Darts fans shout I cant spake at Mardle on golf course after best leg ever

In the archive of classic sporting commentary box one-liners, Wayne Mardle's three-word croak will be replayed forever.

When Michael Smith's perfect nine-darter crowned the greatest leg of all time in the PDC World Championship final at Alexandra Palace last January, millions of viewers feared Mardle was on the brink of hyperventilation, if not spontaneous combustion.

“That is the most incredible leg of darts you've ever seen in your life,” shrieked the Sky Sports commentator. “I can't spake! I can't spake!”

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In the sporting soundtrack to our lives, “I can't spake” belongs in the same league as BBC legend Kenneth Wolstenholme's “They think it's all over” at the 1966 World Cup final or voice of cricket Richie Benaud's appreciation of Ian Botham launching Terry Alderman for six at Headingley in 1981.‌

“No need to go looking for that, let alone chasing it,” purred Benaud. “It's gone straight into the confectionery stall and out again.”

Where does Mardle's commentary rank among the great sporting one-liners? Let us know in the comments section below

On Friday night, Smith returns to Ally Pally to defend his crown at the Paddy Power World Championship, and now the real story behind Mardle's line for the ages can be told. Already struggling with a croaky voice, he admits he DID have to be replaced in the commentary box before the end of 'Bully Boy' Smith's maiden world title triumph.

And he revealed his signature 'catchphrase' was NOT a spontaneous reference to his strained voice but a common term he uses at home in hoarse-play with his wife Donna.

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Mardle, a five-times world championship semi-finalist, said: “The world of darts had never seen it before – one player (Michael van Gerwen) missing double 12 for a nine-darter and the other (Smith) nailing it. You can't possibly see a better leg of darts. Even now, to think that it panned out in a world championship final is just incredible.

“If it had happened in the first or second round, who cares? And I don’t mean that nastily. We can wax lyrical about it all day, every day, but it is still quite incredible. And yes, I did lose my voice – but that happened four or five sets later.

“John Part and I weren't feeling particularly great the day before. He had the day off, but I didn’t. I was a Trojan, I powered through the semi-finals like a true professional! But midway through the final, my voice went completely and it was the nine-darter that broke it.

“I actually said to the producer, ‘Look, someone is going to have to take over.’ I didn’t feel like it had gone yet but it was going. One minute it was, 'No, I’m fine' and the next it was, No, it’s gone.' That's exactly how it was.

‌“But when I said, 'I cannot spake, I cannot spake,' I meant it. I didn't want to ramble about how great it was and detract from how great it was. I actually say it at home to (my wife) Donna so often that it's just become something that I say. We tease each other at home – Donna will do something ridiculous, like making me a coffee instead of a cup of tea, and I will respond, 'I can’t spake.'

‌“I say it so often that I am surprised it hasn’t come out in commentary before. But what I didn’t want to do for that particular leg was absolutely overkill it with superlatives.

‌“I didn't need to embellish it any more. It didn’t need any of us to say how special it was because everyone watching could see it was out of this world.

‌“But for people to say it could go down in history as an amazing piece of commentary, that fills my heart with joy. But I was just in the right place at the right time.

‌“Walking down the street, or even on the golf course, I get people shouting at me, 'I can't spake! I can't spake!' I wouldn't say it's a daily occurrence, but not far off. Quite incredible.”

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