The former home of the UK Open, Bolton Whites Hotel was the destination as Stephen Bunting headed to the first PDC Super Series 4-day event of the year.
2020 ended well for Bunting with an impressive run to the semi finals of the World Championships. Then despite a first round defeat at the hands of Joe Cullen in last month’s Masters, he took confidence from a solid and encouraging performance.
On day one in Bolton, Bunting couldn’t have been handed a trickier opening round draw. He was paired up against Raymond van Barneveld in a battle of former World Champions.
Fresh off regaining his tour card, the returning Dutchman was looking to make an immediate impact. However, in a thrilling game it was the Liverpudlian who held his nerve and took the deciding leg to edge the contest 6-5.
Sadly, in the second round against Kirk Shepherd, Bunting was unable to follow up on his victory over Barney and suffered a 6-3 defeat.
The following afternoon, Bunting was drawn against Chas Barstow but despite taking early control to the match to lead 3-0, didn’t manage to press home the advantage and eventually lost the game 6-5.
Determined to make amends, the Bullet began Saturday on fire registering victory over Richie Edhouse before arguably his performance of the event against reigning Matchplay Champion, Dimitri Van den Bergh. Both players came flying out of the blocks posting astronomical averages close to 120. As the match reached its climax, the quality continued and at 5-5 it was Bunting who pinned his double first in the deciding leg to set up a board final meeting with James Wade.
Unfortunately, it was The Machine who advanced as he managed to gain revenge for his recent World Championship defeat to Bunting and run out a 6-2 winner.
On the final day, the Bullet faced Jamie Wilson and despite taking a 3-1 lead and putting in a good performance, it was wasn’t enough to overcome the man known as Jammie Dodger. Wilson, who was in excellent form took the contest 6-3 and ended a relatively disappointing series for Bunting.