Dave Chisnall progressed to the second round of the bwin Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton on Monday night in dramatic style.
The Morecambe darts ace lost 5-4 to Jeffrey de Zwaan, meaning anything other than a Stephen Bunting victory in his final group game against Scott Mitchell would see Chisnall eliminated from the tournament.
Fortunately for Chisnall, Bunting prevailed to top the group, seeing off Mitchell 5-4, meaning Chisnall finished as the runner-up in the group.
Speaking afterwards, Chisnall said: “I was so nervous watching Stephen’s game and he’s done me a favour.
“I thought I played quite well but I didn’t get the result against Jeffrey but my old mate helped me out.
“I feel sorry for Scott Mitchell because he played fantastically, but he let Stephen back in at the end.”
Chisnall had made a good start to the tournament on Saturday, beating Mitchell 5-2.
After sharing the first two legs, Chisnall took three in a row – including a 12-darter to break throw – as he pulled clear, before closing out the win.
“The last time I played Scott he bashed me 5-1 here, so it’s nice to beat him,” said Chisnall.
“I know what Scott can do but it was my day.
“I scored quite well and I was one step ahead of him.”
Chisnall was then back in action on Sunday, going down 5-2 to eventual group winner Bunting as the St Helens man claimed his second win of the weekend. Bunting took out finishes of 88 and 81 as he claimed a three-leg lead, and though Chisnall hit back to 4-2 the former Lakeside Champion closed out the win with a 14-darter.
Speaking afterwards, Bunting said: “I’m putting a lot of hard work in behind the scenes and making small steps forward.
“I’m enjoying practising and I believe I’m better now than I was before, and hopefully that can start to come out on stage.
“I’m feeling comfortable and if I play the way I can play then I can beat anyone, but I don’t feel like I’m playing my best darts yet and I’m still getting wins.”