Exclusive: Bunting ‘On His Bike’? The Bullet Battles COVID Risks!

Stephen Bunting will need to hit the ground running to be ready for the Summer Series and reach the Matchplay on July 18. He acknowledged the task ahead during an extensive conversation with Darts World.

Can Stephen get to the Matchplay? (pic: Taylor Lanning)

Bunting also reveals that he has made a huge decision to change his diet and lifestyle with so much information regarding Covid-19 affecting the vulnerable in society, which includes diabetes sufferers. For diabetic players such as himself, Ian White, Andy Hamilton, and Jamie Caven, the return to action poses extra problems.

The former BDO World champion said:

“My wife has bought me an exercise bike and I’ve been on that every day.

I’ve changed my diet and I’m trying to do things away from the oche to make myself fitter”.

The Bullet has made several other changes in order to give him the best chance and darting success and reduce his increased COVID risk. “We’re on a healthy meal club and we get set 12 meals for a week sent to you”.

“It’s perfect and I’m enjoying that and getting used to the exercise regime.”

Other areas, of the Liverpool thrower’s daily routine, are are also receiving attention:

“I’ve also tried to change my lifestyle by not staying up so late at night on the PlayStation.

I’m going to bed earlier and waking up fresher with more energy.”.

He added: “The way it has worked out for me it makes it very difficult. Obviously I’ve just got to get to Milton Keynes and forget about everything and go and play.”


More from our exclusive chat with ‘The Bullet’ tomorrow!

Up Close & Personal: Ricky’s Rapid Q&A.

In the spirit of Ricky Evans reputation as the fastest darter in the west, or any other place for that matter, Darts World hit the world number twenty-nine with a rapid round of intimate but fun questions to help you get to know him better:

Says it all really.

FULL NAME: Ricky Evans

BIRTHDATE: 29/07/1990

NICKNAME: Rapi and Evs.

HOBBY:  Darts, watching sports, playing snooker and pool. Music of all genres, quizzing.

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT? Losing my passport/wallet numerous times on airplanes and in airports.

BEST CHAT UP LINE? Are you from Ireland? Because when I see you my penis is Dublin!

FAVOURITE CHILDHOOD MOMENT? Watching Kettering Town at Wembley, visiting Old Trafford and getting picked for England Youth.

FAVOURITE MATCH EVER? Versus Simon Whitlock 2016 PDC world champs

FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? The TV guide that comes in the Saturday paper.

FAVOURITE SMELLS? Freshly cut grass, Paco Rabanne aftershave and sizzling bacon.

LEAST FAVOURITE SMELLS? Cheese and Onion crisps, gravy and David Pallett’s feet. 

FAVOURITE SOUND? ‘Game shot and the match Ricky Evans’.

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Being lonely, not playing to my best ability, watching other darts matches on TV.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Check the phone, take the dog for a walk, go for practice. 

FAVOURITE COLOUR? Yellow, bright. 

FUTURE CHILD’S NAME? Ronnie or Archie.

WHAT’S YOUR RINGTONE? Phone’s always on silent…hardly answer anyway 😉

FAVOURITE FOODS? Hot curry, bacon, Jaffa cakes, sausage rolls.

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate. 

DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Don’t drive, but as a passenger no!

DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? Only if nobody else will keep me company.

STORMS – COOL OR SCARY? Cool.

FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION AND WHY? I love Portugal as a country, and will be visiting again June 2019.

IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR HERO – DEAD OR ALIVE – WHO WOULD IT BE? My dad’s my hero but I’d love too meet David Beckham and Lee Mack.

FAVOURITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Strongbow Dark Fruit. 

FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK? Cherry Coke.

WHAT IS YOUR STAR SIGN? Leo.

TATTOOS COOL OR NOT COOL & IF YOU HAVE ONE WHAT’S YOUR BEST? Would love to have a three lions one sometime or a KTFC badge.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? At school I wanted to be a sports journalist, I used to make my own sports paper.

IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOUR WHAT WOULD IT BE? Bright Yellow.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST LOVE? Football and comedy.

FAVOURITE MOVIES? Happy Gilmore, See No Evil Hear No Evil, The Naked Gun trilogy.

WHAT’S UNDER YOUR BED? Old darts and football memorabilia.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NUMBER?  29 .

FAVOURITE SPORT TO WATCH? Football and Snooker.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT DARTS? The camaraderie, top quality competition and obviously career changing money up for grabs.


Images: Target

Feature Pic: PDC

Cross Fears Matchplay Defence Will Seem Alien.

ROB CROSS reckons the World Matchplay could feel a bit “alien” if it goes ahead behind closed doors.The Hastings battler won his second major title with a comfortable win over Michael Smith at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool 11 months ago.

Cross will be back in the spotlight, with or without a crowd.

Now Voltage, 29, is ready to return to the big stage for the prestigious event and is only focused on his own form, not the venue or whether it’s held behind closed doors.He said: “There are certain issues that are beyond my control, I won’t let myself get distracted by stuff like that.

“I’m really happy that it’s going ahead, that’s the main thing.

Obviously I’d love it to be at the Winter Gardens with fans. But that’s not my decision.

“I’ll just crack on and turn up at the venue where I’m told to go and play the best I can.

“It’s been a long time and at least now we’ve got something set in stone so I’ve got something to work to now.



More from this story coming soon………

Pix: Taylor Lanning

Unibet Home Tour Extended!

The Unibet Home Tour will be extended to compete from the 32 Group Winners to an eventual champion from May 26-June 5 as the innovative tournament continues.

The Unibet Home Tour began in April, with PDC Tour Card Holders competing in four-player groups in live broadcasts from their homes – including competitors in Australia, Hong Kong and Canada.

The 32 groups will conclude on Monday May 18, with the Group Winners now set to compete in the second phase of the event across 11 further nights from Tuesday May 26 onwards.

Eight groups in the Last 32 will feature the Group Winners to determine a Last Eight, which will see the top two players from two four-player groups then progressing to the Championship Group on Friday June 5.

A total of 101 PDC Tour Card Holders will have competed in the Unibet Home Tour, with Rob Cross, Glen Durrant, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall, Stephen Bunting, Canada’s Jeff Smith and Australia’s Damon Heta amongst the players to win their groups.

Group Two winner Luke Woodhouse also created history with a nine-darter in his kitchen last month as he powered past Gerwyn Price with the performance of the tournament so far.

The Unibet Home Tour is broadcast free for registered users at PDCTV, as well as through a series of international broadcast partners and bookmakers’ websites.

Unibet Home Tour

Last 32 Format

* Following Group 32 on Monday May 18, there will be a break before the Last 32 commences on Tuesday May 26.

* The Last 32 onwards will be played over the best of 11 legs in a round-robin four-player group format.

* The Last 32 will feature eight groups from May 26-June 2, with each Group Winner moving into the Last Eight. Group Winners will be allocated to one of eight groups in ranking order (one player from each pool of 1-8, 9-16, 17-24, 25-32).

* The Last Eight will feature two groups on June 3-4, with the top two players in each group moving into the Championship Group on Friday June 5.

* If a player is unable to complete their group matches on the night from the Last 32 onwards, they are eliminated from the tournament.

