John Lowe

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John Lowe
Lowe, John.jpg
Personal information
NicknameOld Stoneface
Born (1945-07-21) 21 July 1945 (age 73)
New Tupton, Derbyshire, England
Home townChesterfield, Derbyshire
Darts information
Playing darts since1966
Darts21g Unicorn World Champion Golden John Lowe
Walk-on music"Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday" by Boney M.
Organisation (see split in darts)
PDC1993–2007 (Founding Member)
BDO majors - best performances
World Ch'shipWinner (3) 1979, 1987, 1993
World MastersWinner (2) 1976, 1980
PDC premier events - best performances
World Ch'shipSemi-Final: 1995, 1996
World MatchplaySemi-Final: 1995, 2002
World Grand PrixSemi-Final: 2001
UK OpenLast 16: 2005
Other tournament wins
Australian Grand Masters
Autumn Gold Cider Masters
BDO Gold Cup
British Open
British Pentathlon
Canadian Open
Denmark Open
Dry Blackthorn Cider Masters
Finnish Open
MFI World Matchplay pairs
North American Open
WDF Europe Cup Pairs
WDF World Cup pairs


1978, 1979, 1982
1977, 1988
1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984
1978, 1979, 1982
1978, 1985
Other achievements
1984 – First televised nine-dart finish
1986 to 1993 – England Captain (unbeaten)
Updated on 11 February 2008.

John Lowe MBE (born 21 July 1945 in Chesterfield) is a former World No. 1 English retired professional darts player who was one of the most talented and best known darts players during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the United Kingdom. Lowe is one of only six players to have won the World Championship three times, having done so in 1979, 1987 and 1993. He is the first player to have won the World Championship in three separate decades. Lowe's titles and achievements span a career of almost forty years, but he is also well known for being the first player to achieve a televised nine-dart finish (in 1984).


Lowe won the World Championship title in three different decades – 1979, 1987 and 1993. He met Eric Bristow six times in the World Championship in various semi-finals and finals, and it was not until his fourth attempt (in the 1987 final) that he managed to overcome his great rival. His record against the "Crafty Cockney" in majors was three wins and six defeats.[1]

Lowe achieved the ultimate feat in darts on 13 October 1984 during the World Matchplay tournament against Keith Deller, when he managed a nine-dart finish – the sport's equivalent of a 147 break in snooker. This was the first time it had ever been accomplished by any darts player whilst being televised, although it was not live and instead shown on a highlights programme on ITV. Lowe won £102,000 for this success. He went on to win the tournament.

In addition to his three world titles Lowe has also won two World Masters titles, two British Open titles, two British Matchplay championships, two World Cup Singles and three European Cup Singles Titles, as well as countless other titles around the world in a hugely successful career. He played for England over 100 times and was captain for seven years, during which time his team were unbeaten.

He also gained credit for his decorum and sportsmanship at the oche, often in notable contrast to the gifted but arrogant Bristow. He was also probably unique in darts in that he looked after his health, never developing the weight difficulties associated with darts players, though he did consume alcohol onstage alongside other players when it was still permitted during matches.

Nicknames have always been common in darts, but Lowe never really had one which caught on. A studious, composed performer, he didn't have anything which stood out in his demeanour or personality – until someone decided to use these very traits to come up with the soubriquet of Old Stoneface. This is also the title of Lowe's autobiography which was published in 2005.

Lowe has enjoyed a longevity at the sport. He played in the televised stages of the World Championship for a then record 28 consecutive years, from the inaugural championship in 1978 to his last appearance in 2005 where he was defeated by the Canadian John Verwey in a final leg tie-break. This feat was beaten by Phil Taylor at the 2018 PDC World Championship.

John Lowe played at the Alexandra Palace in 1980 in front of 7,000 people in the News of the World Championship.[2]|

He was secretary of the World Professional Dart Players Association (later to become the Professional Dart Players Association (PDPA)) and in 2005 enjoyed a testimonial year in the sport to commemorate his 30th year as a professional. He still attempted to qualify for the World Championship each year until 2008, but fell short in the early qualifying rounds. After joining a short-lived venture, the Setanta Sports-televised BetFred League of Legends in 2008, Lowe became ineligible to compete at the PDC World Championship so could not attempt to qualify for the 2009 event.

