Stephen Bunting has been given a pep-talk ahead of the William Hill World Darts Championship by St Helens comedy hero Johnny Vegas.
The former Lakeside Champion made a big impact in his debut season on the PDC circuit in 2014 and was a semi-finalist in the World Grand Prix last year as well as at March’s UK Open in Minehead either side of of a quarter-final appearance on his Alexandra Palace debut.
However, he has not progressed past the last 16 of a ranking major since the UK Open, and although he has starred in the Premier League and World Series of Darts this year admitted to being “depressed” at his recent run of form.
The St Helens ace found himself 5-0 down in defeats in both the World Series of Darts Finals and Players Championship Finals recently, and is aiming to turn around his form ahead of Ally Pally – with the help of Benidorm actor and comedian Johnny Vegas.
Bunting played darts alongside Vegas at a charity event in St Helens on Sunday, raising funds for the Steve Prescott Foundation, and was told: “Get it won!
“Everyone’s going ‘can you do a good luck message’ – you don’t need good luck. All you need to do is get your eye in and realise who you represent is you.
“If I see you a year from now and you’re not holding a trophy, we’re going to fall out. None of that ‘oh it wasn’t my day’ – make it your day. I know what you’re capable of.”
Bunting had hit back from 5-0 down in the Players Championship Finals to trail Benito van de Pas 5-4, only to miss his chance to take the game into a decider with five darts at doubles – and he admitted: “It’s annoying.
“I think it’s been building up over time. You have a really good practice and for whatever reason they don’t go in.
“I’m putting the hours in at home and it’s just not working. I know I can do a lot better and I think that’s what hurts the most.
“I enjoyed the experience of the Premier League and it was beautiful to be involved in that, and the World Series. It’s just annoying that you go on that stage and don’t play the way you can.”
THE WILLIAM HILL WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE PLAYED FROM DECEMBER 17-JANUARY 3 AT ALEXANDRA PALACE, LONDON – LIVE ON THE SKY SPORTS DARTS CHANNEL