Group Winners

  • Group One: Jamie Lewis
  • Group Two: Luke Woodhouse
  • Group Three: Dave Chisnall
  • Group Four: Geert Nentjes
  • Group Five: Nick Kenny
  • Group Six: Ryan Searle
  • Group Seven: Jelle Klaasen
  • Group Eight: Jonny Clayton
  • Group Nine: Martijn Kleermaker
  • Group Ten: Nathan Aspinall
  • Group 11: Alan Tabern
  • Group 12: Max Hopp
  • Group 13: Carl Wilkinson
  • Group 14: Chris Dobey
  • Group 15: Darren Webster
  • Group 16: Jeff Smith
  • Group 17: Damon Heta
  • Group 18: Stephen Bunting
  • Group 19: Glen Durrant
  • Group 20: Ryan Murray
  • Group 21: Rob Cross
  • Group 22: Jesus Noguera
  • Group 23: Daniel Larsson
  • Group 24: Jamie Hughes
  • Group 25: Jose De Sousa
  • Group 26: Mike De Decker

Time Waites For No Man? Is ‘Too Hotty’ a Busted Flush or Undervalued?

Scott Waites is hoping a fully fledged tilt at the PDC will mark a new chapter in his career as he aims to challenge the sport’s elite on a regular basis.

Waites, winner of the BDO world title (Lakeside) in 2013 and 2016, came through the final day of UK Qualifying School, will become a full-time PDC professional for the first time in his career.

Our resident coach has long suggested that ‘Too Hotty’, as Waites is known, is possibly the most underrated, and or undervalued, player in the game. The 42-year-old appeared in the BDO around 2004 and is one of the most successful players in the history of that code. winning the World Masters, Finder Masters and more than 20 other ranked titles.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by Glen Durrant, in recent years, Waites has still made major finals and proved both his longevity and class on the big occasion.

Waites, is also the only BDO player to have won a PDC major, after reaching the final the previous year, claiming 2010 Grand Slam. As one of a select group, to win multiple BDO world titles, you would think he would feature in many lists of pre-event favourites or at least biggest threats. Yet he is often discussed as if his titles were many years ago or from lesser fields.

Winmau thrower Waites will play PDC circuit for the next two years producing s superb run on the final Q School day. The final game saw him defeat JDC World Champion Keane Barry 5-0.

Waites clinched his Tour Card with a 5-0 of talented youngster Keane Barry.
PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG KEANE BARRY

Waites told the PDC: “To get through is amazing.

“I knew I had to come here today and just win it outright, and I’ve played my game all day.

“The time has never been right for me to move over before but now I think it is right to have a go, so let’s see what happens.

“In the last few weeks and coming up to the BDO World Championship, I put quite a lot of practice in.

“It showed with me and Scott Mitchell, when I played him in the World Championship our game was quite good, I played him again [at Q School] and I think he had a 101 average and I had a 99 and that’s the standard you’ve got to aim at now.

“I’m going to put a lot of practice in now, this is going to give me the ‘get up and go’ I need.

“This is what I wanted, it’s great.”

Scott was one of 31 players to gain a coveted Tour Card, He will compete for the first time as a PDC player at Players Championship Event One on Saturday February 8.

Too Hotty or Too late?

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Don’t Write Off ‘Superchin’ – Could Gurney Pull Off PL Upset?

Daryl Gurney has form when it comes to outperforming expectations. Could Finals Night be an occasion made for him?

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2019 FINALS MEDIA DAY , O2 ARENA,LONDON PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL VAN GERWEN AND DARYL GURNEY GET READY FOR THEIR SEMI FINAL AT THE PREMIER LEAGUE FINALS NIGHT AT LONDONS O2

Daryl Gurney is thought of as the least likely, of the four finalists, to lift the Unibet Premier League Trophy. However, although he has the toughest route, this should not lead to him being written off. Here are a few reasons he may prove the surprise of the night.

  • Daryl has defeated MVG in three out of their last four meetings. Including a TV major final. He does not seem as intimidated, by Micheal, as many other players.
  • Gurney has a decent record against both Cross and Wade winning close to half his matches with both.
  • Somehow he is often underestimated, despite already claiming two major titles and being in World’s top five.
  • The format does not seem to have much effect. ‘Superchin’ has claimed victory over MVG in short and longer games and his major wins have been in both sets and leg based formats.
  • His recent form shows him winning games by decent margins and only losing in tight situations to high-quality, inform, players.

