Results

1892/93: Ground Change

At the club's annual general meeting in June, a decision was made by the committee, although not unanimous, to a change of ground. The demise of Shielfield Athletic Football Club had left the ground at Shielfield vacant, and the committee moved in quickly to secure the lease, on very fair terms, with owner Mr. William Shiel Dods. The move was made in the hope of increasing local interest in the game with the provision of better facilities, especially against the weather. Ground improvements were carried out during the summer months with further levelling of the pitch at the railway end, allowing the playing area to be increased to 120 yards by 60 yards. A wooden fence was erected around the pitch to keep the spectators from the touchline and the club acquired their first set of goal nets in time for their opening match of the season.

In submitting his annual statement, Treasurer Mr. James Campbell remarked on the unusually large amount of money that had passed through their hands, compared with that of previous years. As an example of the club's development, he pointed out that two years ago the income was some £13, and last year £27. For the season now closed no less than £73 8s 3d had been received. The expenditure was £71 13s 6d making the balance in hand, £1 14s 9d.

Having won the Northumberland Minor Cup last season, Rangers were barred from playing in that competition and entered the Senior Cup, with friendlies filling the rest of the fixture list.

September

The opening match of the season against Heaton Rovers on September 3rd started brightly with both sides playing attractive football, but the weather spoiled the day. Rangers were 3-1 up at half-time through goals from John Manuel, McFarlane and Murphy. Then, during the second half, torrential rain began to fall, and the crowd speedily cleared. Rangers, who had the wind and hill in their favour, slowed the pace as the now amphibious twenty-two continued to play to empty terraces. A goal scored by Bryson from within a goalmouth melee midway through the half, and two from James Manuel, made sure that Rangers were the eventual winners.

Rangers faced stiffer opposition a week later with the visit of Willington Athletic. Contrary to previous contests between the teams, Willington, showing several changes from last season, lacked spirit, but still managed to outclass a poor Rangers side to win 4-1. McLucas and Cummings had already put Willington two goals ahead before Makins scored for the Berwickers with a long, high drive well out of the keeper's reach. In the second half, the Tynesiders continued to have the best of matters and two goals in the last seven minutes sealed their victory.

The critics were out in force for the visit of Science & Art; however, they were proved wrong. Rangers played a mixed eleven with the introduction of two reserve team players, James Grieve and John Renwick, in the forward line. James Manuel did not turn up and James McFarlane, on his reappearance, took his place at centre-forward. The visitors also turned up a man short and James Campbell played in their ranks to make up the numbers. After a goalless first half, Tom Makins opened the scoring just after the restart as Berwick produced a more balanced performance. Murphy shaved the post with a header, but despite having the better of exchanges it took until five minutes from the end when, after a fine burst of form, Rangers scored twice in quick succession. First Makins' lightening shot was stopped by the keeper but, before he could recover, Renwick forced the loose ball home and, a minute later, Bryson made it three without reply following a long through ball by Hastie.

October

Success followed success, for the following Saturday saw North Eastern fall to the Rangers. First half goals from Bryson and new boy James Robison from Tweedmouth gave Rangers a comfortable half-time lead. McFarlane scored a third from a well-taken free kick by Rhind before North Eastern pulled a goal back after some poor Rangers defending. As the visitors pressed forward in the closing stages, they were caught out in defence. Rhind sent in a thunderous drive that the keeper fisted out, but only as far as the lurking Bryson, who had little difficulty in increasing Berwick's lead.

Rangers travelled to Blyth for a match that they were not expected to win, even though they fielded their best eleven, against the highly rated Blyth side. However, the Berwickers gave a good account of themselves, although the score line of 3-0 in home side's favour indicated accurately the difference between the teams. Blyth were by far the faster of the two sides and, after a goalless first half, the pace began to tell on the Berwick defence and McKay broke through on the hour to open the scoring. Rangers doubled their defence as Blyth began to attack at will and it took until eight minutes from the end before the wall was breached with two late goals. Gilmour added a second with a superbly struck free kick and, a few minutes, later he made the game safe with a third.

With a free Saturday, Rangers fixed up a match with the Military in the form of the KOSB Depot team. The Soldiers had recently beaten the Rangers reserve team 9-2 and fancied their chances, but they were no match for the senior side as they blasted in six goals without reply. James Manuel opened the scoring on 15 minutes when he rushed through a loose shot by his brother John. Rangers went two-up just before half-time through an own goal conceded after a series of corners. Heavy rainstorms kept interrupting the second half and the conditions began to tell on the pace of the Borderers. Rangers took full advantage of the situation with McFarlane adding a third, followed by another from James Manuel, Murphy added a fifth, and John Manuel completed the 6-0 rout.

