1888/89: A Northern Association

Appearances & Goals

  A G A G A G
Colin Campbell 3 1
John Carr 3 2 1
Andrew Dixon 3 2 1
Jack Gray 3 1
James Hastie 3 2 1
John Lillie 3 1
George Nicholson 3 1
Henry Payne 3 1
James Rollo 3 2 1
Richard Simpson 3 1
William Smith 3 2 1
Number of players used:


Date C V Opposition Res i
Nov 17 F H Alnwick WMC W 6-1
Dec 1 F H Tweedside Wanderers L 1-3
Jan 5 NSC 1 A Tweedside Wanderers W 6-2
19 NSC 2 A Alnwick WMC L 3-6
Feb 2 NSC 2 H Alnwick WMC L 1-2
16 STC 1 A Swinton Athletic W 4-0
Mar 2 STC 2 H Tweedside Wanderers W 4-2
23 F H North Eastern W 4-1
30 STC SF A Belford W 4-1
Apr 20 STC F N Berwick Rangers 2nd XI W 3-0

Competition Results

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A trial match billed as "Probables" versus "Improbables" was held on the Pier Field in October 1888 to select players from the borough's four recognised clubs – Berwick Rangers, Border Swifts, Tweedside Wanderers and Seaside Rovers, for the purpose of forming a borough representative team. The game ended in a draw and committee of three representatives from each club was formed to make the final selection.


17. The opening game of the season saw Berwick Rangers regain the annual bragging rights over the Alnwick Working Men's Club with a deserved 6-1 win on the Pier Field.


1. Tweedside Wanderers visited the Pier Field for another "local friendly" in which Berwick Rangers were surprisingly beaten 3-1 by the Twempies.

Towards the end of 1888 a new football association, the Northern Football Association, was formed. The Association was formed with the object of cultivating football in the smaller towns of the county by excluding the larger Newcastle clubs, who were now playing professionals. Two representative teams were selected from the north and west of the County. The North Northumberland team included three players from the Alnwick Working Men's Club and two from Tweedside Wanderers. The remainder was all from the Rangers: Harry Payne at right-back; John Lillie right half; Colin Campbell, centre-half; James Rollo, inside-right; John Carr, centre; and Jack Hastie, outside-left. The match took place on New Year's Day 1889 at the Waggon Way field in Alnwick. The North won 2-0 after a good hard game, with Carr scoring one of the goals.


5. In the Northumberland Senior Cup, Berwick Rangers were drawn against their old rivals from over the River Tweed, the Tweedside Wanderers, at the Meadow Field. There was considerable speculation and wagering on the result of the match with the Twempies starting favourite, probably on account of their previous 3-1 victory over the Berwickers. However, Rangers were not to be outdone this time and they rattled in six goals with Rollo, Carr and Dixon each scoring twice. Rangers opened the scoring after only five minutes' play and continued to pressure the Wanderers defence with several close but unsuccessful corners. They doubled the score on the half-hour mark and made it three shortly before the interval. The Wanderers started the second half in a determined manner, but they were soon caught out at the back and Rangers increased their lead. The Twempies pulled a goal back from a corner through Bryson and, from then on, it was an even affair. Rangers then added a fifth to their tally before Bruce scored a second for the Wanderers with five minutes remaining. Rangers replied straight from the kick-off when Dixon raced away to score number six.

19. Rangers travelled to Alnwick in the second round of the Northumberland Senior Cup to play against the Working Men's Club. They fielded an unchanged team but were soundly beaten 6-3. The first half was a very one-sided affair as Alnwick built up a commanding 5-1 advantage. It was fully expected that Rangers would reduce the scoreline in the second half, but the fast pace of the first told on them and, although they scored twice, Alnwick were not to be outdone and later added a sixth to their tally. The wind was rather strong in the first half, which prevented flowing football. Alnwick won the toss and selected to play downhill with the wind and sun in their favour. Within a minute of the start, Connors scored a neat goal. Brewis, on the home left, got possession, and after a neat run scored goal number two before the game was ten minutes old. Matters got worse for Berwick as Brewis scored a third a five minutes later following a corner kick. The home left was causing Berwick problems and after a fine passing move Brewis added the fourth goal on the 20-minute mark. From a free kick given for hand ball C. Thompson notched a fifth before Rangers broke upfield and Hastie reduced the deficit with a goal following a long throw-in just before half-time. On the change of ends the wind had somewhat fallen off and the sun not so glaring. Rangers started on the attack and forced an early corner, which was headed away. They soon returned and Smith reduced the score further with a well-taken goal. However, with six minutes remaining Nevin scored Alnwick's sixth from a free kick in front of the Berwick goal. Play remained even in the last few minutes as both teams were "used -up", but just before the call of time, Smith scored Berwick's third. Rangers won a corner and he ball the ball struck the crossbar; Smith reacted first to the rebound and rushed both ball and keeper into the net.


2. Rangers protested to the Northumberland Senior Cup committee that Alnwick Working Men's Club had played an unregistered player. The committee ruled in Berwick's favour and the tie was ordered to be re-played at Berwick the following week. Alnwick had a wasted journey as Rangers were unable to raise a team. Alnwick claimed the match but the Cup committtee again ruled in Berwick's favour and the match was rescheduled for February 2nd. However, it made no difference in the end, for Alnwick won 2-1. Alnwick took an early lead, but Rangers were not long in levelling the score. The visitors then scored a second before Berwick took command and were very unlucky not to level again when a shot rebounded off the woodwork.

16. Out of the Senior Cup for another season, Rangers turned their attentions to the Short Cup. A trophy presented by Mr. T. B. Short, a grain merchant in Tweedmouth, to be played for by association football clubs within a 30-mile radius of Berwick. In the first round, Berwick Rangers 1st XI beat Swinton Athletic 4-0, while the Rangers 2nd XI beat Eyemouth Fort 3-0.

A general meeting of the newly formed Northern Football Association was held at Morpeth in February. A resolution was passed that the Association would not be involved with anything that would connect them with the Northumberland Football Association sitting in Newcastle. Several inter-district matches were planned, and four weeks later a team selected from the Berwick and district visited Morpeth to play a friendly game with the Morpeth Harriers. The Harriers ran out comfortable 7-0 winners. Colin Campbell at half back and forwards Jack Hastie, Andy Dixon and Richard Simpson represented Berwick Rangers.


2. There was added excitement in the second round of the Short Cup when the Rangers 1st XI were drawn to play Tweedside Wanderers. Another good game ensured between these two teams, fresh from tussling for Senior Cup honour, but Rangers had it all their own way again and won 4-2.

23. Newcastle club, North Eastern, challenged Berwick Rangers to a friendly match at the Pier Field, but they were no match for the Berwickers who won 4-1 with ease.

30. Berwick Rangers travelled to and beat Belford 4-1 in the semi-final of the Short Cup. In the other semi-final, the match between the Rangers 2nd XI and Seaside Rovers was abandoned during the second half. The score was one goal each with the Rangers on the attack, when the Spittal goalkeeper, William Hall, broke his leg. The Spittal club scratched the replay and the final was to be played between the Rangers and their 2nd XI.


20. A large crowd turned out to witness the Short Cup Final on the Pier Field. The 2nd XI put up a good show in the first half, holding the firsts at the interval, but experience told in the end, and the seniors took the honours with a deserved 3-0 win.

For the second time, in only the second borough competition, the final been contested between the 1st and 2nd teams of the Rangers, and with the obvious lack of local competition Berwick Rangers hoped to use their membership of the Northern Football Association to progress to a higher level.