EDDIE Hemmings will probably not be able to say it any better when he signs off from rugby league commentary with Sky Sports on Friday.

“I’ve been blessed and lucky enough to go to some of the great games of rugby league over the past 30 years and enjoyed every minute of them,” said Eddie, 69, an Appleton resident for 20 years since moving from Westbrook.

As a father of three, with four grandchildren, and this year’s Warrington Golf Club captaincy, he has plenty to focus on after hanging up his microphone following the final hooter sounding on the Wigan-Saints ‘derby’ at the DW Stadium.

Warrington Guardian:

Eddie, right, ready for a round with the 2015 Warrington Golf Club captian, Steve Collier

He hopes to stay in touch with the game by attending matches at the nearby Super League grounds, Warrington Wolves, St Helens and Wigan Warriors.

“I will go and see a few games live, watch plenty on the tele, play a bit of golf and enjoy a bit of sunshine,” said Eddie, whose stint in the Warrington Guardian newsroom in the late 1960s helped to shape his career path.

“To pinch a phrase from Super League, my wife Carole and I have plans for ‘new beginnings’. I’m sure we’ll be sitting on a beach or a cruise ship in 2020 and beyond.

“And with the kids and grandkids I’m sure I’m going to be busy. It’ll be good fun giving more time back to the family.”

His family will all be at the DW Stadium as he plays his last tune.

“It will be emotional,” said Eddie, whose stand-out memories include presenting and commentating alongside already retired Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson at the first Grand Final in 1998, a Great Britain win in Melbourne in 1992 and the famous last-second dramatic ‘Wide to West’ try that took St Helens to Old Trafford in 2000 at the expense of Bradford Bulls.

Warrington Guardian:

“I’ll try to treat my last game game like any other and I’ll try to sign off with something, though I’ll have to write it down.

“I’ll miss the boys, I’ll miss the game, but 30 years isn’t a bad innings.

“I think there are many challenges ahead for both sport and television and I don’t think anything can replace the 30 years I’ve had. It’s been fantastic from start to finish.”

It is the nature of the job that one match can merge into another, but Eddie has some clear and fond memories of games that he has called as he prepares for his final commentary.

One involves former Wire captain and head coach Paul Cullen.

"I remember once we were at Wilderspool Stadium and Paul Cullen was playing," said Eddie.

"He flew into the first tackle and forced a knock-on.

"Paul turned round, clenched both fists and he screamed at the players 'Come on!'

"I remember that clear as day, Paul leading the way."

Warrington Guardian:

You can just pick out Eddie working on the gantry for Sky Sports at Warrington Wolves' Halliwell Jones Stadium. Picture: Mike Boden

His treasure bank also includes more obvious moments, such as the first time Super League’s champions were crowned at the culmination of a play-offs.

“The first Grand Final will be a great memory because people said it would never happen, people didn’t think we’d get to a Saturday night under lights at Old Trafford,” said Eddie, who shared the majority of his experiences with summariser and friend Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson.

“But it’s become bigger than the Challenge Cup Final now. It’s a fantastic event and has been since Wigan and Leeds walked out that night in 1998.

Warrington Guardian:

Scenes at the 2016 Grand Final night, when The Wire faced Wigan Warriors. Picture: Mike Boden

“Also, I’ll never forget the night that Great Britain beat Australia in Melbourne on one of the tours I did. I think that was 1992, when we beat them by a record score.

“We sadly couldn’t go on and win a series against them.”

And there is one moment of huge drama that will live with him forever and nobody will ever let him forget.

It was the night St Helens defeated Bradford Bulls after the clock had run down to win the semi-final at Knowsley Road and book a place at Old Trafford in the year 2000.

Nine passes, one Crossfield-kick, a Dwayne West break and the unstoppable Chris Joynt charge for the line sent the Saints fans ballistic and left Bulls head coach Matthew Elliott falling off his seat.

“The ‘Wide to West’ try is the undoubted highlight,” said Eddie.

“That was just a night that everything fell into place.

Warrington Guardian:

Chris Joynt completes the 'Wide to West' try for Saints in 2000. Picture: Bernard Platt

“A pal of mine who works for PING has given me a putter and on the base is my name, Sky Sports 1990 to 2019, and in quote marks ‘It’s wide to West, it’s wide to West.’

“There’s a wall with all the words and pictures of it on wallpaper apparently at Saints’ new ground.

“People have had t-shirts printed with the words on and I’ve got a canvas of all the words that includes all the names of those involved.

“A local WI group, I think it was, formed a choir and sang a song about Wide to West.

“And there’s a book, Farewell to Knowsley Road, which was brought out when Saints left their old ground. In it, the author likened the Wide to West try to Kenneth Wolstenholme’s ‘They think it’s all over, it is now’.

“And if people think that, well that’s just absolutely fabulous.”

Another moment he will never forget was filming at Knowsley Safari Park, as he and Stevo visited tourist attractions in the areas of Super League clubs as the summer era was about to begin in 1996.

“During the last link this ostrich took a chunk out of Stevo’s ear and there was blood everywhere,” said Eddie.

Warrington Guardian:

Back in the day with Stevo

He mentioned there has been one disappointment.

“The one regret is never getting to do a Great Britain or England World Cup Final win, or a series win against Australia,” he said.

“But I hope one will come soon.”

Warrington Guardian:

Eddie accepts Wire fan Neil Dolan's invite to wave an England flag at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane during the 2008 World Cup

Eddie is a rugby league convert, though not a supporter of any one particular team, and his 53-year working life in the media would not have happened if his careers master at school had gotten his way.

“I told him I fancied doing sport journalism and he said you don’t want to be working night times and weekends,” revealed Eddie.

“He recommended accountancy and I applied for a business studies course at Kirkby Technical College near to where I was living at the time in Maghull.”

But Eddie never went, instead successfully applying for a junior journalist position at an agency in Birkenhead in the summer of 1966 and he never looked back.

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Roles he took on included reporting on his beloved Liverpool FC - for Liverpool Weekly News - along with the likes of Everton and Tranmere for Radio Merseyside, where for a time before his sport position he had the afternoon DJ spot spinning records, taking requests and doing features like mum of the day interviews.

His rugby league commentary started unexpectedly after landing a producer’s job with network radio, Sport On Two.

“I did a load of commentaries for BBC Sport On Two on football, but I produced the rugby league,” said Eddie.

“Harry Gration was the main commentator at the end of 1984 but he was leaving and he suggested I should give it a go.”

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He did and the future Sky Sports voice of rugby league was born.

Eddie decided to leave the BBC for BSB more or less as soon as the satellite hit the sky in late 1989 to start the journey that ends tomorrow.

“They were looking for a different sound and must have thought I fitted the bill,” said Eddie.

“When I look back, I never really wanted to be a producer, I always wanted to be in front of the microphone.

“I’d decided way back in the early 80s that I needed another sport to get me going because the world and his wife wanted to do football.

“The decision to do rugby league, and the decision to leave the BBC, meant I was in the right place at the right time.

“Thirty years in the same job, covering the same sport, I think is something of a record in television. I’ve been blessed.”