The Premier League heads to Liverpool this week, where ten of the best players in world darts battle it out for tungsten triumph.
Week six of the Unibet Premier League of Darts heads north to the M&S Bank Arena this Thursday night. With the league table looking wide open already at this early stage, darts fans are sure to get an entertaining night on Merseyside.
With there only being nine full players in the league, each week, one ‘challenger’ takes on one of the world’s elite. This week, is the turn of ‘The Bullet’.
Stephen Bunting, the local Merseyside dartist, takes on former world champion, Rob Cross, in what will be the fourth game of the evening.
This will be the second time in six days that the pair have faced off, with ‘Voltage’ getting the better of Bunting on Saturday in the last-16 of the UK Open. The world number four ran out a 10-8 victor in Minehead at the weekend, in what was a closely fought affair between two top class darts players.
Bunting told MerseySport Live that he knows it will be a tough encounter with Cross, “I’ve played Rob quite a few times, and the last couple have been very nip and tuck.
“I think in Blackpool it was 10-8, and again this weekend it was 10-8, so yes, I think it will be a good game. I think it will be close and obviously it is going to come down to the vital doubles at the end.”
The St Helen’s man knows he has a difficult task at hand in attempting to defeat the former world champion, but knows he has the game to do so. He said, “I’m playing a teammate in Rob, I know his game, and I know how good he can be. I also believe I am playing better than I’ve ever played.”
As a previous member of the Premier League back in 2015, Bunting was comprehensively beaten by all-time great, Phil Taylor, in Liverpool. However, this time around, the 34-year-old feels like this experience could be telling come Thursday.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the Premier League. I played in Liverpool and played Phil Taylor, I know for a fact the emotions got to me that night. I felt the weight of the city on my shoulders, but I think this time, especially being a contender, I can feel more relaxed about it.”
‘The Bullet’ also admitted that it is always a special moment playing in front of a home crowd:
“You’ve got to use the crowd when you can. I’m a contender, there’s no pressure on me at all. I’m just going to enjoy the atmosphere. Hopefully I don’t get too emotional with my walk on, but I am really looking forward to it.”
Last week saw Luke Humphries become the first challenger to ever defeat one of the Premier League’s elite, beating Gary Anderson 7-5. Bunting believes there is no reason why he can’t be the second.
“It would have been nice to be the first, but it would still mean a lot to me if I can come out on top. Contenders have found it hard to win over the last two years, so hopefully I can get a win and show the PDC and show my fans that I actually do belong on that big stage.”
Thursday night promises to deliver another entertaining night of darts on Merseyside, and hopefully the loyal Bunting following will have something to cheer about.
Photo credit – Stephen Bunting social media