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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Barrow Raiders flier retires

JAMES Nixon has played his last game for Barrow Raiders.

50034088B000.jpg raiders
FULL OF RUNNING: James Nixon shows his pace for Barrow Raiders at Whitehaven yesterday

The club have confirmed they consider the flying winger retired after they announced he was taking a break from the game to consider his future last month.

Nixon has not attended training or featured for the team since and his name was removed from the player statistics page in last week’s match programme against Batley.

Club chairman David Sharpe has now substantiated suggestions he would not appear in the blue and white shirt again and that the board no longer consider the 27-year-old a Raiders player.

“The understanding is that he has retired from the game with family commitments etc,” said Sharpe. “At this moment in time, there is no prospect of a return for him.”

Sources close to the player have confirmed a combination of new work commitments in his job as an engineer at Sellafield, changes to his personal life – where he is expecting third child with wife Joanne – and dissatisfaction with his role at Craven Park, have all combined to forced his hand into leaving professional RL.

Coach Darren Holt paid tribute to the contribution Nixon has made to Barrow since making his debut in July 2004, saying he had been a great servant to the club.

“His record speaks for itself,” he said. “He’s a true out-and-out winger, one of the old school and a finisher.

“All he needed a lot of the time was half a chance and he would be over the line – he scored some breathtaking tries over the years while I have played with him and watched him and he has been a great player.

“He’s a really good guy to boot – very humble and very approachable – and anybody would have found him a joy to coach.

“He certainly wouldn’t bring any problems down with him.

“He was due his testimonial very soon as well, but it’s testament to the kind of guy he is that he is not money-oriented. He has a good job outside of rugby and, even with the mention of the testimonial, that wasn’t a motivating factor for him.

“It really was just a case of he couldn’t commit or put the effort in to justify playing in the Championship.”

Nixon made 175 appearances for Barrow between 2004 and 2012, scoring 137 tries – a total which ranks him seventh in the club’s all-time records – at a rate second only to the great Bill Burgess. In 2008, he became the first Barrow player since 1960s hero Burgess to score more than 30 tries in a season.

His performances for Raiders earned him a trial with Super League Harlequins, but he turned down the chance to move there in order to stay closer to home, while injuries in both 2010 and 2011 limited his appearances in those campaigns and prevented him adding to his tallies.

He managed a full campaign last year, but scored only 11 tries in 23 appearances, with widespread suggestions, including from those close to him, that he became unhappy with the irregularity with which he received the ball.

That, along with the new job and his family commitments, contributed to his decision to call it a day.

Holt, who works alongside Nixon in his day job at the nuclear plant, added: “He has been a great servant to the club and his try-scoring record speaks for itself.

“But I could see through pre-season that he was maybe struggling to get to training sessions with things that were going on outside his rugby.

“Then, just before one of the friendlies that he was due to play in, he popped in and started talking about his concerns and he told me he wasn’t in a position to give 100 per cent.

“He had seen everybody else putting 100 per cent in and he wasn’t. He was very honest about it, there were a couple of other issues as well and it all added up.

“He had kind of made his mind up, but I talked him into having a breather, taking two, three or four weeks away, with no pressure or hassle.

“I went back to him and asked if anything had changed and if he was missing it.

“He basically said nothing had changed and he thought he was going to struggle to commit to it and that was that.”

He added: “He has made the decision and he has made it for the right reasons. He won’t have rushed into it and he has maybe been struggling with issues of commitment and time for a while now and it has maybe just come to a head and he has made this decision. Yes, we had the usual crack at trying to talk him out of it, but at the end of the day, it is James’s decision and if his mind is made up, then his mind is made up.”

Have your say

class winger rubbish darts player !!! good luck on your retirement nikko

Posted by stevey h on 1 March 2013 at 23:37

Yeah like his 80m try against Wigan in the Challenge Cup Cuffy?

Posted by Rog on 28 February 2013 at 22:47

View all 4 comments on this article

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