Andy Jenkins is enjoying a decent year as part of the PDC Challenge Tour.

The former World Championship semi-finalist now pits his wits against players one tier below professional level. With one weekend of Challenge Tour play left, Jenkins sits sixth in the Order of Merit with £4,200 accrued.

Speaking with Live Darts, he admitted that while the lifestyle has its perks, a PDC Pro Tour comeback is the ultimate goal.

“It’s been nice to be able to be able to relax a bit more, and go on holiday a bit more with the missus,” Jenkins said.

“But it hurts – I’ve always loved darts, and I want to be back where the best players are playing.

“Hopefully next year, if I can pull my finger out in the last Challenge Tour, I’ll be back for the whole year.”

The veteran has certainly proved his darting credentials this season. As well as winning Challenge Tour 12 and reaching two semi-finals, he struck a nine-darter that marked a record year for perfect legs in the PDC. Jenkins fully believes that he still has the ability to trouble the darting big guns.

“I think I’m a dangerous player. I don’t think I can win every week, put it that way,” he said.

“Players are getting a lot better these days. I can beat the top players, I’ve always been able to.

“It’s only in my head that I can do it on that day, like any player. If I believe I couldn’t play, I’d stop.”

PDC

Photo: PDC

Double-header difficulty

The Challenge Tour is notorious for its gruelling days of play, with four events packed into a weekend. On July 14, Jenkins reached the quarter-finals of Challenge Tour 11 and won Challenge Tour 12. It meant that he had played 14 best-of-nine matches in the space of one day.

He strongly believes that the hectic schedule needs to be changed urgently.

“I find it very hard. The boys on the Challenge Tour deserve a medal.

“I think it’s wrong, the PDPA should do something about it.

“Two Pro Tours in one day, getting up early and trying to mentally play darts, is totally wrong.

“The youth do two in one day, it must be hard for them. If the pros tried to do it, you’d see them struggling.”

Ally Pally return

The Challenge Tour offers a route back to the big time. The top two players in the Order of Merit will claim a Tour Card, with the table-topper given a spot at the PDC World Championship. Cameron Menzies is top of the pile at the time of writing, with Jesus Noguera just behind. But the last weekend of play gives a lot of players a shot at glory – Jenkins included.

“It depends on the draw. My aim is to be in the top two. Number one would be lovely, to get back to the World Championship,” was the Portsmouth-born ace’s summary.

“I’d love to go back there and have another crack at that.

“I’ll go to Q-School [if I don’t make it]. Last year I didn’t do well, but it’s all about the draw.”

Power back on

The winner of Jenkins’ last World Championship was Phil Taylor. Incidentally, the 16-time world champion may be joining the Hampshire thrower at Q-School. The Power has threatened to make a surprise comeback. Unlike Wayne Mardle, Jenkins believes Taylor will follow up on it.

“I think Phil will come back; I’ve always said that he’ll come back.

“Knowing Phil, whatever he says, he will do. Obviously he did say if he’s good enough – we all know he’s good enough.

“He still plays on the exhibition circuit and he smashes a few players up!

“It’s if Phil can handle losing as much as everyone else can.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh