The Bullet can be extremely satisfied after the opening pro-tour weekend of the year in Barnsley.

Bunting registered seven wins over the two events, including a fine run to the quarter-finals.

Opening up his account on Saturday, the Liverpudlian made quick work of Andrew Gilding with a solid 94.29 average.

He then took it up a notch, nicking a dramatic last leg decider against an equally impressive Alan Soutar in a quality encounter.

Perhaps his best performance of the day came in the board final, cruising to a 6-2 win against world number 9, Dimitri Van den Bergh. A quite glorious 160 checkout sealing an excellent win against the Belgian.

However, that was the end of the winning streak for Bunting, as he was defeated 6-2 by a tremendous display from reigning Premier League champion, Jonny Clayton.

Moving onto day two. Bunting and new manager Mark Dean entered the Metrodome high on confidence and looking for another decent run. And that is exactly what happened.

The former World Champion brushed aside Jermaine Wattimena in his opening match before registering a magnificent win over Gary Anderson, 6-4.

With the averages over the weekend all well in excess of 90, The Bullet was certainly firing strongly. And that was proved with a splendid victory over Jason Lowe in the board final putting Bunting into the last 16.

Next up, Irishman Willie O’Connor. This was the match Stephen saved his best performance of weekend for, collecting a 6-4 win over the Magpie with a marvellous 102.61 average to boot.

Despite another solid performance in the quarter-final against Boris Krcmar, sadly for Stephen, the Croatian ran out a 6-3 victor to end a very fine run.

Speaking after the match, Bunting said: “I’m very happy with how I played all weekend. There wasn’t an average below 90 so it proves my consistency is there.

“Having Mark [Dean] by my side is a huge advantage. He is a good friend and an excellent person to have in your corner. Definitely a huge help this weekend.

“Yes, naturally I would have liked to have picked up another pro-tour win but I have to be pleased with my game and the results.

“It’s a solid start to the season and I can look to build on that next weekend in Wigan.”

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