Jack Nixon believes the time is right to hang up his notepad.
The Press and Journal and Evening Express’ long-serving rugby and cricket correspondent will file his final report this weekend before a well-earned retirement.
The 83-year-old, who has been covering the local game since 1996, will sign off when the cricket season comes to an end this weekend.
He said: “It has been a great pleasure to have covered the local cricket and rugby for so long.
“There have been a lot of highlights along the way.
“One of the most memorable moments was the tied game between Stoneywood-Dyce and Aberdeenshire about eight years ago.
“Another was Aberdeenshire winning the league and cup double in 2009 which was a great achievement for a team this far north.
“I also enjoyed covering Scotland’s win against England at The Grange in 2018.
“In terms of rugby, watching Ellon win six consecutive promotions was up there and the season when Aberdeen Grammar almost won the Premiership in 2003 was memorable.
“The progress being made by Highland Rugby Club in recent years has also been great to see.
“I have been at 52 different rugby grounds during my time covering games. I remember going to Caithness to take in a Caley cup final and being treated like royalty.
“I have always tried to shine a light on the smaller clubs when possible.”
Nixon said it was a chance meeting with former P&J sports editor Jim Dolan that led to him taking on the rugby beat.
He said: “I went along to hear Jim Dolan speak at an event in Ellon.
“At the end we got chatting about rugby and he offered me the chance to write for the paper the following week.
“It was as simple as that.
“I also started writing for the Scotsman and the Herald and I did some work for STV for a while when they were covering rugby.
“I would go along to games in Dundee and Stirling and do an interview at the end of the game.
“I remember being warned by the camera man not to speak too much and keep the questions short!
“I then had to rush up to the press area and file copy for them for their programme on a Sunday afternoon.
“It was all good fun.”
Signing off with a feast of cricket
Nixon admits his final assignments could also be highly memorable.
On Saturday, he will be at People’s Park where Stoneywood-Dyce need to beat Meigle on the final day of the season to avoid relegation from the Eastern Premier League.
The following day he will head to Mannofield with Gordonians and Knight Riders set to meet in the final of the Aberdeenshire Cup.
Earlier this month Nixon, a great champion of the Aberdeenshire Grades cricket, was given the honour of opening the new cricket pitches at Inverdee in Aberdeen.
He said: “It’s going to be a big weekend.
“Stoneywood-Dyce are trying to stay up in a huge match and then on Sunday we have the Aberdeenshire Cup final which, for me, is one of the most prestigious events in the cricket calendar.
“Hopefully Stoneywood-Dyce can get the win because it would be a disaster if we were to lose them from the Eastern Premier League.
“The club is working hard to develop young players and so are a number of clubs in the area.
“But to lose your flagship club from the top flight would not be good.
“They have shown in spells this season that they can be a good team.
“It is hard as every time they go to play at one of the Edinburgh venues they can be up against a team containing six or seven professionals so it is a big ask.
“There have been plenty of very good players who have come through the ranks at Stoneywood-Dyce.
“There are clubs across the area, such as Ellon, Banchory, Inverurie and Fraserburgh, who often lead the way in bringing on juniors.
“I remain hopeful about the future of the local game.”
A great pleasure
Nixon, who was born in Langholm, was introduced to the game of cricket at the age of eight by his father.
He moved from London to Peterhead in 1971 and worked in education as an assistant director for the Grampian region before retiring at the age of 53 and then turning his hand to sports journalism.
Nixon added: “It is the right time to stop – I am 83 for a start and my knees are giving me a lot of bother.
“It is time to let someone else develop the interest in the game.
“Will I go watch as a spectator? I’m not sure yet.
“Sometimes I think once you are out, you are out.
“I still have great affection for the sports.
“It is an appropriate weekend as on Saturday there will be a struggle for survival and then on Sunday we will have the Aberdeenshire Cup final.
“They are two huge games.
“I am glad to have had the pleasure of working for all this time and very thankful to everyone who has helped me over the years.”