Results

1901/02: Another League

The annual general meeting of the Berwick Rangers Football Club was held on Wednesday, August 21st. After an extremely hard struggle the previous season and against heavy odds, Berwick Rangers had evidently taken a new lease of life. The meeting, held in the Welcome Restaurant near the Scotsgate, was one of the biggest football meetings on record in the borough. The secretary's report was read and adopted, and the treasurer's report showed a balance of £3 0s 3d in hand. Office bearers and a new committee were elected with several old players re-joining, including Tom Cochrane, Bob Rhind, and George Bryson.

An acquisition to the committee, this year, was David Redpath, who was well known in Border sporting circles, and it was hoped that his influence would go a long way to help the club. It was revealed at the meeting that new negotiations to lease the Union Park, behind the Union Hotel, had this year been successful. Robert Marshall of Tweedmouth Town Farm had become the new owner of the field and, due to his close ties with the club, an agreement was amicably made. The field was only a five-minute walk from the High Street and of a size that, with a little bit of groundwork, would enable the club to take their proper place in football circles, not only in the borough, but beyond.

In September, a meeting took place at Berwick between representatives from Border clubs with a view to forming a league. Representatives were present from Kelso, Duns, Coldstream, Tweedside Albion and Berwick Rangers. After some discussion, a vote was taken and agreed that a league, to be known as the Border League, would be formed. A committee was chosen from the representatives of each club present, and it was moved and seconded that the KOSB Depot team be asked to join to make up the numbers. Tweedside Albion, the present holders of the Shielfield Cup, handed over the trophy to the committee to be renamed the Border League Cup and played for by the clubs forming the league. The committee later added a collection of silver medals for the winners.

September

A friendly encounter with Cumledge Mill was the first match to be played on the Union Park, but it was no cause for celebration as the visitors won 3-1.

October

Berwick opened their Border League campaign with a 3-0 reverse at Home Park. Rangers had the better of the opening exchanges but could not breakdown a solid Coldstream defence and paid the penalty for their missed opportunity when the home side started the second half with all guns blazing. Brydon quickly notched the first and Smith added a second a few minutes later with a superb 20-yard shot. Berwick were now a beaten team and could make little headway against the rampant Streamers, and it came as no surprise when John Wilson added a third just before time ran out.

Rangers secured their first league point with a creditable 2-2 draw against Tweedside Albion. Rangers opened brightly and scored twice inside the first ten minutes. Both goals were largely due to Bryson, who scored the first before turning provider for Brown to net the second. However, the Tweedsiders upped their game and Drysdale reduced the arrears before the game was stopped due to a violent rainstorm. When the game resumed the underfoot conditions were not ideal, but Albion fared best, and Weatherburn levelled the score just before half-time. After the change of ends, the Tweedsiders continued to hold the upper hand with Straffen and Weatherburn going close. However, Rangers defended well and, at the close of play, a draw was a fair result.

Alnwick Percy Rovers were admitted to the Border League, along with Eyemouth, on condition that playing arrangements could be made with Duns. In a friendly match arranged to fill in the gaps in their playing calendar, until an agreement had been reached, Rovers defeated Berwick 3-2 at Alnwick.

Rangers edged out Coldstream in a high scoring match by five goals to four to register their first league victory after which a protest was lodged by the Coldstream side, with reference to the marking off of the pitch, amongst other items.

November

Gateshead NER sent their full Alliance team to the Union Park and the local football enthusiasts were calculating by how many goals Rangers would be beaten. From the kick-off, Gateshead pressurised the home defence, but Rangers gave as much as they got and scored a goal in each half. At two goals down, Gateshead warmed up to the task ahead, but a solid performance by the home rearguard kept them from having a direct shot at goal and the game ended 2-0 in Berwick's favour, much to the surprise of the locals.

Rangers kept up their form to gain their first countable victory in the Border League with a 3-1 win at Duns. It was another good all-round team performance, especially the half-backs Brown and Bryson, who shone throughout.

Amble Blue Star and Berwick Rangers should have met at Amble in the first round of the Northumberland FA Minor Cup on November 23rd. Both teams took to the field, but the appointed referee, Mr Ackroyd, of Alnwick, failed to appear. The teams could not agree to anyone else on the field taking charge and the cup-tie was abandoned in favour of a friendly. This robbed the game of its interest. The result was a 3-0 win for Berwick.

By the end of November, no firm decisions had yet been taken on Percy Rovers' Border League status and the Alnwick team travelled to the Union Park where a keenly contested match ended a goal apiece.