Rangers had an off day in a rough and tumble encounter at Duns. Berwick were made to work hard after the home side took a deserved tenth minute lead through Pilmer's scrambled effort in front of goal. Poor shooting saw Rangers miss chance after chance, especially in the second half, and it took a late deflected shot to level the score. Murphy sent in a low shot, which Wilson tried to stop, but he tipped the ball over the keeper's hands and into the net, letting Rangers off the hook.

Rangers played their most important fixture on the card to date with the visit of Newcastle East End reserves. The visitors sent an experienced team while Rangers had to make late changes with Dick Murphy unable to play. John Manuel moved up to take his place, and Colin Campbell played at centre-half. Berwick opened like demons, but a solid East End defence thwarted them. By the interval, Rangers were 4-0 down as the home defence had another off day against a slick, first-timing forward line. In the second half Rangers opened their account through James Manuel and later had a second disallowed, but the East Enders kept a tight grip on the game and added a fifth goal before the final whistle.

November

An early goal scored by Murphy was enough to beat a disappointing Newcastle Trafalgar side at Shielfield. Rangers started brightly and from a Rhind corner Murphy headed straight into the keeper's hands; however, being taken by surprise Lowery barely had time to push the ball from him before Murphy closed in to score. Rangers continued to hold the upper hand, especially in the second half, but could not add to their tally due to the heroics of Lowrey, who time and time again thwarted the home attack.

The club, at the request of the Northumberland Football Association, forwarded the names of three players for the Association to consider representing the County team. The names of forwards George Bryson and Dick Murphy along with half-back Tom Makins were submitted. Bryson and Murphy were selected by the NFA for a county trial match at Wallsend. Following the trial, Bryson was selected to play for the County against Durham at St James' Park, Newcastle, on November 19th. Durham took the lead a few minutes into the second half, but Bryson equalised for Northumberland shortly before the referee stopped the game due to dense fog in the 65th minute.

Rangers were given a tough draw at home to Newcastle side Rendle in the first round of the Northumberland Senior Cup, to be played on January 7th. A fixture was quickly arranged with North Eastern to keep the team in trim. Due to the short notice, Berwick fielded a scratch eleven. Tait served at the back while Simpson went to centre-half; Colin Campbell moved forward, and his brother went out on the wing along with Redfearn. Renwick also had a forward position. Colin Campbell opened the scoring after ten minutes' play and, just before half-time, he added a second with an accomplished finish. Rangers continued to press matters at the start of the second half but gifted the Railwaymen a goal after some sloppy defending. Berwick had chances to increase their lead, but the forward line lacked the final touch. They paid the penalty for their missed chances when the visitors levelled midway through the half and later took the honours with a third from a well-taken free kick.

December

Another top-class fixture was scheduled for Shielfield on December 10th with the Sunderland "A" team, who were proudly sitting top of the Northern Alliance League, the visitors. Local opinion gave Rangers no earthly chance. The Wearsiders arrived at Shielfield only to be told that the pitch was unplayable due to ice. A large crowd had already gathered to watch the game and, with the chance of swelling the club's funds with a healthy gate, an alternative pitch was quickly found. The old pasture field, known as the Meadow Field, was dangerous here and there but playable. The goalposts were up in no time and the teams took the field almost on time. Although robbed of any advantage the Shielfield ground may have given them, the Berwickers set about Sunderland like men possessed, but the class of the Wearsiders soon began to tell. Their polished forward line was soon on the move and they eventually took the lead when Hope did not dispose of the ball as well as he could have done, and Brand was presented with an easy goal. After the interval, with spirit and determination, Berwick began another onslaught and had the Sunderland defence all at sea for the opening quarter, during which time they equalised when a Makins corner was met by Wallace's head. Despite Sunderland upping the tempo, Rangers looked like holding out for a draw. However, a low clearance from Hope was intercepted by visiting full-back Gillespie and, before Hope had time to recover his position, Gillespie slammed home a 40-yarder for the winning goal. Although beaten 2-1, it was by the finest amateur team in the north of England, and a moral victory for the Berwickers.

Rangers travelled to Broomhill with only six of the first team regulars available. Murphy opened the scoring for Berwick, but the Miners soon equalised. However, two second-half goals from Bryson and another by Murphy saw Rangers win comfortably.

