chizzy in his opening match put the former Lakeside Champion in a strong position.

However, defeat to the American Buntz, in which Stephen missed the D12 for a memorable perfect leg, meant a straight shoot-out with Wright for the final qualification spot.

Not to be denied, Bunting pulled off a superb 5-3 victory to grab his place in the knockout stage.

Standing between the Liverpudlian and a place in the quarter-finals was Danny Noppert. Most pundits had the outcome as a toss a coin but for Stephen, he flipped the odds and rallied to a 10-4 victory.

Awaiting Bunting next was the man who served up his only defeat in Wolverhampton so far, Stowe Buntz.

But with the format longer and the superior TV experience in major PDC events it was Stephen who delivered with a comprehensive 16-8 win over the Virginia native.

Just Rob Cross now stood between Stephen and the final.

For long periods the game was in the balance until Voltage pulled away to lead 15-10 and go within one leg of the finishing line.

But this is a Stephen Bunting who fights until the end and after three straight legs narrowed the deficit to just two. The score now 15-13.

And had Rob Cross not pinned D3 with last dart in hand, Stephen could well have been throwing to level things up. But he did and a tremendous run came to an end.

After the match, we caught up with Stephen who had this to say.

“First off, I was thrilled to even qualify for this event.

“It’s such a difficult one to reach so to grab one of the eight qualifying spots was massive.

“If you’d offered me a semi-final at the start, I’d have probably bitten your hand off.

“But once I was there, I really fancied going all the way.

“Eventually I left myself with too much to do against Rob [Cross]. And although I pulled it back well at the end, it was a big ask to win six on the bounce against him.

“Yeah I’m disappointed now but when I look back, I have to be satisfied with what I achieved.

“I am playing solid at the moment and feel confident going into the final two majors of the year with some form to show for all the hard work.”

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