Results

1889/90: A League at Last

The formation of a league in connection with the Northern Football Association for season 1889-90 created a stir amongst the local clubs. All the clubs in connection with the Association were to be divided into four divisions – the Southern, the Wansbeck, the Coquet and the Tweed. The Tweed Division was to consist of Horncliffe Ramblers, Tweedside Wanderers, Seaside Rovers and Berwick Rangers. The original intention was for the champions of the Coquet Division to play against the champions of the Tweed for the title of Champions of North Northumberland. They would then play the Champions of the South for gold and silver medals; however, the competition was not completed. The Northern Football Association applied for recognition from the Football Association, which was refused; the Northern Football Association collapsed, and the member clubs were forced back under the control of the Newcastle-dominated Northumberland Football Association.

Rangers had a change of ground. The Berwick Cricket Club committee had allocated the east end of the Cricket Field for football use this season. The new pitch, the Pier Field East, ran northward at right angles to the east end of the original pitch, just within the field's eastward boundary. The only drawback was its openness. A decent gate was hard to attract with a howling sea wind and rain, preventing the leading clubs from visiting Berwick.

October

The opening match of the season took place on the "new" pitch against the Alnwick Working Men's Club on October 12th. The match kicked off with a strong wind blowing straight down the field. Rangers were playing against the wind and matters were even until Berwick broke upfield and took the lead. At this point a torrential downpour began, and Alnwick equalised. Rangers were now battling against both wind and rain but still managed, somehow, to regain the lead, although it was not long before the visitors levelled again. However, at the interval, and with the prospect of playing against the elements, Alnwick refused to continue.

Rangers got off to a flying start on their Northern Association League debut when they defeated Horncliffe Ramblers 6-0 on the Pier Field. From the start of play, Rangers had the best of matters and scored three times before the interval. The Ramblers had one or two breaks away but were rarely dangerous. After a change of ends, Berwick hemmed their opponents around the goal, scoring another three goals in the process.

November

A rampant Rangers side scored ten goals to the Twempies two in a very one-sided affair against the Tweedside Wanderers. Berwick were at full strength whereas the Wanderers were missing four of their regular team. Rangers attacked from the start and opened the scoring after only nine minutes when Hadley was well placed to score. Rangers scored a further five times in the first half, one of which was disallowed for offside, while the home team scored twice. The second half was more evenly contested from a playing point of view, but Rangers still held the upper hand in the scoring department and scored another five.

A week later, the two clubs met again at Tweedmouth, this time in the Northern Association Cup, a trophy run in conjunction with the League and the Wanderers were determined to gain revenge for their heavy defeat. As soon as the Tweedsiders took the field, it was obvious that they had strengthened their team. Rangers, on the other hand, were weakened, with their captain Colin Campbell and Harry Payne missing. Smith opened the scoring for the Wanderers, although their lead was short, as Carr equalised a few minutes later. Rangers were on top when Hadley, unfortunately, twisted his knee and was forced to leave the field, Berwick playing the remainder of the game with only ten men. Play was now fast and furious, with the Wanderers making full use of their numerical advantage, but Black added a second for Berwick against the run of play. Ten minutes into the second half Rollo equalised for the Tweedsiders. Again, Rangers fought back and regained the lead, when, following a throw-in from Rhind, Hastie was on hand to score. A large partisan crowd made up mainly from Tweedmouth and Spittal, who cheered every Tweedside move and howled at the Rangers, was cheering the Wanderers on. Disaster struck again, much to the delight of the baying crowd, when, a free kick was given for handball about twenty yards from the Rangers' goal. With time running out, the kick was quickly taken and Sherlaw was unlucky to head an attempted clearance into his own net and the game ended at three goals apiece.

In the replay, things look bleak for Berwick at the interval with the Wanderers holding a two-goal advantage. However, Rangers fought their way back into contention with two quick goals, only for the Wanderers to snatch victory at the death, proving for them at least, that third time is lucky.

Horncliffe Ramblers again proved no match against the Rangers in a League return as Berwick ran out easy 8-2 winners.

With the League campaign at the halfway stage, Rangers looked well placed to take the honours when they defeated their nearest rivals, Seaside Rovers, 4-2 at the Pier Field. Both teams were unbeaten in the League, and this lent an added attraction to the match. Rangers had slightly the best of matters in a first half that ended a goal apiece. Play in the second half, however, was a different matter as Rangers totally out played the Spittalers, scoring another three goals to the Rovers' one, to maintain their unbeaten run.

December

In the final group game, held on the Spittalers' ground next to the Miners Arms, Rangers opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when Black put the finishing touch to good build up work by James Campbell and Nicholson. Black had the ball in the net just before half-time, but the goal was disallowed. The Spittal defence was put to a severe test after the interval as Rangers looked to kill off the match. Late on, Black sent in a shot that the keeper could only palm out, but the same player hit the return into the net as Rangers beat the Rovers 2-0 to win the Tweedside Division Championship without losing a single match.