Gurney’s performance could set the tone for Finals Night. If he defeats MVG, or gives him a serious fright, we are likely to witness a tough competitive final. If Micheal hits the gas and swipes him aside, a procession could be on the cards.

White, A Premier Diamond in the Making?

Ian White’s war of attrition to gain a Premier League place seems to have been stepped up a gear or two. What will it take for him to succeed?

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG IAN WHITE

Ian White is one of the best dart players in the world. He has performed superbly away from the TV camera’s and has been getting better, and better for almost a decade. Yet he remains underestimated and under-appreciated. Could this year see everything change?

Here is how the official PDC Account described Ian’s victory over Peter Wright, which cemented his second European Tour title:

It was third times a charm for White as he made a third successive European Tour final in as many weeks, before finally picking up the top prize.

Losing out to Michael van Gerwen in both the German Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open, White must have been relieved to face a different opposition in this final but was pushed all the way by the world number six.

After trading the opening three legs, White was the first to break throw as he produced a show-stopping 170 check out
– the third of the tournament – to lead 3-1.

Wright quickly bit back to level things at 3-3, as he chased his first European Tour title since 2017. One hold of throw after another came next, with little to separate the two in a nervy encounter as it got to six legs apiece.

It was there that Wright stuck what seemed a decisive blow. White missed tops for a 120 checkout, and ’Snakebite’ landed a huge 104 checkout on D16 to move one leg away from the title.

But White wasn’t ready to let another European Tour title slip through his fingers and fired his second 180 of the match in response as he broke back to force a deciding leg at 7-7.

And with the throw in last, the Stoke-star held firm and sealed his second career European Tour title on D16.

“It took six years to win one, and now I’ve made three finals [in a row] and I am so glad to get over the line,” said White. “The final was a bit of a struggle, we didn’t play our best but I knew that if I missed a double he would take advantage.

“The 170 checkout was special, but then I still allowed Peter to get back into the game.

“But to win another one, I am over the moon. There are not many of us who have won more than one [European Tour title], so I am just happy to win it.”

Notice that Ian refers to being one of the “not many” who have won multiple Euro Tours. He is again threatening the top ten rankings and is proving to be very good, over a shorter format, on stage. Add in the big fish finish and the dramatic nature of both the final and the semi-final against Steve Beaton, and surely you have the complete package?

It has long been speculated, that the reason Ian has not been selected or given a decent crack at, the Premier League, is his persona. It is true that Ian can come across as a little quiet, serious or even flat on stage. This is not his true personality though. Those who know him, or have seen him in exhibition play, will attest to a lively, entertaining player with a superb sense of humour. Surely this will come across if he gets to play every week for three months!

If the ‘Diamond’ can maintain his superb form over the rest of 2019, and perhaps run to a Semi-Final or better, on TV, his war of attrition for a place in darts prestige event will end in success.

Diamond Shines Again – White Claims Second European Tour Title.

IAN WHITE clinched his second career European Title with a dramatic last-leg 8-7 victory over Peter Wright to win the 2019 European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, Germany.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG IAN WHITE


It was third times a charm for White as he made a third successive European Tour final in as many weeks, before finally picking up the top prize.

Losing out to Michael van Gerwen in both the German Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open, White must have been relieved to face a different opposition in this final but was pushed all the way by the world number six.

After trading the opening three legs, White was the first to break throw as he produced a show-stopping 170 checkout – the third of the tournament – to lead 3-1.

Wright quickly bit back to level things at 3-3, as he chased his first European Tour title since 2017.

One hold of throw after another came next, with little to separate the two in a nervy encounter as it got to six legs apiece.

It was there that Wright stuck what seemed a decisive blow. White missed tops for a 120 checkout, and ’Snakebite’ landed a huge 104 checkout on D16 to move one leg away from the title.

But White wasn’t ready to let another European Tour title slip through his fingers and fired his second 180 of the match in response as he broke back to force a deciding leg at 7-7.

