Today i am joined by ‘The Bullet’ Stephen Bunting,the 30 year old from St Helens has had a life changing last 18 months in darts since winning the Lakeside world championships after beating Alan Norris 7-4.
Life in the PDC
he joined the PDC in what must be the most successful year for any darts player in a debut year,in just his second event with the PDC,a UK Open qualifier event he won the event he continued doing very well in the PDC and was in the top 32 within months he also reached the quarter finals of the World Matchplay,Semi finals of the Grand Prix and lost out in the quarter finals of the World Championship to Raymond van Barneveld after the game,Van Barneveld produced a heart-felt speech praising Bunting and was urging the PDC to select Bunting fir the premier league.
It proved successful as Bunting was selected for the Premier League which features some of the worlds elite players.
Bunting started the PL with a meeting with James Wade the pair drew 6-6,in the following weeks Bunting fell into the relegation zone before getting his first win against Adrian Lewis taking the match 7-3, Bunting survived relegation by a point but only won one out of his last seven matches and finished eighth.
Below is footage from Buntings game vs Adrian Lewis in the Dubai Darts Masters….
Thanks for joining us for this interview Stephen,first i must ask how is life for you in your second year in the PDC after such a successful debut year?
“I am loving my time in the PDC, My first year was very successful which pushed me in the premier league and World Series earlier in the year. I am still getting to grips with everything and the players are all of a very high standard and capable of beating anyone. I am proud to have pushed myself to the limits and on the verge of the top 16, and am looking forward to my journey in all forthcoming tournaments. I was disappointed not qualifying for the grand slam but I am hoping that it will give me a kick up the backside and push me in all my future games. The form over the last few months has improved and I have now switched back to my old darts which has seen me reach 3 x quarter finals and a semi final in my last 4 pro tours. I am even putting in the practice at home now and have had John Bowles and Steve barrow putting me through the paces which I am hoping has sharpened me up and time will tell”
Last year you achieved a lot in the PDC what was your favourite moment?
“My favourite moment, There is a few really, I think one has to be making my premier league debut in Leeds in front of 13,000 people. It was an amazing experience. Another moment that springs to mind was beating Phil Taylor in the European championships in Germany 10-9, it felt like a dream”
What was it like to play in the Premier League after just one year in the PDC?
“It was amazing. The crowds, venues and opponents really made for a special event, I was really nervous in the premier league last year as it was different for me. My biggest crowd was 3,000 before the pl and then I find myself playing in front of 13,000, An amazing feeling and I really enjoyed the PL right until I was eliminated“
You have recently switched back to your old smooth darts from target how are the darts going since you have gone back to them?
“The darts are going great. As I said earlier I have reached 3 quarters and a semi in the last 4 pro tours. I am looking forward to competing at the highest level again and feeling confident these darts can bring me a TV major soon”
What are your targets for the rest of 2015?
“My targets are to cement myself into the top 16 of the world rankings and to finish the season off with a good World Series finals, players championship finals and an exceptional world championships. Hopefully I can take one of these titles”
This weekend is the World series of Darts finals in Glasgow are you feeling confident going into this event?
“I am feeling very confident. I am probably more prepared for this than many other events I have played in as I have put in the hours on the practice board. My scoring and doubles have been flying and I am hoping I can reproduce my practice form on the main stage”
How often do you practise each day and do you practise alone or with a partner?
“I have put in a few hours although on Tuesday I was locked away with John Bowles and Steve barrow from 3pm till 11pm. 8 hours”
Since you made the premier league have you been doing more exhibitions up and down the country etc?
“I like to think of myself as a popular player and character and a really good exhibitionist and I do get my fair share of exhibitions. I enjoy doing them and the feedback I have had has all been positive”
You also made your World series of darts debut this year travelling to Dubai,Japan,Sydney,Perth and Auckland how was that for you?
“It was amazing. Playing in countries I have always dreamed of travelling to. The crowds in each event where unique and really got involved in making each event special and the electric atmosphere. I had some tough draws but I think the experience has definitely benefited me and I am a better player for that experience.”
It is well known that you won the DARTSLIVE (soft-tip competition) last year do you still play soft tip at all?
“When I was in Japan I played a bit on the Phoenix machines. I really enjoy the soft tip but there is too much going on with my season on the PDC that I don’t get the time to do soft tip at the moment. It is something I would like to get back into in the future”
You are a big Liverpool FC fan were they supportive when you won the Lakeside and got in the PL?
“They really was. I have been on LFC TV a few times now and I got to take the lakeside trophy onto the famous Anfield pitch at half time which was an amazing feeling”
We wish you all the best for the rest of the year and thank you for your time.