It’s more than a dozen years since a dart player names Lowe was making TV headlines, this weekend the Ladbrokes UK Open featured a certain J. Lowe. No, not a comeback from the legendary ‘Old Stoneface’, but a superb effort from a Black Country darter named Jason!
For quite a while I have been telling anyone who would listen, and a few who wont, about an unusual dart player. He was brought to my attention four or five years ago. A number of players, who play in a very high quality darts area, and others whom I respect, said that there was one player who was head and shoulders above the rest of them and that he would manage the PDC with ease!
When I asked why I had not heard of him, or what he had won, I was met with some strange replies. “He doesn’t play opens” or “He just plays league darts” and lastly “…he doesn’t seem bothered”. Lowe seemed happy as a carpenter / builder, and wary of the commitment required to take darts more seriously. However, he was being slowly persuaded and it looked like he may come to that years’s Q School.
Again however events did not play out. Despite a decent spell within the BDO, he qualified for the World Masters and narrowly missed out on Lakeside, he still did not attend Q School that year.
Having checked closely with a couple of other high level players I decided to keep an eye out for this ‘resurgent star’. I was even approached to offer advice on how to prepare for the change in intensity, preparation, match duration and standard. Thus it’s fair to say I have always had an interest in the success, or otherwise, of Jason Lowe!
Jason had played in PDC events as far back as 2006, indeed he had reached a Pro Tour Qtr Final, but there was no where enough money in the lower levels of the game to consider a professional career. He thus returned to his day job as a builder and carpenter. This seemed to be the reason for his supposed reluctance to step forward and have another go.
2017 proved to be the turning point, Jason entered Q School and made the attempt to gain a Pro-Tour Card. This provided me with a better opportunity to look at what all the fuss had been about. Strangely I found myself in the opposite corner at least once! It did not take long to see what Lowe was capable of. He ran to the last thirty-two, defeating several quality players, on the first day.
The rest of Q School did not go so well and Lowe failed to get a card. Jason tried again in 2018 and again came up short. However, the opportunity to play the 2018 Challenge Tour did not pass him by! The first weekend of that year’s tour provided the Cradley Heath man with a Semi Final appearance and he began to settle.
Next up were the UK Open Qualifiers and the following TV event. Lowe seemed to finally find that performance level that all those sources told me was natural too him. After picking up a few qualifying £’s the (then) 47 year old produced a superb run to the Semi-Final. A Qtr final thrashing of Adrian Lewis should have sent a signal to those on the look out for new/blossoming talent.
Lowe made his PDC major debut the next month, and performed steadily, he reached the last thirty-two. This seemed to be the start of somthing significant. He hit the gas on the Challenge Tour reaching a final and then repeated that form on the Pro Tour. Over the next couple of months he performed well at every PDC tour including reaching the later stages of a European Tour event.
Then it all stopped. Jason did not play the tour again during 2018 and nothing is recorded for the 2019 season. Jason’s disapearance mirrored the rise and ‘fall’ of another midlander from a few years before and many feared another ‘Scott Rand’ situation.
Remarkably the situation has completely reversed again. At the last minute Jason decided to enter Q School 2020. He had a decent run on day one and blitzed through to claim an automatic card at the second attempt.
He has started the Pro Tour well and pocketed £3,500 from the early events. Yet again though, it was the UK Open that has kick started his return to the fore. He came nicely through the early section until drawing Jackpot (Adrian Lewis), not for the first time Jason brushed him aside (10-4) advancing to a tie with MVG!
Jason suffered early and went down 0-5 in session one. Its not unusual for the lesser known player to get off to a slow start, what happened next was unusual. Lowe hit back and levelled the score at 5-5. The rest of the match was nip and tuck but the forty-nine year old probably edged it. At the last moment, in the deciding leg, Lowe hit a big 4 while attempting an 86 finish and did not earn a dart to win the match. The vastly experience MVG closed out with minimal fuss.
Despite the sad ending, it may be that the UK Open is a fresh launch for the career of another Back Country darter.
Jason Lowe is exceedingly calm, appears unruffled by anything and has a simple but very interesting throw. Could it be that, after twenty plus years, the PDC has found another supreme darter with the surname Lowe?