Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Man!
Sawyer Scores Historic Victory Over Former World
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"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!