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1884/85: The Local Force

In only their second season in existence, and with a few big wins to their credit over the other borough sides, Berwick Rangers were now a local force to be reckoned with and began to look south in search of more meaningful opposition.

November

Rangers kicked-off the season on November 8th with a goalless draw at Dunbar against Tynefield of West Barns, whose friendly match against North Eastern from Newcastle on New Year's Day caused the outbreak of football fever in the borough.

Seaside Rovers got their first crack at the Rangers in a match played at the Sea Cutting a week later. The Spittalers took the field with only nine men, due to team raising difficulties, and fully expected to be beaten by at least ten. However, they obtained the services of two substitutes to complete their team and Rangers only managed to score three.

Rangers recorded their biggest win to date the following week when they beat Tweedside Wanderers 6-1 in a return match on the Stanks. More than a hundred spectators turned out to watch Berwick score five times in the first half-hour as they ripped the Wanderers apart. With a strong wind blowing and a change of ends, it was reckoned by some that the Rangers would score no more, but they proved the doubters wrong and, after only a few minutes, they scored a sixth.

December

Seaside Rovers were the visitors on December 20th, when a large crowd, made up mainly of fishermen, showed a lot of animosity toward the Rangers. However, the Berwickers kept their cool and finished with a comfortable 5-2 win.

A week later, Rangers took on Tweedside Wanderers at the Meadow Field and won by four goals and one "disputed" goal to nil.

January

Alnwick were the visitors to the Pier Field on New Year’s Day as Berwick hoped to gain revenge for their two previous defeats. However, their recent winning streak was brought to an abrupt end with the visitors securing a deserved 4-1 victory.

Rangers' toughest match to date was against Bedlington Burdon, a powerful team of pitmen from the Doctor pit in Bedlington, who took their name from the nearby Burdon public house. After a goalless first half, Bedlington took the lead with only three minutes of the match remaining when Thomson, their captain, scored following a goalmouth melee. From the kick-off, Rangers rushed up the field in a swift and determined manner, winning a corner in the process. Taylor took the kick and Tom Graham levelled matters just on the call of time.

February

The animosity shown by the fishermen in the crowd toward the Rangers during the December match against Seaside Rovers was again apparent when the Royal Oaks played the Rangers on The Stanks. A few discontented players had left the Rangers and joined the Greenses team of fishermen. Hell bent on revenge, they took to the field like madmen, running the Rangers team completely off their feet. The Berwick Journal reported: “A good number of spectators, who, naturally, expected to see a match played under Association rules, were disappointed, owing to the disgraceful play on the part of the Oaks, who rushed about the field, in the eyes of the spectators, more like wild Arabs than civilised beings, pushing with their hands, wilfully tripping up, and using the most disgusting language towards the Rangers. Umpires were no use whatever.” The match, if it could have been called a match, ended in a 1-0 win for the Royal Oaks. “Hen” Shaw scored the goal. There was no one to stop him after a tremendous run up the middle of the field but Cleghorn, the Rangers’ goalkeeper. Shaw put the fear of death on Cleghorn by reportedly saying: “Cleghorn if you stop the ball I’ll kill you.” Shaw shot and scored. In speaking of Shaw’s threat afterward, Cleghorn was said to have stammered. “He-e w-would ha’ dunne it.”

A week later, the Tynefield Club from Dunbar were the visitors to the Pier Field. A hard-fought match took place, which ended two goals apiece, with Alex Murphy earning great praise for the manner in which he defended the Rangers’ goal in his first appearance as goalkeeper.

March

In the return match with Bedlington Burdon, Rangers had the better of the first half but fell behind to a goal scored on the break a few minutes before the interval. However, the Berwickers were not to be denied. In the second half, they held possession for long periods before finally scoring a deserved equaliser with only nine minutes remaining. Nicholson got possession in the centre, dodged the Bedlington half backs, and passed to Peter Cowe, who made no mistake in prodding the ball home.

A disputed goal ended the match against Tweedside Wanderers on March 28th after only half-an-hours' play. Nicholson scored, but the Wanderers would not allow the goal to stand, claiming offside, and the entire Rangers team left the field stating that the Wanderers did not know the rules.

April

Seaside Rovers fared better than the Wanderers did when, playing by the rules this time, they defeated the Rangers by a goal to nil at the Sea Cutting.

Rangers took advantage of the local Easter holiday Monday to travel to Alnwick and returned with a surprise 4-0 victory over the Working Men’s Club.

The club's annual general meeting was held on April 8th, which was supposed to end the official playing season. However, the lure of playing the visiting Beaver Bank Football Club from Edinburgh proved too great a challenge and Rangers' extended season was finally completed with a deserved 1-0 victory.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Nov 8 F A Tynefield D 0-0
15 F A Seaside Rovers W 3-0
22 F H Tweedside Wanderers W 6-1
Dec 20 F H Seaside Rovers W 5-2
27 F A Tweedside Wanderers W 4-0
Jan 1 F H Alnwick WMC L 1-4
24 F H Bedlington Burdon D 1-1
Feb 14 F H Royal Oaks L 0-1
21 F H Tynefield D 2-2
Mar 21 F A Bedlington Burdon D 1-1
28 F A Tweedside Wanderers W 1-0
Apr 4 F A Seaside Rovers L 0-1
6 F A Alnwick WMC W 4-0
23 F H Beaver Bank W 1-0

Appearances & Goals

Friendlies
Player A G Player A G
James Aird 1 George Hindhaugh 2
William Bald 10 James Hindhaugh 1
Robert Brown 2 Tom Lindsay 11
William Burgon 4 Alex Murphy 9
James Campbell 7 2 Hugh Murphy 1
James Cleghorn 6 Harry Nicholson 5 2
James Cowe 11 Henry Payne 10 1
Peter Cowe 9 2 James Percy 4
Alexander Cumming 1 Robert Rhind 2
Thomas Denholm 2 William Stammas 6
Andrew Dixon 1 John Taylor 12 2
Jack Dixon 1 Charles Whillis 6
Frank Edwards 1 Ralph Young 1
Thomas Graham 7 2
Number of players used: 27