December

Berwick returned to Amble to play their cup-tie against Blue Star on December 7th. At the time fixed for kick-off, the referee, Mr Elliot, of Morpeth, had not arrived, so both captains agreed to Mr Donaldson, from Amble, as interim referee. Rangers attacked strongly from the start with Dixon netting the ball from a left-wing pass in the first minute of the game. After a brief spell of Amble pressure, Rangers got into their stride again, and a quick run down the field ended with Murphy scoring a second goal. From the restart, Rangers forced a corner. Murphy took the kick and placed well for Dixon to score number three. At this point, the official referee arrived on the field and took charge of the game. Play resumed with Rangers on the attack and just before the interval Campbell scored a fourth with well-struck shot. As was to be expected with the change of ends, Amble, with the wind at their backs, came more into the game and were unlucky to see a goal disallowed for offside. After this, however, Rangers took up the running and Brodie was unlucky to be ruled offside after scoring a clever goal. A few minutes later, Amble scored a legitimate goal, but the referee, who was unsighted, gave a goal kick. Rangers then held the play until the finish with Bryson and Dixon, who completed his hat trick, adding further goals to put Berwick in the next round with a 6-0 victory.

In the draw for the second round of the Northumberland Minor Cup, Rangers faced Tweedside Albion, who had home advantage, and the match at Shielfield attracted a bumper crowd in anticipation of a rip-roaring cup-tie. Albion opened the game with the elements in their favour but failed to take their chances due to some wild finishing. Berwick, on the other hand, cashed in with their only real chance of the half when Bryson side-footed the ball home from close range. The second half started with Rangers on the attack, and Brodie scored their second after only three minutes' play. Dixon added a third shortly after, which took the wind from the Tweedsiders sails. However, Eddie Hope managed to give his team the credit of scoring against their rivals when he scored by far the best goal of the afternoon with a ripping shot after a solo run close on the final whistle. Tweedside Albion lodged a protest after the match against Rangers playing Thomas Leddy, who being a soldier, was not always a resident of the town. The cup committee later threw out the protest, as he was eligible so long as his home was in Berwick.

Berwick Rangers and Tweedside Albion met again in a Christmas Day friendly at the Union Park where the festive battle ended in stalemate at one goal apiece.

January

A fine 5-3 New Year's Day victory over Alnwick Percy Rovers gave the Rangers two league points and a welcome confidence boost before their third round Northumberland Minor Cup tie against the same opponents on January 11th.

Rangers had home advantage over Alnwick Percy Rovers for the second time in as many weeks, and a large crowd had gathered at Union Park in the hope of a repeat scoreline, but they were in for a surprise. Berwick had a slight advantage to begin with, in a match with not much football in it, going close to scoring on several occasions and hitting the woodwork once. However, Alnwick took a first half lead when Stevenson netted just before the interval. The second half began hard and fast with the visitors keeping the Berwickers on the back foot. It took Rangers until the final minutes to find the breakthrough when Murphy, much to Alnwick's surprise, placed the ball into the net for an undeserved draw.

Rangers played a better game in the replay a week later but were beaten 4-1. Rovers took a deserved lead on 10 minutes through John Brown. Berwick fought back and Dixon equalised before Wood notched a second for the Alnwick men a few minutes before half-time. In the second half, Rangers played with more determination, but failed to beat the home keeper. Wood scored a third for the Rovers when Hastie, who injured himself in the process, miskicked in front of goal. Berwick were forced to play on a man short as Rovers returned to the attack and Young booked their semi-final place when he notched a late fourth.

After their cup exploits, it was back to league business and the visit of Eyemouth United, who put up a determined fight to hold Rangers to a 3-3 draw.

February

For the visit of league leaders Tweedside Albion, Rangers were without Hastie, Townsley, Murphy and Bell, but it was still no excuse for such a poor performance as the Tweedsiders played the Berwickers off the field. Against the wind, Albion scored twice, and with the wind they did as they liked as far as play was concerned, with only the goalkeeping of Patterson keeping the score at four without reply.

Things went from bad to worse when Rangers travelled to Kelso. After sailing into a 3-0 advantage, they were pegged back to a slender 4-3 half-time lead. Twice Kelso fought back to level the score in the second half before a late goal by Sanderson sealed a 6-5 victory for the home side.

Berwick Rangers' claim to be the oldest established club in the district and now 21 years in existence (sic) (read page) was to be celebrated with a special match. As it was an exhibition match played between two teams from either side of the border that led to the formation of Berwick Rangers Football Club, it was thought fitting that another exhibition match between a Scottish and English club should mark the occasion. The club committee persuaded Celtic and Newcastle United to play at Berwick, to mark the occasion, and raise some much-needed funds. A guarantee of £40 was quickly raised, and a date of Thursday March 13th was agreed between the clubs. Berwick Cricket Club offered the use of the centre of their field for the occasion and the nets placed east to west due make use of most level ground. A grandstand was erected along with a huge enclosure surrounded by canvas. The large home contingent in the crowd that numbered between two and three thousand favoured Newcastle United, but it was Celtic who showed how the game should be played and deservedly won 4-1. The Celtic team, as winners, were presented with tins of Berwick Cockles by Messrs P Cowe and Son, makers of the famous sweets. The total receipts for the match amounted to £70 3s, but the expenses ran to £72 13s 10d. It might not have been a money-making venture, but it certainly rekindled footballing enthusiasm within the borough.

