Stephen Bunting has a last 16 tie to look forward to on Friday night following a 4-2 win over Dave Chisnall on Thursday.
‘Chizzy’ took the first set after a break of throw saw him secure a deserved 3-1 win.
He could not continue the perfect start however, as Bunting averaged 103 to reverse the previous set’s scoreline and go back on level terms with the game finally poised at 1-1.
Having failed to defeat the St Helen’s man in any of their last eight encounters, and the last victory dating all the way back to 2017, it was pivotal that Bunting found a way to remain competitive throughout a high quality contest.
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‘The Bullet’ made sure that he took his chances when they were afforded to him as an early hold following a break of throw helped him claim six consecutive legs and move 2-1 ahead with a 140 checkout.
Chisnall came up with the perfect response as he took out 121 to stop the rot and move 1-0 ahead in the fourth set.
Sporting his famous yellow shirt, the 12th seed’s pummeling of the T20 was not enough to race away from Bunting who held his throw twice to send the set into a deciding leg.
It was crucial that Chisnall found a way to win and two turns of 137 and 180 put him in the perfect position to do so.
He wrapped up the set with a 15-dart leg to make it 2-2 at the break.
The standard was world champion like from both players with Chisnall averaging 107.5 and Bunting averaging 105.5.
The tight affair was in the balance as the players returned to the ‘Ally Pally’ stage with each and every dart of the utmost importance.
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The game continued at a rapid pace as Chisnall broke straight away to move 1-0 ahead and take control of the fifth set.
However, a superb 12-dart leg saw Bunting respond and he followed that up with a solid leg to move within one leg of going 3-2 ahead.
He did exactly that with a shot at D20 helping him edge closer towards the last 16.
His awful run against Chisnall looked set to come to an end when Bunting excellently finished a 114 checkout to break his opponent’s throw in the opening leg of the sixth set.
However, Chisnall refused to wilt in the face of adversity as he levelled the set at 1-1 with a 108 checkout also equaling Bunting’s tally of three 100+ checkouts.
The pendulum swung again in the next leg as a third consecutive break of throw meant Bunting was one leg away from victory.
In a tension filled leg, Bunting missed a match dart at D20 to secure safe passage to the fourth round before Chisnall took out D4 to level the set at 2-2.
A set dart came and went for Chisnall as he so nearly took out 120, but it wasn’t to be as Bunting returned to clean up D20 and progress to Friday evening’s last 16 clash against the winner of Luke Humphries and Vincent van der Voort.