1886/87: Two Teams

Appearances & Goals

  A G A G   A G A G
Algernon Biggs 1 Jack Gray 3 4
Colin Campbell 2 Andrew Lindsay 1
James Campbell 1 Alex Murphy 2 4
James Cleghorn 2 1 Harry Nicholson 3 4 2
James Cowe 1 Henry Payne 3 4 1
Peter Cowe 3 4 1 Robert Rhind 2 2
Andrew Dixon 3 4 William Smith 2 4 2
Jack Dixon 2 3 John Taylor 1
Tom Dixon 3 4 2 Charles Whillis 1 1
Frank Edwards 1 1
Number of player used: 19


Date C V Opposition Res i
Oct 28 F H Hawthorn Vale L 3-6
Nov 13 F A Border Swifts W 6-2
Dec 4 F A Seaside Rovers W 5-1
Jan 8 NSC 1 H Seaside Rovers W 7-0
22 NSC 1 A Seaside Rovers W 11-1
29 NSC 2 A St Mary & St James W 5-3
Feb 5 NSC 3 H Newcastle East End L 2-5
19 F H Border Swifts W 5-0
Mar 12 F H Belford L 0-1

Competition Results

Due the growing problem of too many members, who were all entitled to play, it was decided to run two teams for the 1886/87 season.

More clubs were being formed in the borough and football fever was spreading along the borderline. On the night of Tuesday 18th September, the two Rangers teams journeyed to Cornhill to play an exhibition match in response to an invitation from the local youths, who were interested in forming football clubs in Cornhill and Coldstream.


28. An evening match against Hawthorn Vale from Leith officially opened the playing season. However, it turned out to be none too successful from a Berwick point of view. The Leith side was full of pace and won 6-3 with ease.


13. Rangers fared better when they played the Border Swifts, a team from the Castlegate area of the town, who had taken over the tenancy of the Greenses Field, when they defeated the Swifts 6-2.


December saw the demise of the Berwick Rugby Football Club. With dwindling attendances, they decided that they could not hope to continue in the face of such opposition as Berwick Rangers. They decided, therefore, to close down and split their funds, all two pounds and four shillings, between Berwick Rangers and the Berwick Cricket Club. It was not from the financial aspect that the Rangers took the news. Up to this point in time, they had had to play a secondary role to the Rugby Club when they needed a ground to play off their games. With the Rugby Club now out of the way, they could play on the Pier Field whenever they chose. However, the rent for the ground was £3 3s per year and with playing membership of the club being two shillings, and some members paying in instalments, the rent was regarded as challenging.

4. In the first of three encounters with the Seaside Rovers, Rangers took control of the match from the start, scoring five with only one reverse in the opening half. After the interval, the Spittal side was on the defensive throughout, but managed to stop any more scoring by "hugging" the goalposts, as the Berwickers outclassed them.


8. Seaside Rovers welcomed the opportunity to gain revenge when the two sides were drawn together in the opening round of the Northumberland Senior Cup, and a large crowd turned out to witness the match played on the Pier Field. Rain had been falling during the night and for most of the day. The pitch was cutting up badly, but it was to the liking of the Berwickers who raced into a seven-goal lead with a quarter-hour still to go. The mud was now about a foot deep, and the players were having difficulty in extracting their feet. The referee had to catch the 4.30 train home, so he craftily called the Spittal men together. He told them that they had no earthly chance of winning and they might as well let the match go at 7-0. The Spittal team agreed, and the referee caught his train!

22. The Spittalers lodged a protest due to the match being played on the wrong date, stating it should have been played on the 15th of the month. They won their case, and the game was ordered to be replayed in two weeks' time on the ground of the Tweedside Wanderers at Tweedmouth. However, instead of a 7-0 defeat Rovers sustained an 11-1 thrashing.

29. In the second round of the Senior Cup, Berwick Rangers played St Mary & St James on the Newcastle Town Moor. This game was remarkable for the startling turnover of the score after half-time. Playing against a strong wind, so strong that a goal kick often registered a corner, Rangers found themselves three goals down at the break. The second half, with wind advantage and a reorganised line up with Peter Cowe now in the forward line, saw Berwick fight back to win 5-3. Nicholson opened the scoring after a neat through ball from Campbell on the hour mark. Five minutes later Tom Dixon ran through and chested the ball past the keeper to make it two. Payne levelled the score after 67 minutes with a well-placed free kick. Four minutes from time, Smith gave Berwick the lead with a superb strike before wrapping it up in the final minute when he forced the ball home after the keeper spilled a corner ball.


5. In the third round, Rangers were drawn at home against Newcastle East End. Berwick won the toss and chose to play with the powerful sunlight in their favour and the wind at their backs. However, the visitors held the early advantage after Marshall scored two quick goals, much to the delight of a strong Spittal contingent in the crowd. Berwick fought back to level the score with a well-taken goal from Tom Dixon and a scrambled Nicholson effort that saw both ball and keeper bundled between the posts. However, Hoban regained the lead for the East Enders with a daisy cutter after Murphy had kept them at bay with a series of magnificent saves. Rangers were entirely at the mercy of the visitors in the second half, as they now had the elements in their favour, and O'Brien sealed the victory with two well-taken goals. The first was a powerful header and the second a thrusting shot from a poor clearance by Murphy.

19. In a return match with the Border Swifts, Berwick finished strongly with a hard-fought 5-0 victory. Rangers opened the scoring, against the run of play, from a free kick on the edge of the box in the 25th minute. They began to use their weight a little and scored a second just before half-time from a similar free kick in front of the Swift's goal. Berwick were well on top in the second half, scoring another two, before an incident with ten minutes remaining caused the Swifts to leave the field. The ball was kicked out of play but returned by a spectator. The Swifts claimed a throw-in, but Rangers played on and scored. The referee, not having seen the incident, gave the goal and the Swifts refused to continue. The match was meant to be the final game of the season. However, that was before Berwick-Spittal rivalry erupted yet again.


12. Seaside Rovers were to host a return match with Belford. The Spittal club objected to Belford making up their playing numbers with the use of four Rangers players. A compromise was suggested with three players from Tweedside Wanderers and one from the Rangers, but when the Spittalers found out it was to be Harry Nicholson from the Rangers, they refused to play. As for the objections regarding Nicholson, one prominent Spittal member was reported to have said, "As Nicholson came from Berwick that was reason enough", while another remarked that there was "solid spite and hatred" against the Rangers by Seaside Rovers. The Belford team eventually crossed the Tweed and play a friendly match with a scratch Rangers side, to spare themselves from a wasted journey and won by a goal to nil.