January

On display in the windows of ironmongers Messrs Thompson Brothers at 41-43 Marygate, Berwick, were 11 silver medals presented by Mr. William Shiel Dods to be competed for by clubs from Horncliffe, Tweedmouth, Spittal and Berwick on New Year's Day. At 10am, Berwick Rangers and Tweedside Wanderers faced each other in the first tie of the day in Mr. Dods' field beside the Etal Road. Berwick held the upper hand from start to finish and won 2-1 with ease. Seaside Rovers and Horncliffe played off the second match. Horncliffe looked the more likely team to win, both for size and weight, but the Spittalers ran rings around the "big chaps" and won 10-0.

At 2.30 prompt in the afternoon, Seaside Rovers and Berwick Rangers lined up for the final and general opinion suggested that it would be a tight fight. At half time, Rangers were leading 3-0, although the game so far had been of an even nature. After a change of ends, the Spittalers applied sustained pressure but failed miserably in front of goal, missing several easy chances. Then the fast nature of the game started to tell on the lightweight Spittal men, and by the end of the match, the score was 6-2 to the Rangers. Local butcher and publican Mr. Dods presented the medals at his house, the Three Tuns Inn on the High Street, Berwick, the same evening, when members of all the competing clubs were present.

A rumour was circulating the town that several of the clubs on the south side of the Tweed were discussing the possibility of a merger to form one strong representative club to challenge the might of Berwick Rangers and with this in mind Rangers looked to pastures new for competition and invited Duns Football Club to the Pier Field. All the Duns men had had experience of the rugby field and did not appear to mind the slippery surface after a night of heavy rain. Rangers were not at full strength, but the Dingers played well and at half-time were still on equal terms. The second half consisted of run and counter run. However, Rangers were looking the more dangerous. With only 10 minutes remaining, a draw looked to be the result until McTeer broke away; he passed to James Campbell, positioned just two yards off the Duns goal, and who tapped home the winner.

Minus several of their first team, Rangers and had to call in some of the reserves for the return friendly against the Alnwick Working Men's Club. In a hard-fought game, the Berwickers were a goal down at the interval but they upped their game in the second half and returned home with a creditable 3-3 draw.

February

Berwick Rangers travelled to the Howard Terrace ground of Northern Alliance League side Morpeth Harriers for a friendly encounter, where they surprised the Morpeth team and spectators alike with their standard of play. Rangers took the lead early on through Black following a corner, but Waterston equalised for the home side a few minutes before half-time. Disaster then struck with 10 minutes of the game remaining when James Jobling gave the Harriers the lead. Berwick fought back strongly. Black was unfortunate in hitting the post, and James Campbell missing an excellent opportunity before Black again hit the woodwork when his shot across the goalmouth hit the far post. However, time ran out on the Rangers, and the Harriers claimed a narrow 2-1 victory.

Short Cup business returned to the borough at the end of January with holders Berwick Rangers drawn against their 2nd XI in the opening round. The 2nd XI duly scratched, and Tweedside Wanderers awaited the Rangers. The semi-final between Berwick Rangers and Tweedside Wanderers was held on the Pier Field, where a large crowd had gathered to witness the battle. Admission was 3d, with Ladies free. Rangers opened the scoring with a hotly disputed goal. The goal was allowed, but the crowd thought different and showed their anger by invading the pitch. The game restarted and the Wanderers soon levelled before scoring two more before the interval, easing the tension amongst the crowd. The second half saw Rangers play like men possessed and, with 15 minutes remaining, they hit home five goals one after another. However, one of them was not allowed to count, the Berwickers eventually winning 5-4 after the Twempies scored a late consolation.

March

The Short Cup Committee created a case for further trouble between the clubs when they decided that the cup-tie should be replayed due to an alleged lack of fair representation. Neither club protested and the replay was fixed for March 8th at the Shielfield Football Ground. The first half ended in stalemate, but Rangers opened the scoring a few minutes into the second period through Carr. The goal was greeted with a burst of abuse and jeering from the Wanderers section of the 800-strong crowd. Rollo quickly equalised and from then on things began to get rough both on and off the pitch, with spectators interfering with play on several occasions. With little science in evidence, the game finally ended in a draw. The referee then ordered an extra half-hour to be played and the officials agreed upon this. However, the Wanderers refused to play. Rangers claimed the match, but later the cup committee ordered it to be replayed. This time it was the Rangers who refused to play and they withdrew from the competition.

The public closely followed these incidents and letters flowed into the local press. They called attention to the "disgraceful scenes" and "unsporting gestures". Some suggested that the game be played out of the town on neutral ground to avoid the "ragtag following" interfering with play. While others levelled accusations against the cup committee and hoped that they were now satisfied that Rangers had been forced out of the competition.

