It was disappointment this time around for Stephen Bunting at the Betfred World Matchplay, suffering a first round exit at the hands of Gary Anderson.
Defending money from a quater-final appearance in 2019, it was imperative for Bunting that he qualified for the tournament.
In what was a superb display in the opening Super Series event earlier in the month, the Liverpudlian all but guaranteed his place at the Winter Gardens with a first PDC title in five years.
However, in the Matchplay’s final first round game, he coudldn’t produce the form that helped him reach the World Championship semi-final several months ago and Anderson comfortably got the win.
Bunting struggled to get going and in the early exchanges was clearly not on his A-game. Sensing that, the Scot put the pressure on and went in 3-2 up at the first interval.
Unfortunately for the Bullet, the next session was comprehensively taken 4-1 by Anderson and with a scoreline of 7-3 in a race to ten, it was always going to be difficult to overcome such a deficit.
The next few legs went with throw before the Flying Scotsman took the last one of the match against the Bunting darts to take the contest 10-5.
It was a disappointing end to a month which had began brightly but the former Lakeside Champion will know he isn’t going to win many matches on the big stage with an 84 average – and that was the case here.
After the game, Bunting said: “No excuses, I didn’t play well and Gary deserved to win. The noise was deafening and there were so many Scottish fans in cheering that I couldn’t hear myself think!”
“Gary’s manager, Tommy Gilmour said to me afterwards that it was one of loudest atmospheres he had ever heard.
“But I will get back on the practice board – have some players championships events coming up soon so I will get back to winning ways and looking forward to Barnsley at the start of August.”