And with the throw in last, the Stoke-star held firm and sealed his second career European Tour title on D16.

“It took six years to win one, and now I’ve made three finals [in a row] and I am so glad to get over the line,” said White.

“The final was a bit of a struggle, we didn’t play our best but I knew that if I missed a double he would take advantage.

“The 170 checkout was special, but then I still allowed Peter to get back into the game.

“But to win another one, I am over the moon. There are not many of us who have won more than one [European Tour title], so I am just happy to win it.”

The 48-year-olds run to the final started with arguably the performance of the tournament as he averaged 110.84 in a 6-3 victory over Keegan Brown.

Up next was Jeffrey De Zwaan, who himself had thrown a 105 average in the last 16, but was no match for White who breezed through 6-1.

And in a nervy Semi-Final with Steve Beaton, White came from behind to clinch a 7-5 victory to progress to a third successive final.

Wright’s run to the final started with an excellent 6-4 win over Jonny Clayton in a high-class affair that saw the Premier League star average 104 and land eight maximums.

He was then made favourite for the final as he beat reigning champion Van Gerwen 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Leading from the front, Wright didn’t look troubled as he landed 56% of his doubles in an assured performance to knock out the world number one.

And in the semi-finals, he breezed past Jamie Hughes 7-1 to set up the final showdown with White.

“Well done to Ian White, he is on top form at the moment,” said Wright.

“To play him in the final and get as close as I did, I am really happy. But I have to say well done to Ian.”

The European Tour action will continue on May 24-26 with the 2019 Dutch Darts Masters in Zwolle, The Netherlands, with Van Gerwen looking to retain his title.

2019 European Darts Grand Prix
Sunday May 12
Afternoon Session
Third Round
Ian White 6-3 Keegan Brown
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton 6-4 Ryan Searle
Darren Webster 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Peter Wright 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 James Richardson

Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)
Quarter-Finals
Ian White 6-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Steve Beaton 6-2 Darren Webster
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Nathan Aspinall 
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen

Semi-Finals
Ian White 7-5 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 7-1 Jamie Hughes

Final
Ian White 8-7 Peter Wright

Credits: Official PDC & Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Could Two Popular World Champions Return to Their Best? Beaton & Bunting Show Their Talent.

Beating and Bunting appear to be enjoying their darts, as well as taking advantage of new PDC tour structures. Their Austrian Open performances could be a very positive sign.

Unibet World Grand Prix - Night Two Round-Up
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

For those watching the Austrian Darts Open much of the action followed predictable lines. MVG claimed the title, James Wade and Mensur performed strongly, while Ian White reached the later stages. This combination of recent European Tour performance and overall form held few surprises.

Look a little deeper and a couple of real gems present themselves. Former World Champions Steve Beaton (1996) and Stephen Bunting (2014) are showing signs of a renaissance. Beaton has had a string 2019 and seems to be enjoying yet another ‘Indian Summer’. Steve’s performance, and 9 dart leg, in the previous Euro Tour event, reminded many of his supreme talent as well as phenomenal longevity. The short format 3/4 day events seem to suit him well. Surely, no darts fan could resent Steve another spell in the limelight.

Alongside the efforts of ‘The Adonis’, another World Champion is staging a return to his true standard. Stephen Bunting has been out of sorts for a couple of years. Slipping down the rankings and failing to trouble the later stages of events. Fiddling with his darts, and struggling to live up to his early PDC success, seemed to show that ‘The Bullet’ was in serious danger.

Yet 2019 has been a story of steady progress with significant high points. A Pro-Tour Final, multiple Euro qualifications and a general upturn in performance have been the result. Perhaps being able to play a wide variety of events and qualifiers is allowing him to rebuild his confidence?

The rapid changes in the tour and the rise of many new faces has resulted in many of darts best-known names, and former champions, struggling to keep pace. It is good to see these two turning things around and refusing to go quietly! DartWorld wishes them the best of luck.

Pics: L Lustig PDC