An Evening with John Lowe

Professional Darts Exhibition

Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Man!

Sawyer Scores Historic Victory Over Former World Champ

By Mark Stokes

Four hours in the company of former world champion John Lowe, on Friday evening last (December 16), was both enthralling and frustrating for the sizable crowd at the IBEW Hall in Boston.

The man himself is as charismatic as he is brilliant and his rapport with the crowd during the evening would have been the envy of the best stage performers. The big Englishman did not disappoint with a masterclass of darts, yet for all but ten minutes of the evening it was frustrating for the throng of Minute Man Dart League fans present.

Holly Frary had handed the big man his first 'defeat' of the evening, but when the Salem phenom appeared poised to record an historic victory she came undone at the vital moment, allowing John to take victory in the best-of-three series.

Holly's loss wasn't the first time the crowd felt deflated as they cheered on each and every thrower who came to pit their wits against this legend of the game.

Young Kyle "Yaz" Yazbek (thirteen years young) had the night of his life as he walked on stage as the first to meet the former world champion -- how many New England teenagers can produce that claim to fame? The match up had all the trappings of a David v Goliath contest, and it proved to be just that. Yet one gets the feeling young Kyle, already a youth champion in the sport, will one day remember the evening as he grasps his first major winner's check.

The youngster clearly won the hearts of the crowd but Joe Norton of Framingham was all business as he sought to score an historic victory. Joe gave a very good account of himself, and would have had John Lowe concerned as he trailed the big man by 120 points. But the champion closed out the 701 match in typical fashion.

Avery Barry started with a big score of 96 and followed that with 140, the highest of any challenger to that point. But Avery couldn't maintain his early heroics and although he had John looking over his shoulder, the Englishman checked out with a bullseye leaving Barry 110 points adrift at the end.

Fred Mula landed a 180 which prompted a rapturous cheer from the crowd and even had the comfort of looking at two trips to the oche to close the game out. But alas Fred's form let him down at the vital moment and Lowe didn't need a second invitation to close out the match.

Fred Conley pushed the former world champion all the way and had 127 in his sights with three darts left. But he also balked, leaving Lowe to check out on a bull and double twenty-five.

Kirsten McCandless, Pete Nadeau and John Mack all failed to find their form in subsequent matches as did Mike Cagney who will be remembered for an impeccable imitation of the PDC's Russ Bray, Neither did top ranked women's 501 player, Tina Proctor, do herself justice with a couple of off-target shots early on in her contest.
Tina would surely have been left with a sense of 'what might have been' as her long awaited match up with the legend of darts ended rather too quickly. And that was also likely the sentiment of Sean Moran who would have backed himself to push John Lowe a lot harder than he did. The MMDL Cricket champion came up short in the first two of his best-of-three games and left the stage with a sense of disappointment.

If the big man was thinking he'd have it easy against Holly Frary, he was in for a surprise as he took the first leg of their particular Cricket match, but was pegged back by the Salem girl in the second, who handed John his first 'defeat' of the evening.

Holly can claim that particular feat when she eventually hangs up her darts but she too will feel she could have gone one better after John took a close best-of-three series. The audience were reminded beforehand of the significance of this particular match -- Holly's late husband, Dave, was a victim of mesothelioma. Folks were asked to support the Curemeso organization (www.curemeso.org) in Dave's memory.

And so the best wine was saved until last as Tom Sawyer stepped on stage. Upon entering the arena some four hours earlier John asked a bystander to point Tom out among the crowd. The Englishman had a premonition, perhaps, as his last opponent lived up to billing by throwing 'lights out' darts.

Tom closed out the best-of-three match in the minimum amount of games, to wide and loud acclaim from the crowd, and even drew applause from the great man himself. But despite Tom's heroics, the evening was all about John Lowe -- his exhibition of darts was brilliance personified.

After the last dart had been thrown John Lowe thanked everyone for coming to the IBEW Hall. It was a heartfelt thanks from a very genuine man. He was also fulsome in his praise of the Minute Man Dart League, thanking President Nicole Watson, MC Adam Sherlock and everyone involved in putting together a fantastic evening, before accepting a MMDL jacket, presented to him by Gregg Tong.

But if the darts on show were of the highest order, what followed was a quite remarkable auction of John's shirt (that which he was wearing on the night). A pretty snazzy garment it was with the worlds John 'Old Stoneface' Lowe emblazoned on the back. It was not however expected to keep the bidders busy for almost ten minutes.

One hundred dollars soon became two, and then three, before a bidding war ensued. The crowd stood aghast as the shirt grabbed the spotlight, eventually going for a bid of $626. A gentleman from County Donegal in Ireland was commended for his generosity. John has made a living from throwing darts, but if ever he were to turn his hand to auctioning, he may indeed have a very lucrative future in the business.

Mr Lowe also reminded us that the MMDL has been putting on events such as this for many years now, and that he looks forward to the trip to Boston every year. Boston, John explained, is one of his favorite destinations in all the world.

Come back soon John. We enjoyed your company immensely!

Meet the Champion Challengers!

Tom Sawyer
2011 Champion - 501
Read Player Profile
Tina Proctor
2011 Champion - 501
Read Player Profile
Sean Moran
2010 Champion - Cricket
Read Player Profile
Holly Frary
2010 Champion - Cricket
Read Player Profile
Read full profiles of the MMDL Champion Challengers - Click Here

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