It has become one of the most frustrating darting stories of recent years. But Terry Jenkins still believes he is destined to win a Darts ‘Major’ and Unicorn certainly believes he has the ability to bury the hoodoo once and for all.
One of the most popular players on the PDC circuit but he is still left chasing a dream – to win one of the big tournaments – an ambition which has eluded him for so long.
In November 2008, Jenkins reached his sixth ‘Major’ TV Final and suffered his sixth defeat – losing to Phil Taylor at the Grand Slam of Darts II in Wolverhampton.
It was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing year but in 2009, the signs are looking good for Jenkins.
In January, he won the first Pro Tour event of the year – beating Mark Dudbridge in the final of the prestigious Bobby Bourn Players Championship event in Doncaster.
“I know how I can play,” said Jenkins. “It’s just a case of getting the consistency of performance spot on!”
At the Grand Slam II, he simply ran out of steam in the final – losing by 18 legs to 9, despite an average over the 100 mark. In the quarter-finals, Jenkins produced a stunning fightback to beat Raymond van Barneveld…..he was 9-7 down but won the last three legs and in the deciding leg he held his nerve after Barney missed three darts to win it.
Jenkins then beat Gary Anderson in a thrilling semi-final – holding off a fantastic comeback from the Scot to edge home 16-14 in the match of the tournament.
But Jenkins again suffered the World Championship blues, losing in the 1st Round at the Alexandra Palace for the second consecutive year.
On 2008, it was defeat at the hands of Kirk Shepherd and in 2009, he was beaten by 3 sets to 1 by Dennis Smith.
So, he has still got it all to do and still so much to achieve.
There was just the one title for the World No.5 in 2008, when in November, he beat Andy Jenkins to win the John McEvoy Gold Darts Classic in Ireland.
He also got to the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin – losing by 5 sets to nil to Ratlor – but there were early exits in the other big TV events and he finished a disappointing 7th in the Premier League…..but a third consecutive year of the Premier League in 2009 will surely see Jenkins challenging for honours.
‘The Bull’ actually made his name with a series of fantastic performances culminating in back-to-back appearances in the Premier League and five ‘Major’ TV finals.
Not bad for somebody, who for so long, regarded darts as a sideline and a hobby….but when he started to take it seriously, Jenkins proved that he is one of the very best in the business.
“Of course I am disappointed not to have won one of the big events but I guess that makes me even more determined to succeed. I have come so close and I know I have the game. It’s just a case of getting over that final hurdle.”
From October 2006 to October 2007, Jenkins hit the heights – reaching those five ‘Major’ finals, only to suffer heartache on each occasion.
He lost at the 2006 World Grand Prix to Phil Taylor, was beaten by ‘The Power’ in the 2007 Premier League Final, then lost to Raymond Van Barneveld in the final of the Las Vegas Desert Classic and went down to James Wade at both the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix in July/October 2007.
“I don’t want to become known as the nearly man of darts and in all those finals, I ran up against players who were bang in form,” he said. “There is no point in looking back and wondering what might have happened.”
Jenkins was a full-time antiques dealer before he established himself at the top of the darts tree and he still dabbles in a bit of buying and selling these days – but now he uses the antiques as a welcome distraction from the pressures of life on the oche.
His success and popularity has also led to Jenkins becoming a man in demand on the exhibition circuit.
He is the World No.5 and ask any darts player who they would like to avoid at any tournament - and the name of Terry Jenkins will be near the top of the list.
Jenkins is a laid-back easy going character but don’t mistake that for a blasé attitude. He is a proven winner and he has set his sights on achieving those ambitions.
Those five TV finals in a year proved this a bull with a rich pedigree! He never got a look in against an inspired Wade in Blackpool and was always struggling in the Dublin Final, when he went three sets down…..Jenkins actually came from 3-0 down to beat John Part in the semi-finals at the WGP but Wade proved a tougher nut to crack. Although Jenkins did find some form in the final, Wade won it by 6 sets to 3.
He sees the ultimate as the World Championship….. “I said 20 years ago that I will win it one day and I was serious when I said it and I still firmly believe that today.”
It is during the last three years that the name of Terry Jenkins has hit the high notes in the world of darts, with many tournament victories and countless appearances in semi and quarter-finals.
He also made the quarter-finals of the first Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, where he lost a thriller 10-8 to Unicorn stablemate Andy Hamilton
One of the best ‘floor’ players in the business, it took him time to adapt to the bright lights and big stages of the TV ‘Majors’ but now there is no looking back for the man from Ledbury in Herefordshire
October 2006 was actually the defining moment for Jenkins, when he came from nowhere to snatch a place in the Premier League……as all his rivals fell by the wayside at the World Grand Prix, his run to the final was enough to change his career forever.
“In any sport, you need some luck along the way and I had mine at that tournament. It all fell into place and I haven’t looked back,” he admitted.
Once he made the Premier League, he was in need of a new image and along came ‘The Herefordshire Bull’ and Jenkins now familiar pose of two darts on top of his head – like the horns of a bull – has earned him cult status with darts fans around the UK.
“The reaction has been amazing really….I now get recognised wherever I go and people are calling all the time to ask me to do exhibitions. It has been a great response,” he said.
Jenkins added: “I am certainly not resting on my laurels. In the past, people have got into the top four or five in the world and think they’ve made it…..well, that isn’t the case with me. I have a reputation to maintain and I have got so much that I want to do in the sport of darts.”
The best victory of his career so far came at the 2007 World Matchplay, when he beat Phil Taylor 17-11 in an epic semi-final. “In many ways, that was the best. I know I lost the final to James Wade but beating Phil convinced me that those big prizes are just round the corner.
The 2007 World Championship saw him reach the quarter-finals, where he lost a nail-biter to Andy Hamilton and he was kicking himself after throwing away a 5-0 lead to lose 11-10 to Vincent van der Voort in the quarter-finals of the UK Open in Bolton – but he is surely destined to win the ‘big ones’.
It all started as a 13-year-old, playing at the Eastnor Club in his hometown Ledbury and several appearances at county level for Worcestershire soon followed.
His big move to the PDC came quite by accident…..Jenkins takes up the story: “I was working in my own furniture shop six days a week. All my friends were telling me to give the PDC a go but I just didn’t have the time. Then I was given notice to quit the shop because the lease was about to expire and that made my mind up for me! I saw it as a big chance to make a living out of darts and looking back, it was the right decision!”
Married to Jackie, he has three sons Graham, Carl and Craig….and hopefully, it will be a case of ‘red rag to a bull’ in 2009 and that we can finally say – Terry Jenkins – winner of a TV ‘Major’.