The builder who left his darts career down to a coin toss – who is Jason Lowe?

Jason Lowe produced a seismic upset at the PDC World Championship on Wednesday night, eliminating fourth seed Michael Smith at Alexandra Palace.

This is Lowe’s first year on the PDC Tour but he showed few signs of stage fright at the organisation’s biggest event, claiming a spot in the last-32 with a 3-1 victory over 2019 finalist Smith.

Here, the PA news agency looks at a few things you might not know about the 48-year-old from Cradley Heath in the West Midlands.

Heads you go, tails you don’t

Lowe candidly revealed he only entered the PDC’s qualifying school earlier this year on a whim – or more accurately putting his destiny on the outcome of a coin toss. As he explained after beating Russia’s Dmitriy Gorbunov in the first round: “I actually flipped a coin and it landed on heads, I went into Q School, had a great day the first day and I went through.” He collected his tour card for the first time in January and two months later he took Michael van Gerwen to a deciding leg in the last-32 of the UK Open, giving him belief for challenges ahead.

Keep calm and carry on

Lowe would have been forgiven for a passionate celebration after pulling off the biggest win of his fledgling career. Instead, there was a simple fist pump followed by a handshake with the vanquished Smith. Lowe said afterwards: “I’m not an emotional guy. People ask me ‘why don’t you smile’ but when I’m playing in my match I get in my bubble and I concentrate. I’m not miserable, I just look that way!” As the match reached its crescendo, Smith was getting visibly annoyed and Lowe added: “He was shouting a bit and I thought ‘I’ve got you here’. That made me play better because I knew he was struggling.”

Lowe the builder

Jason Lowe is a builder by trade (Kieran Cleeves/PA)
Jason Lowe is a builder by trade (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Lowe, who says he has been playing darts for around 30 years, still works full-time as a builder and claims the wage he earns from his job alleviates any burden on his shoulders when he steps into competition. He said: “I’ve not got to earn a penny at darts. All my bills are paid through my work, so win or lose I just relax, play the darts and there’s no pressure, that suits me.”

Regrets, I’ve had a few

Lowe, left, defeated Dmitriy Gorbunov in the PDC World Championship first round (Kieran Cleeves/PA)
Lowe, left, defeated Dmitriy Gorbunov in the PDC World Championship first round (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Given his age, it seems fair to speculate why Lowe has taken so long to chance his arm in darts. He admitted he is now asking himself the same questions, as he said in his post-match interview after beating Gorbunov: “I wished I’d done it a few years earlier because I really am enjoying it. I’ve always needed a kick up the backside. I don’t know why I put it off. I do massively regret it because I really am enjoying it. I wished I’d done it 10 years ago. I’ve missed a lot.”

Flights club

Michael Smith, pictured, was knocked out in the second round by Lowe (Adam Davy/PA)
Michael Smith, pictured, was knocked out in the second round by Lowe (Adam Davy/PA)

Dissatisfied with his performance in a 3-1 win victory over Gorbunov, Lowe took the unusual – although not unheard of – step to change his flights before taking on Smith. After practising on Wednesday afternoon he said he thought to himself: “It’s going to be good, whether I win or lose I’m going to play well.” The defeat of Smith marks Lowe out as one to watch and he did not exactly downplay his hopes for the rest of the tournament as he added: “Every player it’s in the mind that if they’re in the competition, they can win it. There’s never any doubt in my mind that I can progress every round, I’m not here to make the numbers up, I feel as if I’ve got the game to go far.”