Having chronicled the fortunes of Scarborough Rugby Club for just over 40 years, I’ve decided that the final league game of the season with Bradford & Bingley was my last report for The Scarborough News - due partly to health issues.
Starting with a report for the Scarborough Evening News on the Scarborough v Thornensians game in February 1979 through to the 39-26 defeat of Bradford & Bingley on April 13 this year - I have had a wonderful time following the ups and downs of the club.
That has included three Yorkshire Shield Cup finals one of which we won, two National Intermediate Cup semi-finals, both of which we lost and six promotions.
With the inception of league rugby and the Courage Clubs Championship in the 1987/1988 season, Scarborough were placed in Yorkshire Division One.
They won their opening league game against Driffield, with scrum-half Charlie Hopper touching down the winning try for a 10-6 final score.
Fortunately for Scarborough, the referee was unsighted as Charlie’s attempt to touch down a chip and chase was bounced off the ground.
Justice was eventually done and they were relegated at the end of the season.
And it was 10 seasons before they regained their Yorkshire One status when Yorkshire Two was won in 1998-1999.
The Seasiders then won consecutive promotions in seasons 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 from Yorkshire Two to Yorkshire One then to North Two East.
Many of that side retired at the end of that promotion season and they were relegated back to Yorkshire One after only one season in exalted company.
Worse was to come when they slid straight through Yorkshire One, winning only one game.
However they regained their Yorkshire One status when they won Yorkshire Two in season 2005/2006.
They were of course promoted to North One East at the end of last season.
There were plenty highs and lows, including a record-breaking 116-3 defeat at the hands of Bradford & Bingley in 2001 and the club’s record victory, a 125-0 defeat of Wibsey which saw the Bradford-based club drop out of league rugby for a couple of seasons.
The National Knockout Cups were great fun over the years and took me to places as far apart as Billericay in Essex to Whitehaven in Cumbria, not to mention our game against Derby University when I managed to injure Scarborough centre Jason Lloyd when he crashed off the pitch and ran into me taking pictures on the running track surrounding it.
During the 1990s and early 2000s I also covered Scarborough’s games on radio on Yorkshire Coast Radio and BBC Radio York.
After moving to Silver Royd in 2009, I became busier than ever taking photographs, doing Twitter, reporting and doing video interviews for the paper.
Thankfully Andy Standing started to take the pictures, which was a mighty relief for me, and a vast improvement in the quality of the photography as a result.
This is by no means a history of the last 40 years at Scarborough Rugby Club and it would be onerous to compare players from the past and present as the demands of rugby today are so much higher than 40 years ago, as are the skill levels.
However, I have to say that Kiwi Marcus Edwards will always stand out in my memory as probably the most complete, skilled and innovative player I’ve reported on in my four decades following the club.
I have neither the time or space to go back and look at the characters and re-tell the many anecdotes I have garnered since taking up the quill, however I will of course continue with my blog at campbellrugby.com and many of my old tales will still be on there.
I intend to continue on Twitter while enjoying my rugby with a pint instead of a pad in my hand with my mates at Silver Royd.
I’ve had a terrific 40 years and I’ve enjoyed every moment.
Especially the last two seasons under the one and only Simon Smith, under whose charge the Scarborough team have been a revelation.
Unfortunately their 17-7 defeat at Blackburn a couple of weeks ago means they will remain in North One East which, with the inclusion of West Hartlepool, Durham City and Moortown will be a challenging proposition next season, I can’t wait.