A representative eleven was chosen from Berwick Rangers and Tweedside Wanderers to represent the Berwick Borough against Leith Athletic, the second match played against first-class Scottish clubs to promote the game locally. Three weeks earlier a match against Edinburgh University had ended in a 6-0 drubbing for the Borough Select. However, at the eleventh hour, some misunderstanding arose about the selection of the team and the Tweedmouth club withdrew their players from the contest. Sooner than see the match fall through, the Rangers played their full first team in the match at Shielfield. Leith Athletic, although four men short of their usual line-up, played a strong team. The Rangers stubbornly contested the first half. Clements put Leith ahead, but less than five minutes later Berwick were level, amid cheers and hostile comment from a section of the crowd. Leith were not to be denied, however, and retook the lead, only for Rangers to equalise swiftly from the restart. After some hard play, Leith again took the lead and had to work hard to block a determined Rangers attack. Thrice in succession the Rangers were on the point of scoring, McTeer, Black and Carr all putting in good service. After the change of ends, Rangers were quick off the mark to register their third leveller of the match. Black was near to another for the home side, but Leith broke away to score their fourth off one of the uprights. More hard work by the Rangers levelled the score for the fourth and final time as at this point the Leith men took complete control and ran the Berwick team completely off their feet with six goals in in the last half-hour.

Following the game, a fresh stream of letters appeared in the local press protesting about the conduct of the crowd at the game. The fact that Tweedside Wanderers had withdrawn their players did not detract any interest for the Wanderers' supporters, as they wished to see the Rangers well and truly thrashed. They kept up a running fire of opposition to the Rangers throughout the match cheering every move made by the Leith attack and defence alike, while each Rangers attempt was met with a howl of abuse and jeering.

April

Seaside Rovers took on the Rangers in a match played at Shielfield on April 19th. The Spittal men had the better of the game and with time running out the score stood at 3-2 in their favour. However, Berwick still had time to add to their score and the match was eventually drawn.

A friendly match was played against the newly formed Coldstream Football Club at their Earl's Haugh ground. Although classed as a first team fixture, the Berwick line-up contained several reserve players and two substitutes drawn from the Coldstream side. The game, played in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, and ended in a 2-2 draw.

May

The North Eastern club from Newcastle made their annual visit on May 3rd and brought the playing season to a close. The match was played at Shielfield due to the Pier Field being in its summer usage. Rangers edged the first half and went in at the interval with a one-goal advantage. After the crossover, there was only one team in it as Rangers attacked the visitors' goal in force. However, quality defending and weak shooting kept the score low as the game and season ended with a 4-0 Rangers victory.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Oct 12 F H Alnwick WMC D 2-2
19 NAL H Horncliffe Ramblers W 6-0
Nov 2 NAL A Tweedside Wanderers W 10-2
9 NAC 1 H Tweedside Wanderers D 3-3
16 NAC 1R H Tweedside Wanderers L 2-3
23 NAL A Horncliffe Ramblers W 8-2
30 NAL H Seaside Rovers W 4-2
Dec 14 NAL A Seaside Rovers W 2-0
Jan 1 SFM F N Seaside Rovers 6-2
1 SFM SF N Tweedside Wanderers 2-1
11 F H Duns W 3-2
18 F A Alnwick WMC D 3-3
Feb 8 F A Morpeth Harriers L 1-2
15 STC SF H Tweedside Wanderers W 5-4
Mar 8 STC SFR A Tweedside Wanderers D 1-1
15 F H Leith Athletic L 4-10
Apr 19 F H Seaside Rovers D 3-3
26 F A Coldstream D 2-2
May 3 F H North Eastern W 4-0
Northern Association League - Tweed Division
Home Away
Pld W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1 Berwick Rangers 5 3 0 0 10 2 2 0 0 20 4 12
2 Seaside Rovers 6 2 0 1 4 4 2 0 1 13 7 8
3 Tweedside Wanderers 5 1 0 2 3 12 1 0 1 2 4 4
4 Horncliffe Ramblers 6 0 0 3 4 17 0 0 3 0 6 0
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Goals for and against column incomplete. Tweedside Wanderers versus Berwick Rangers not played - Berwick Rangers claimed 2 points.
Appearances & Goals
F NAL NAC SFM STC
Player A G A G A G A G A G
Andrew Aitchison   2      
Thomas Bell 2
Alex Black 3 2 4 2 2 1 2
Colin Campbell 5 4 1 2 2
James Campbell 4 4 2 1 2 2
John Carr 6 2 2 3 2 1 2 2 1
James Cleghorn 1
Robert Craik 1
John Crombie 2
John Downie 1
John Ewart 1
Farage 1
Jack Gray 2 3 2
John Hadley 1 2 1
James Hastie 5 4 3 2 1 2 2
John Lillico 1
William MacFarlane 1 1 2
Francis McTeer 5 2 2 2
George Nicholson 3 4 2 2
Tommy Nicholson 2 1 2
Henry Payne 1 2 1
William Redfearn 3 1 2
Robert Rhind 4 4 2 2 2
Joseph Ross 1
James Sherlaw 3 1 1 2 2
Charles Simpson 1 2
Richard Simpson 5 3 2 2 2
James Wallace 1
George Waterton 2 2
William Weatherburn 1
Number of players used: 30