It’s fair to say Stephen Bunting’s trips to Minehead have been a mixed bag.

The Bullet reached the semi-final of the 2015 UK Open and has twice negotiated his way through to two quarter-finals in the Players Championship Finals.

And Bunting started this event looking like another god run was on the cards. Dealt with a very tricky opening match in round four against Mervyn King, the Liverpudlian produced a scintillating display, a 96.54 average and easing to victory 10-4.

Next up, and the draw served up a meeting with Irishman, William O’Connor. After the opening six legs were shared, it was Bunting who pulled away with three consecutive ones to lead 6-3.

The Magpie then pulled it back to within just one before The Bullet re-established a three leg cushion to go within two of victory at 8-5.

From that point on though, the lad from Limerick picked up the pace and fought his way back to level the match up.

That is when, at 9-9, the Bullet agonisingly missed SEVEN match darts. O’Connor gratefully took full advantage of his opponents misery to end the Bullet’s dream of a maiden PDC television title.

After the game, Bunting said: “I am extremely disappointed that I didn’t take my chances against Willie – only have myself to blame. There’s no excuse and I still managed to average 96 despite all those wasted chances.

“But I now have a couple of weeks to prepare for the Euro-Tour qualifiers and Pro-Tour events in Barnsley so I will hit the practice board hard and bounce back stronger.”

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