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Andy Jenkins calls for changes to be made to Challenge Tour structure

Jamie Shaw in Challenge Tour 02 Dec 2019
Jenkins began competing on the BDO circuit back in 1994 (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Andy Jenkins has called for changes to be implemented on the PDC Challenge Tour, branding the scheduling of two events each day as “totally wrong”.
Jenkins, a former PDC World Championship semi-finalist, has competed on the Challenge Tour for the past two seasons since losing his Tour Card in 2017.
The Portsmouth thrower picked up his first Challenge Tour title July and finds himself in joint fifth position on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit with just four events remaining.
Jenkins, however, has criticised the compact scheduling of Challenge Tour weekends which sees four events held across two days, admitting that they are mentally and physically demanding.
He told Live Darts: “I find it very hard. Them boys on that Challenge Tour deserve a medal.
“I think it’s wrong, I think the PDPA should do something about it.
“Two ProTours in one day, getting up early and mentally trying to play darts is totally wrong, no other sport does two in one day.
“The youth [Development Tour] do two as well so it must be hard for them.
“If the pros tried to do it, you’d see a few of them struggling.
“It’s a long, long day, 13 hours and it’s a very hard tour.”
Following the 20th and final Challenge Tour event next weekend, the top two players on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit will secure a two-year PDC Tour Card, while the winner will qualify for the William Hill World Championship First Round.
Jenkins is currently £1,350 adrift of Jesus Noguera in second position and £1,500 behind leader Cameron Menzies, and ‘Rocky’ admits a return to Alexandra Palace is his top priority.
He added: “My aim is to be in the top two, number one would be lovely to get back to the World Championship – I’d love to get back there and have another crack at that.
“I’ll go to Q School, last year I didn’t do very well there but it depends on the draw.
“I think the PDPA should bring things in because there are lesser dart players out there and good dart players and if those two lesser players play each other, they’re getting points, whereas two good players are not.
“For a few years I’ve always said that the ProTour should be number one seed versus number 128 because then the Challenge Tour players that come in to the ProTour would play the top seeds.
“You could have two Challenge Tour players playing in the first round and two ProTour players playing, that’s wrong and it should never happen.”
Jenkins has qualified for the last five UK Opens, while his most recent World Championship campaign came back in 2012 – when he was beaten in straight sets by Justin Pipe in Round One.
The 48-year-old, who hit a nine-darter on the Challenge Tour in July, believes he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level, but fears that older players are being overlooked in favour of emerging youngsters.
“It hurts because I’ve always loved darts and I want to be back where the best dart players are playing,” added Jenkins.
“Hopefully next year, if I can pull my finger out in the next Challenge Tour, I will be back for the whole year and many more years until I pack it in.
“I think I’m a dangerous player, I don’t think I can win every week because of the challenges, these players are getting a lot better thesedays, but I know I can beat the top players.
“I’ve always been able to beat the top players when I was in my prime, it’s only in my head that I can do it if I want to on that.
“If I didn’t believe I could play, I’d stop tonight.
“I think the youth get two places this year for the Worlds and we get one on the Challenge Tour.
“What are they saying, we’re too old? Or are they saying they need the youth? I disagree, we’re the next tier down.
“I think they [the youth] get more opportunities than most of the others and I wouldn’t call them ‘youth’ at 23 years of age.
“When I was 18, I had a choice of either playing youth or men and I chose to play the men because there was more money in it.
“I think they get a lot of opportunities to achieve, no one is going to knock that, but some of us old guys still need options as well and I think they’re disregarding us sometimes.”