Lowe’s place at high table

John Lowe
John Lowe

Most people can only dream of becoming a world champion, which is why John Lowe is held in such high esteem, writes Andrew Jarvis.

For the Chesterfield darts supremo has not won the world title just once – but three times, in different decades.

John, who is now aged 66 and in semi-retirement, first lifted the coveted title in 1979.

Well before then, north Derbyshire folk knew he was an ace at the oche, but scooping the crown was his calling card to the world.

John repeated the feat in 1987 and completed his hat-trick in 1993.

In addition to those three career highlights, John achieved dart’s holy grail – the nine-arrow finish.

Born in New Tupton in 1945, John has always remained close to his roots despite his fame around the globe.

He lives in Walton, close to Chesterfield Golf Club where he is a member and a plays off a handicap of 15.

A profession darts player for more than 40 years, John reached the final of the inaugural World Championships in 1978 but lost out to Leighton Rees.

A year later, the two met again in the final and top seed John returned the favour, winning 5-0.

The next time John battled his way to the top two, the competition was held at the Lakeside Country Club at Frimley Green in Surrey.

Eric Bristow – aka the Crafty Cockney – was his opponent and the Chesterfield hero triumphed 6-4.

I remember interviewing John shortly after that victory and it was refreshing to discover he is very personable and down-to-earth man.

The hat-trick came in the early 1990s when again Frimley Green was the venue.

This time around Alan Warriner was the disappointed man as John bumped him off 6-3.

In addition to the trio of world titles, John achieved something very special indeed in October, 1984, during the World Match play championships.

The nine-dart finish is the equivalent of a golfer’s hole-in-one or a 147 maximum break for a snooker star and John nailed the feat live on TV for the first time.

John’s World Championship days may be behind him, but he still takes part in many exhibition and promotional matches around the country and abroad in countries such as the USA, Canada and Spain, many of them with Eric Bristow.

Known on the darts circuit as Old Stoneface, which was the title of his extremely readable 2005 autobiography, John rocks the joint when he takes the stage to the thumping beat and well-known riff of Deep Purple’s iconic hit Smoke On The Water.

His status as one of dart’s godfathers is cemented in history and John – with Chesterfield Golf Club on his doorstep, his frequent international darts tours and exhibitions – seems a man content with his life.

Welcome to the North Derbyshire Sporting Hall of Fame, John.