In May 2009 Lowe released a book, The Art of Darts, in which he offered his personal insights into the game to both amateur and aspiring professional dart players.[3] In 2013 The Art of Darts was produced in app form for the Apple iPhone and iPad; it is a 45-minute masterclass containing coaching and tips from Lowe.

Lowe planned an exhibition tour of the United States in November and December 2011.[4]

In 2014 Lowe was one of several celebrities to take part in ITV's new game show Amazing Greys, in which members of the public take on icons of British sport and entertainment.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Lowe was born in New Tupton, Derbyshire. He is married to Karen and lives in Chesterfield, from where they both support Sunderland.[6]

World Championship results[edit]


  • 1978: Runner Up (lost to Leighton Rees 7–11 legs)
  • 1979: Winner (beat Leighton Rees 5–0 sets)
  • 1980: 2nd Round (lost to Cliff Lazarenko 0–2)
  • 1981: Runner Up (lost to Eric Bristow 3–5)
  • 1982: Runner Up (lost to Jocky Wilson 3–5)
  • 1983: Quarter-Finals (lost to Keith Deller 3–4)
  • 1984: Semi-Finals (lost to Eric Bristow 0–6)
  • 1985: Runner Up (lost to Eric Bristow 2–6)
  • 1986: Quarter-Finals (lost to Bob Anderson 3–4)
  • 1987: Winner (beat Eric Bristow 6–4)
  • 1988: Runner Up (lost to Bob Anderson 4–6)
  • 1989: Semi-Finals (lost to Eric Bristow 1–5)
  • 1990: 2nd Round (lost to Ronnie Sharp 2–3)
  • 1991: 1st Round (lost to Peter Evison 2–3)
  • 1992: Semi-Finals (lost to Phil Taylor 4–5)
  • 1993: Winner (beat Alan Warriner 6–3)


  • 1994: Last 24 Group (beat Tom Kirby 3–2) & (lost to Larry Butler 2–3)
  • 1995: Semi-Finals (lost to Phil Taylor 4–5)
  • 1996: Semi-Finals (lost to Phil Taylor 1–5)
  • 1997: Last 24 Group (lost to Jamie Harvey 2–3) & (beat Paul Lim 3–1)
  • 1998: Last 24 Group (lost to Peter Manley 0–3) & (lost to Gary Mawson 0–3)
  • 1999: 2nd Round (lost to Phil Taylor 1–3)
  • 2000: Quarter-Finals (lost to Dennis Smith 3–5)
  • 2001: 2nd Round (lost to Jamie Harvey 0–3)
  • 2002: 2nd Round (lost to Peter Manley 5–6)
  • 2003: 2nd Round (lost to Les Fitton 1–4)
  • 2004: 3rd Round (lost to Alan Warriner 3–4)
  • 2005: 2nd Round (lost to John Verwey 2–3)

Career finals[edit]

BDO major finals: 25 (9 titles, 16 runners-up)[edit]

