With his exuberant commentary, including his iconic calling of Michael Smith’s nine-darter in the World Championship final, Wayne Mardle is one of the sport’s larger-than-life characters.
But back at the start of his darts career, before he became Hawaii 501, Mardle came across as a shy, unassuming teenager, if an interview from more than 30 years ago is anything to go by.
Like most talented young players, Mardle, a future World semi-finalist, started out on the BDO Youth circuit. And in 1990 he unexpectedly, according to BBC reports at the time, Mardle reached the British Youth final.
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Ahead of the match against Andrew Mallett, the then 16-year-old was quizzed about his darting journey by the BBC sports reporter Tony Gubba.
“I’ve just dropped out of youth [darts], I’ve just started to play Men’s County with Essex. I play in the B-side,” a rather bashful-looking Mardle told Gubba in a clip which can be viewed on YouTube.
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Asked if he was “any good”, Mardle replied: “Well, yeah, you’ve got to be good to get this far.”
On the importance of winning the tournament, he added: “I had a good season last season. It would be nice to start the year off by winning this. That’s quite important to me, yeah.”
Mardle was then asked if he had played Mallett before. In a display of confidence, he said with a smile: “Yeah, I slaughtered him really.”
Mardle duly went on to win the final 2-0 in sets. He would reach the latter stages of many majors tournament but called time on his top-level career before he was 40, citing the pressures of life on the professional tour.
The 49-year-old has since made a great success out of commentating, coaching and playing in exhibitions.
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