March

Celebrations over, it was back to league business and a visit to Alnwick to take on the Percy Rovers. The home side forced the early pace, but splendid defensive work by Hastie and Renwick soon turned the tide in Berwick's favour and Wood was called upon three or four times in succession to keep the Rangers out. It was nearing half-time before the deadlock was finally broken when Hastie, with a long, powerful drive, saw his shot rebound of a Rovers' defender to the feet of Brodie, who made no mistake with a hard shot that Wood could not hold. However, Rovers had the better of the second half exchanges, levelling the score when Curnick gave Brown no earthly chance with a well-struck shot following a corner, and with only a few minutes remaining they secured both points when Young scored a second goal following a goalmouth melee.

April

Rangers made sure of the points at Eyemouth United with a fine 3-2 victory against the Fishermen.

At a meeting of the Border League Committee it was decided that the match played between Berwick Rangers and Coldstream on October 26th, should be replayed after a protest was lodged by the Coldstream side due to the marking off of the pitch amongst other things. Coldstream were ordered to repay the expenses incurred by the committee of the Berwick club. However, the re-match did not do Coldstream any favours, as Rangers won by the larger margin of 5-2.

No one expected Rangers to suffer at the hands of Duns considering the team they fielded. At half-time, Duns were leading 3-1 after the Berwickers gave a disjointed display. However, Rangers had evidently reserved their effort for the second half as they pressed Duns throughout. Turnbull added a second goal to his and Berwick's tally, but it was not enough as Duns held on to win 3-2.

May

An evening match was played at Shielfield on Thursday, May 1st, between Tweedside Albion and Berwick Rangers in aid of the Ibrox Disaster Relief Fund. A fair attendance of spectators turned out to watch a well-contested draw and a considerable amount of money was raised for the cause.

Rangers played their last remaining Border League fixture against Kelso at The Stanks with an evening kick-off on May 3rd. The pace of the game was fast throughout with Berwick scoring the only goal of the game to secure the last remaining points of a disappointing league campaign. Supporters had expected a better finish than middle of the table and the fact that Tweedside Albion, their rivals, had won the championship was hard to bear.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Sep 28 F H Cumledge Mill L 1-3
Oct 5 BL A Coldstream L 0-3
12 BL H Tweedside Albion D 2-2
19 F A Alnwick Percy Rovers L 2-3
26 BL H Coldstream W 5-4
Nov 9 F H Gateshead NER W 2-0
16 BL A Duns W 3-1
23 F A Amble Blue Star W 3-0
30 F H Alnwick Percy Rovers D 1-1
Dec 7 NMC 1 A Amble Blue Star W 6-0
14 NMC 2 A Tweedside Albion W 3-1
25 F H Tweedside Albion D 1-1
Jan 1 BL H Alnwick Percy Rovers W 5-3
11 NMC 3 H Alnwick Percy Rovers D 1-1
18 NMC 3R A Alnwick Percy Rovers A 1-4
25 BL H Eyemouth United D 3-3
Feb 1 BL A Tweedside Albion L 0-4
22 BL A Kelso L 5-6
Mar 22 BL A Alnwick Percy Rovers L 1-2
Apr 5 BL A Eyemouth United W 3-2
12 BL H Coldstream W 5-2
26 BL H Duns L 2-3
May 1 F A Tweedside Albion D 1-1
3 BL H Kelso W 1-0

Border League

Home Away
Pld W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1 Tweedside Albion 12 6 0 0 40 2 4 1 1 21 10 21
2 Alnwick Percy Rovers 12 4 1 1 22 8 1 3 2 14 23 14
3 Kelso 12 5 1 0 31 9 1 0 5 4 22 13
4 Berwick Rangers 12 3 2 1 18 13 2 0 4 12 18 12
5 Duns 12 3 1 2 17 13 2 1 3 12 16 12
6 Eyemouth United 12 2 1 3 15 15 0 2 4 6 25 7
7 Coldstream 12 2 1 3 9 16 0 0 6 7 38 5
Appearances & Goals
F BL NMC
Player A G A G A G
Andrew Bell 2   1   4
John Binnie 1
Tom Brodie 3 1 4 1
William Brown 6 1 4
George Bryson 2 6 1 4 2
James Campbell 2 3 1 1
Robert Cousins 2 1
George Dixon 2 6 4 5
Robert Dodds 4 2
Philip Hastie 2 4 4
Thomas Leddy 1
John Maughan 3
Richard Murphy 2 4 4 2
James Ord 2 6 4
George Patterson 2 5 4
John Renwick 5 3
Tommy Smith 1 4
Moses Townsley 1 3 1
Robert Turnbull 1 2 2
Own goal 1
Number of players used: 19