Results

1885/86: County Status

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Expectations were running high at the start of the season after several successful fund-raising events were held in the Good Templar Hall on Coxons Lane during in the summer months. Berwick Rangers had joined the Northumberland Football Association and, although there was no league in which to play, the supporters were keen to see their club compete in the Northumberland Senior Cup.

October

On October 24th, a large crowd gathered on the Pier Field, under atrocious weather conditions, to witness the opening game of the season against the Alnwick Working Men's Club, where a goalless draw was fought out.

In the draw for the Northumberland Senior Cup, Rangers were drawn against Shankhouse Black Watch in the Northern Division and given choice of ground. In preparation for the cup-tie, Rangers made some secret negotiations to play the current cup-holders Newcastle East End at Newcastle. The game was played in two thirty-minute halves. Having won the toss, Rangers elected to play with the wind in their favour and, during the first half, they had matters a good deal their way; however, the second half proved to be much different with both teams producing good runs. Towards the end, the East End piled on the pressure with some aggressive football in an effort to break through, but inform goalkeeper Murphy, who played a good game throughout, kept them out, and Berwick left the field with a creditable draw against top class opposition.

December

Local interest was at a high after the draw against a team of Newcastle East End's calibre and a fair crowd gathered on The Stanks to watch Rangers defeat Seaside Rovers 5-1.

January

New Year's Day 1886 saw the first-ever sports day held in the borough, with the Leeds Clothing Company of 22 West Street, Berwick, offering prizes to the value of £12 for the winners of several well-contested athletic events held on the Stanks. The football event, for eleven silver medals, saw Berwick Rangers 2nd XI beat Seaside Rovers 1-0 in the first match of the day. The Rangers' first team defeated Tweedside Wanderers by the same score in the other first round tie to set up an all Rangers final and, as expected, the senior Rangers took the medals with a comfortable 2-0 victory.

The biggest-ever crowd at a sporting event in the borough turned out on the Pier Field to watch Berwick beaten by Shankhouse Black Watch in the first round of the Northumberland Senior Cup, the first serious game that the Rangers had ever played. The Black Watch team came from the Cramlington area and were winners of the Senior Cup two seasons previous. The Berwickers put up a hard fight and gave as good as they got in the outfield, but when it came to scoring goals, the Black Watch had it. Rangers crashed out by four goals to one, scored by Peter Cowe, although one of the Shankhouse goals was hotly disputed.

Rangers were severely criticised in the local newspapers after the Shankhouse Black Watch defeat, as supporters were expecting greater things after such a good performance against Newcastle East End.

February

The disappointment caused by their cup defeat did not last long as a fair crowd turned out to watch Rangers defeat local rivals Tweedside Wanderers 3-0, although they should have won by a much larger margin. Three weeks later the two sides met in the return match, with Rangers again running out winners, this time by the margin of five without reply.

March

After back-to-back wins without conceding a goal, Rangers threw down another challenge to the Alnwick Working Men's Club, who billed their side as a "scratch" eleven. The crafty Alnwickers arrived at the Meadow Field, loaned from Tweedside Wanderers for the match, with 14 players, and proceeded to "pick" their team on the field. However, their craft was justified as Rangers became more confident by this piece of showmanship on the Alnwick side's part. They believed Alnwick had a doubt about picking their side, but there could be no doubt about the way they began their game. Rangers could find no answer to the bewildering forward play of the Alnwick men, who included several Morpeth Harriers in their side. Manners, the regular Morpeth inside-left, played a brilliant game from the kick-off. Midway through the opening half he outstripped the Berwick defence and passed to A Taylor, who shot hard at goal, but it trying to head the ball away, Rangers full back John Taylor, unfortunately, put it between the posts. Less than a minute later, Manners, taking a long shot, sent in a spinner to make it 2-0 at half-time. On the restart, Alnwick made no pretence of their intentions as they packed their goal and only allowed their forwards quick breakaways. Harry Nicholson found the net late in the game as Rangers hammered away, but they were well beaten, and they knew it.

There was some despondency in the Berwick camp after the Alnwick defeat, but jubilation in Tweedmouth and Spittal, as the Rangers were to play the Seaside Rovers at the Sea Cutting the in the final game of the season. Rangers were determined not to be caught on the wrong foot, in a match to be played in two thirty-minute halves; however, owing to quite a bit of disagreeableness between some of the players, Rangers left the field after forty minutes' play with the score at 3-2 in their favour, bringing the season to an unruly end.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Oct 24 F H Alnwick WMC D 0-0
31 F A Newcastle East End D 0-0
Dec 19 F H Seaside Rovers W 5-1
Jan 1 SM SF H Tweedside Wanderers W 1-0
1 SM F H Berwick Rangers 2nd XI W 2-0
9 NSC 1 H Shankhouse Black Watch L 1-4
Feb 6 F H Tweedside Wanderers W 3-0
27 F A Tweedside Wanderers W 5-0
Mar 9 F H Alnwick WMC L 1-2
13 F A Seaside Rovers W 3-2

Appearances & Goals

F SM NSC
Player A G A G A G
James Aird 4
James Campbell 3 2 1
James Cleghorn 7 2 1
James Cowe 5 1
Peter Cowe 5 2 1 1
Andrew Dixon 2
Jack Dixon 6
Thomas Dixon 4
Frank Edwards 5 2 1
Thomas Graham 3 2 1
Jack Gray 2
Andrew Lindsay 1
Tom Lindsay 2 2
George Logan 1 1
Alex Murphy 7 2 1
Harry Nicholson 6 1 2 1
Henry Payne 7 2 1
James Percy 1
Robert Rhind 1 2 1
John Taylor 2
Charles Whillis 2 2
Ralph Young 1
Number of players used: 22