Stephen Bunting falls at first hurdle at World Championship
Stephen Bunting, who reached the semi-final of the William Hill World Darts Championship almost 12 months ago, failed to clear his first hurdle in the 2021-22 competition yesterday afternoon (Sunday).
The St Helens player rated at 100-1 to win the title and among the seeds, lost 3-2 to Dover's Ross Smith in a showdown which was decided on a tie-break.
It was a topsy-turvy match in which Smith got off to a flying start but when he seemed to be cruising home he couldn't hit a double for love nor money.
It gave Bunting, who until then had been way below his best form, a much needed opening and he roared back to set the stage for a nerve-tingling finale.
But Smith kept his cool under severe pressure, producing a 167 checkout and 102 back-to-back to book his place in round three.
Hoping to join the Dover man in the next round will be Michael Smith and fellow local-born player, Dave Chisnall, who both play tomorrow (Tuesday).
Bully Boy takes on Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp and Chizzy faces Mike De Decker of Belgium.