As the curtain raised for this year’s Pro Tour events, Stephen was unfortunately reaching out to close the blinds.

High off the back of his maiden PDC TV crown yet low due to a nasty chest infection, this particular trip to Wigan can be filed away in the forgettable cabinet.

Never easy to ply your trade when feeling unwell and despite the Liverpudlian shying away from excuses, it was clearly a factor.

However, the Bullet still managed to fire in some very respectable performances, averaging his typical mid-high 90s.

Debutant Dom Taylor was his opening opponent on the first day and despite racing into a two leg lead with some decent arrows, it was the lofty Bristolian who eventually took the contest 6-4.

The following day began better with a very impressive 6-3 win over Josh Payne.

But any hopes of progressing further were scuppered as Martin Lukeman stuck in a good shift to edge a high quality contest 6-4.

Bunting could at least find solace in the fact he didn’t have to hang on an extra day for the two Euro qualifiers.

The new system meant an early exit and welcomed short trip home for some much needed rest and recuperation.

After the event, Stephen said: “Naturally, I’m not overly happy with the results although I didn’t play too badly.

“Not going to blame illness on things but obviously it’s easier to play when you feel 100%.

“I’ll get myself fit and hopefully be much better for Leicester next week.”

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