Considerable interest surrounded the meeting of the KOSB 1st Battalion football team and Berwick Rangers at Shielfield on December 22nd. The Battalion team was on its way to Falkirk from their base at Devonport to start their Scottish tour and had stopped off at Berwick overnight. Supported by a large Military contingent in a crowd numbering about 300, the Devonport men easily outgunned the Rangers, who were unable to put their best team on the park, 6-2, with their captain and ex-Berwick Rangers player, Sergeant Frank McTeer, in the Soldiers' side playing a pivotal role. Rangers were on the back foot for most of the first half, and it came as no surprise when Brotherton opened the scoring following a corner. Berwick replied through Bryson but Brotherton scored a second for the Military. However, just before half-time Rangers forced a corner from which James Campbell levelled the score. The early stages of the second half were even, but the Borderers soon forced a third and Anderson scored a fourth with a long shot. McTeer was responsible for the fifth and, five minutes before the call of time, Whalley grabbed a sixth.

Blyth visited a cold and almost unplayable Shielfield on Christmas Eve for a return friendly. Blyth scored early in their 1-0 victory against a disappointing Rangers side, who were forced to field five substitutes.

A Tom Makin's goal just before the call of time snatched the honours for Berwick in an evenly contested Boxing Day encounter against visiting Bill Quay Albion from Newcastle.

January

A New Year fixture with Edinburgh Caledonia was arranged with a view to getting the home team into condition for the approaching Senior Cup match versus Rendle. However, the game proved a wasted afternoon as far as play was concerned as Rangers won 4-0 in a fixture that had obviously fallen too close to Old Year's Night!

The following day, a Rangers scratch team played Edinburgh Hanover, a young eleven who were at the top of the Edinburgh Junior League, on a snow covered Shielfield. Hanover opened well, playing some neat football, especially down the left; however, their attack was short-lived. Berwick upped their game, and James Campbell opened the scoring after fine work by Bryson. A beautifully weighted pass from the centre let Bryson away to score and, five minutes, later he added a third. Rangers dominated the second half and were in Hanover's half for a full fifteen minutes but could not add to the score. Hanover seldom threatened, but when they did, Rangers took matters coolly.

Berwick town was caught under severe arctic conditions, making the local football grounds, and the scheduled Rendle cup-tie, unplayable. The following week Rangers travelled to Newcastle to play the Science & Art under wretched conditions. The state of the ground shattered any hope of skilful play as Rangers lost by a single goal in a rather dull encounter. There was no scoring in the first half. Early in the second half, the Students, who had strengthened their side considerably since the last meeting between the two teams, opened the scoring. They were then hemmed back for the remainder of the game as Berwick pressed and were extremely unlucky not to level matters.

The long-awaited Northumberland Senior Cup tie against Rendle eventually took place at Shielfield in front of a large crowd on January 21st. For some reason or other Rendle turned up 30 minutes late, but the game was soon started. The heavy and greasy ground soon told on the Rangers as they defended up the hill, and it came as no surprise when Rendle took the lead after only twenty minutes' play. With Rangers holding their superior opponents to just a one-goal lead at half-time, it was hoped that they would fare better with the wind and hill to their advantage after the interval. However, the crowd was soon disappointed when the advancing keeper, Hope, was beaten to the ball and Berwick quickly found themselves two goals down. The sinking hopes of the home team were raised, however, when Wallace was lucky enough to prod home a loose ball in a crowded goalmouth. Berwick's attacks then became more frequent after this and Bryson twice went close. However, a flash from Rendle's forwards added another goal to their tally and, four minutes later, the game was totally lost when Rhind accidentally scored their fourth whilst attempting to clear. Bryson pulled another goal back as Berwick put up a fight, but another defensive mistake as darkness fell gave Rendle a fifth to put Rangers out of the cup.

Out of the cup at the first hurdle, Rangers suffered a further blow when full-back Jack Hastie announced that he was leaving the club to join up with ex-team mate Alex Black, who had left during the summer months, at Barnsley.

February

Back to playing friendlies, Rupert King took the place of Hastie at the back when Duns visited Shielfield. The visitors attacked from the start and scored when Hope failed to hold a low shot. Duns fully deserved their one goal interval lead, but Rangers stormed back on the restart. Campbell hit the crossbar early on as Duns were outclassed at the back, with only the heroics of Wilson keeping their goal intact. However, Rhind equalised midway through the half, from a perfectly placed Bryson corner and the award of a last-minute penalty finally won the day for Berwick. Rhind, as captain, elected to take the shot himself and, in the true spirit of being captain, he slotted home to secure victory.

On 17th February, an extraordinary meeting was held in the club's headquarters at the King's Head in Church Street, Berwick. The meeting was to decide whether the club should continue to have its headquarters on licensed premises. The feeling of the meeting was tested, and it was agreed that the club should leave the King's Head and take up residence in the Masonic Hall further up the road. This was on the understanding that the matter should be reconsidered at the end of the current season.

