Stephen Bunting is into the Grand Slam semi-finals for the first time in his career. Averaging just under 97 with 62 percent on the doubles, 'the Bullet' ruthlessly ended the fairy-tale run of Stowe Buntz.
After a disastrous start for Bunting, not managing to get a dart at a double in seven visits, 'the Bullet' grew into the opening session and by the first break, had more than restored order. Despite Buntz taking that opening leg, it was 4-1 to the Englishman as they headed off stage.
Following their return to the stage though, the American seemed to have settled and although Bunting was still probably playing the better darts, Buntz was hanging in there. After a 13-dart break of throw in leg 9, Buntz got back to one behind and despite a few missed doubles in the following leg, Buntz held throw to ensure the players left the stage level pegging.
As they traded holds of throw to start the third session, Bunting got the first chance to break in leg 13 and he took it. It seemed as if he might finally have broken the spirit of Buntz also as the former Lakeside champion reeled off the remaining two legs of the session to rebuild his three leg advantage at 9-6 reaching the interval.
With the first ton-plus finish of the match in leg 16, Bunting stretched his lead to four legs and hit double figures in the process. A second ton-plus finish followed in the next leg, a stunning 126 as he started to gain a stranglehold on proceedings. Buntz stopped the rot, courtesy of a double 1 in leg 18, keeping in touch at 7-11 behind. Bunting though was on a roll. A double-double 97 in leg 19, followed by a 180 to leave double 2, which he'd check out after a pair of misses from Buntz, in leg 20 and the Englishman was nearing victory.
An 81 on the bullseye fired 'the Bullet' two legs away from the semis, but Buntz kept going and secured himself a leg back in leg 22. With the American unable to pressure the Bunting throw though, he was allowed time to mop up a 30 checkout and go one leg away from victory. With Buntz unable to take out a skin-saving 91, Bunting had a shot for the match and made no mistake, ruthlessly nailing 48 for a place in the final four.