World Championship (3–5)
World Masters (2–3)
British Professional (0–4)
World Matchplay (1–1)
Grand Masters (1–2)
British Matchplay (2–1)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score[N 1]
Winner 1. 1976 Winmau World Masters (1) Wales Phil Obbard 3–0 (s)
Winner 2. 1977 Butlins Grand Masters (1) England Eric Bristow 5–4 (s)
Runner-up 1. 1978 World Darts Championship Wales Leighton Rees 7–11 (l)
Winner 3. 1978 British Matchplay (1) England Tony Brown 2–1 (s)
Runner-up 2. 1978 Butlins Grand Masters Wales Leighton Rees unknown
Winner 4. 1979 World Darts Championship (1) Wales Leighton Rees 5–0 (s)
Winner 5. 1980 Winmau World Masters (2) Scotland Rab Smith 2–0 (s)
Runner-up 3. 1981 World Darts Championship (2) England Eric Bristow 3–5 (s)
Runner-up 4. 1981 Butlins Grand Masters (2) England Eric Bristow unknown
Runner-up 5. 1981 British Professional Championship Scotland Jocky Wilson 5–6 (s)
Runner-up 6. 1981 Winmau World Masters England Eric Bristow 1–2 (s)
Runner-up 7. 1982 World Darts Championship Scotland Jocky Wilson 3–5 (s)
Runner-up 8. 1982 British Professional Championship (2) England Eric Bristow 3–7 (s)
Winner 6. 1984 MFI World Matchplay (1) England Cliff Lazarenko 5–3 (s)
Runner-up 9. 1984 British Professional Championship (3) England Mike Gregory 5–7 (s)
Runner-up 10. 1985 World Darts Championship (4) England Eric Bristow 2–6 (s)
Winner 7. 1985 British Matchplay (2) England Cliff Lazarenko 3–0 (s)
Runner-up 11. 1985 British Professional Championship (4) England Eric Bristow 4–7 (s)
Winner 8. 1987 World Darts Championship (2) England Eric Bristow 6–4 (s)
Runner-up 12. 1987 MFI World Matchplay England Bob Anderson 1–5 (s)
Runner-up 13. 1987 Winmau World Masters (2) England Bob Anderson 1–3 (s)
Runner-up 14. 1988 World Darts Championship (5) England Bob Anderson 4–6 (s)
Runner-up 15. 1988 British Matchplay England Bob Anderson 2–3 (s)
Runner-up 16. 1988 Winmau World Masters (3) England Bob Anderson 2–3 (s)
Winner 9. 1993 World Darts Championship (3) England Alan Warriner 6–3 (s)

WDF major finals: 6 (5 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

World Cup (2–0)
Europe Cup (3–1)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score[N 1]
Winner 1. 1978 Europe Cup Singles (1) Scotland Jocky Wilson 4–1 (s)
Winner 2. 1981 World Cup Singles (1) Scotland Jocky Wilson 4–3 (s)
Winner 3. 1984 Europe Cup Singles (2) Wales Leighton Rees 4–0 (s)
Winner 4. 1986 Europe Cup Singles (3) England Cliff Lazarenko 4–2 (s)
Winner 5. 1991 World Cup Singles (2) Wales Martin Phillips 6–4 (s)
Runner-up 1. 1992 Europe Cup Singles England Phil Taylor 2–4 (s)

Independent major finals: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score[N 1]
Winner 1. 1981 News of the World Championship (1) England Mick Norris 2–0 (l)
  1. ^ a b c (l) = score in legs, (s) = score in sets.

Performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
BDO World Championship NYF F W 2R F F QF SF F QF W F SF 2R 1R SF W No longer a BDO Member
Winmau World Masters W QF 3R QF W F 3R SF 4R QF 3R F F 1R SF QF 3R Did not participate
British Professional Not held F F SF F F 1R 2R 1R Not held
MFI World Matchplay Not held W 1R 1R F QF Not held
PDC World Championship Not yet founded RR SF SF RR RR 2R QF 2R 2R 2R 2R 2R
World Matchplay Not yet founded 1R SF 2R 1R 1R 1R QF 2R SF 1R 1R DNP
World Grand Prix Not yet founded QF DNP 1R SF 1R 1R DNP
UK Open Not held 3R 1R 6R
News of the World ??? SF ??? SF W ??? Not held DNP Not held
Performance Table Legend
DNP Did not play at the event DNQ Did not qualify for the event NYF Not yet founded #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament

Nine-dart finishes[edit]

Lowe accomplished the first ever televised nine-dart finish. This finish was not broadcast live.

John Lowe televised nine-dart finishes
Date Opponent Tournament Method Prize
13 October 1984 England Keith Deller World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T17, T18, D18 £102,000


  1. ^ "John Lowe V Eric Bristow Head To Head". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  2. ^ [1] Twitter: @jloweprodart
  3. ^ "The Art of Darts". Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  4. ^ Lowe, John. "America here I Come". Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Legends of Darts". 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2015.

External links[edit]