A large crowd turned out to witness the visit of Edinburgh University. At kick-off time, Rangers lined up with only nine players, and two substitutes had to be found. Local opinion did not favour Rangers chances greatly, as the University were known to be a powerful force, but Berwick struggled through the first half gallantly to finish 4-1 down. Bryson scored the only home goal from a Murphy centre. However, the second half produced the best football seen at Shielfield for a long time as Rangers piled on the pressure and dazzled the Students. Murphy struck the upright with a rattling shot, and minutes later Bryson headed against the crossbar. The score was reduced on the hour when James Campbell netted, but Rangers did not rest on their laurels, nor did they slacken pace and, with five minutes remaining, Campbell scored his second to reduce the lead to a single goal. Straight from the kick-off Rangers attacked, and before their opponents had time to recover, Wallace made it four-all with a deserved equalising goal.

March

The second visit of the season by North Eastern on was played in front of a very sparse crowd. The North Eastern could not confirm their ability to fulfil the fixture, due to being heavily involved with cup-ties. It left little time for local advertising, and it was a mere handful of the curious that found their way to Shielfield. Colin Campbell opened the scoring with an assisted shot in the fifth minute of a game dominated by a strong westerly wind. Five minutes later Wallace headed Berwick further ahead and later doubled his tally when the visiting keeper kicked his net-bound header over the line in his attempt to clear. In the second half, the visitors attacked strongly with Hope in the Berwick goal the busiest man on the field, but only one goal was scored against him.

The players' minds must have been elsewhere when Rangers travelled to Rosehill to meet Willington Athletic, as they were trounced 7-0. The teams crossed over with the score at 1-0, but Willington had all the second half play and won with ease.

April

Rangers were due to travel to Sunderland on the last Saturday of the English football season, but the Sunderland "A" team cancelled the fixture as they were due to play a Charity Cup semi-final tie that day, leaving Berwick with an empty date. Broomhill Rovers filled in the void with a return friendly with a story of its own. Broomhill were due to play the return in February, but the Miners decided to take medical advice and called off the game because of an outbreak of smallpox in the Berwick Workhouse. This ingenious excuse got them out of the fixture, which would have proved a financial loss. However, Rangers reported the matter to the Northumberland Football Association, and the Association ruled that for their fear of smallpox Broomhill would pay Berwick Rangers £2 or meet them at Berwick at a given date. With the match arranged at short notice a comparatively small gate was expected at Shielfield and for the sake of convenience the venue was switched to the Stanks. Berwick played a light team but was sufficient for the task. Rangers opened the scoring within seconds of the start through Grieve. Redfearn dropped in the second goal for the home side and Murphy scored the third before half-time. In the second period, there was little interest, and play was entirely one sided. James Campbell shot the fourth from midfield, and Wallace slipped the fifth under the bar. Rhind scored the sixth, and towards the close Redfearn registered number seven.

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Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Sep 3 F H Heaton Rovers W 6-1
10 F H Willington Athletic L 1-4
24 F H Science & Art W 3-0
Oct 1 F H North Eastern W 4-1
8 F A Blyth L 0-3
15 F H KOSB Depot W 6-0
22 F A Duns D 1-1
29 F H Newcastle East End A L 1-5
Nov 12 F H Newcastle Trafalgar W 1-0
26 F H North Eastern L 2-3
Dec 10 F H Sunderland A L 1-2
17 F A Broomhill Rovers W 4-1
22 F H KOSB 1st Battalion L 2-6
24 F H Blyth L 0-1
26 F H Bill Quay Albion W 2-1
Jan 2 F H Edinburgh Caledonia W 4-0
3 F H Edinburgh Hanover W 3-0
14 F A Science & Art L 0-1
21 NSC 1 H Rendle L 2-5
Feb 11 F H Duns W 2-1
25 F H Edinburgh University D 4-4
Mar 4 F H North Eastern W 3-1
18 F A Willington Athletic L 0-7
Apr 29 F H Broomhill Rovers W 7-0
Appearances & Goals
F NSC
Player A G A G
William Attridge 1
Alex Black 1
George Bryson 17 10 1 1
Colin Campbell 5 3 1
James Campbell 8 4
Jimmy Grieve 4 1
James Hastie 13 1
Tom Hope 16 1
Rupert King 3
William Mackie 1
Tom Mackins 14 3 1
Alex Manuel 8
James Manuel 9 5 1
John Manuel 11 2 1
William McFarlane 12 3 1
Charles McGuire 1
Andrew Middlemiss 1
Richard Murphy 15 7 1
William Redfearn 2 2
John Renwick 2 1
Robert Rhind 16 3 1
James Robison 2 1
Richard Simpson 3
William Slack 1
Richard Tait 4
Andrew Wallace 13 5 1 1
Edward Whiteside 1
Own goal 1
Number of players used: 27