With the final Super Series done and dusted, there was just the small matter of the Grand Slam of Darts qualifier left to go in Barnsley.

Stephen Bunting was amongst a strong field all vying for just eight places in Wolverhampton.

In a first to five legs qualifying event, Bunting kicked things off with an excellent performance and yet another nervy last leg decider against Adam Hunt.

Trailing 2-0 in a short format, the Bullet showed enormous character to turn the deficit on it’s head and lead 3-2.

The pair then exchanged blows, taking the contest to 4-4. But using his superior experience, Bunting pulled a solid 15-dart leg out the bag to progress.

In the last 32 round, the Liverpudlian was up against Andy Boulton. The opening exchanges all went with throw, leaving the Scot 4-3 up and within one leg of victory.

However, with three clear darts at D15, Boulton spurred his chances and Bunting cleaned up to take the match to another thrilling last leg shoot-out.

The Bullet then showed what a World Champion can do under pressure fired in a quite magnificent 13-dart leg to go within one match of the Grand Slam.

The equation was then simple – beat Steve Brown and he would be in Wolverhampton. The Bomber had been in very good form of late and posed a difficult challenge.

However, after sharing the opening four legs, it was Bunting who found the throttle first and put his foot down on the gas to lead 4-2.

Despite Brown pulling a leg back, Bunting held his nerve, taking the contest 5-3 and a place in his fourth Grand Slam of Darts.

Later that evening, Bunting said: “I am absolutely delighted to have qualified. It was a very difficult day at the end of a very tiring week – there was some tough matches in there.

“I was a little nervous with so much riding on the results but am absolutely thrilled to have made it through.

“Thought I played well today – but more importantly, very well when it really mattered.

“Now I have a little time to hit the practice board and get ready for Wolverhampton.”

In Bunting’s first appearance since 2018, he will face fifth seed Dimitri Van den Bergh, Ryan Joyce and the talented young Austrian, Rowby-John Rodriquez in Group D.GR

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