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1908/09: A League Too Many

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After a disappointing season, combined with poor attendances at Shielfield, calls were made by supporters for a return to Union Park, which was considered the best central field in the borough. The loss of the Union Park was not only a disaster to Berwick Rangers, but also a blow to local football supporters in general. Negotiations took place with a view to leasing Union Park for the new season but, due to the limited timescale, it was agreed to take Shielfield for the same rent as before with the first few matches, at least, to be played there.

A special meeting was held to amend the club's constitution. It was agreed that the first team would be chosen from the best players in the district and that they and the immediate reserves be exempt from paying subscriptions before being entitled to play. However, the players of the second eleven and Thursday teams would continue to be paying members. All subscriptions due were to be paid before October 1st. Records of each match played, and records of local players in the first team, were to be recorded. Gate money taken or guarantee received to be recorded, and estimates received for all work for the club above the sum of £2.

A new committee was elected with David Redpath continuing as secretary and John Lough now having the challenge of the purse strings. Mr. Lough revealed that the club lost heavily due to too long a lapse between games in the middle of last season and that a return to Union Park, combined with competitive league matches, would hopefully clear the £53 2s 3d debt.

It was agreed to retain membership of the Scottish, East of Scotland, and Border associations, as it would allow the club to compete in the Qualifying and Consolation cups of both the SFA and ESFA, along with the King and the Border cups.

The club agreed to enter teams in both the Border Amateur League and the Scottish Border Counties FA Border League, although concerns were raised about too many games being played. The Border Amateur League had settled their differences with the Rangers entering their first team in the competition, and it was hoped that the games would be better supported by adding more "local character" amongst the competing teams. The SBCFA Border League was composed of the senior clubs in the Borders except for Peebles Rovers, but meant the expense of travelling being adding to the club's already heavy debt.

August

The playing season opened with a friendly encounter at Shielfield against newly formed Gala Fairydean, in front of a moderate turnout of supporters on August 22nd. The game started with Gala making the pace and, for a short while, the home defence was under pressure. Rangers gradually gained the upper hand, and towards the end of the half they opened a two-goal lead through Redfearn and Ross. Drysdale and Ross both went close at the start of the second half and Robertson grazed the bar. Ross increased Berwick's lead to three with a "doubtful" goal before Drysdale and Redfearn completed the 5-0 rout after a spell of sustained pressure.

The visit of Peebles Rovers, in the first round of the ESFA Qualifying Cup, was the first match to be played on the club's return to Union Park. Peebles opened in determined fashion and, in the first few minutes, Poulton was forced to make several fine saves. Rangers fought back and were thrice unlucky when Scobie, Burn and Redfearn failed to convert their chances. However, Rangers eventually succeeded when Burgon headed home from inside a packed goalmouth to give them a deserved half-time lead. On the restart, Rangers forced matters. McLean brought down Scobie, who looked like getting through, and a penalty was awarded. Burn was entrusted with the kick but shot straight at McPherson and sent the rebound inches wide. Then Peebles hit back with two goals in as many minutes. First Porteous eluded the home defence and scored with a shot that went in off the upright, before a superb move by Millar gave Taylor the opening of which he took full advantage. Rangers fought hard to equalise, with Scobie going the closest in the final minute, but they could not break through the visitor's defence.

September

Rangers were drawn at home against Selkirk in the first round of the competition and this time lady luck was on Berwick's side. The wind, blowing hurricane style straight down the pitch, was the main factor of the game. Rangers failed to take advantage of the wind in the first half and, although they held a comfortable 3-0 lead at the interval, they were forced to hang on in the second. Robertson placed nicely into the goalmouth for Bell to open the scoring, and three minutes later Burn added a second. It then seemed as if the scoring was over as the Selkirk defence stood firm, but in the final minute of the half Redfearn scored with a spectacular 30-yarder. Rangers started the second period in a determined manner despite the wind and were unlucky when Burn, with a good solo effort, hit the woodwork and Scobie missed narrowly with the rebound. However, Selkirk used the wind to good effect when their keeper kicked long down the field and Lockie, on the receiving end, scored with a hard and fast shot. Rangers counterattacked, but they were caught for a second time by a long wind assisted effort by Lockie, and their lead was down to one with fifteen minutes remaining. The final quarter was a very tense affair. Kerr almost equalised for the visitors with two minutes to go as both teams battled hard, but Rangers held on to reach the second round.

Berwick Rangers opened their Border Amateur League campaign with a match against Chirnside United at Union Park, and there looked little doubt as to the destination of the trophy if Rangers were to play their first team in the competition throughout the season. Rangers had Hope, Burgon and Drysdale on the injured list and played reserves Bradford and Piercy in defence with Dixon taking Drysdale's place in the front line. After the usual preliminary bouts, Berwick took an early lead after Bell, who was through on his own, was brought down in the penalty box, and Redfearn scored from the spot. A short-lived Chirnside attack was halted when Burn netted from a Scobie centre. Bell put Rangers further ahead with a low shot a few minutes later. A second penalty came Rangers' way after Gray handled on the line and this time Alex Hope was entrusted with the kick; Johnston cleared, but from the corner conceded Burn scored a fourth. Hope atoned for his miss when he scored the fifth just before half-time. Disastrous as the first half had been for Chirnside, the opening stages of the second promised much of the same. Within five minutes of the restart, another three goals were scored through Alex Hope and two from Redfearn. Eight goals to nil with 40 minutes remaining it looked anything but rosy for Chirnside. Although totally outclassed they played up gamely and despite going further behind, courtesy of another goal by Bell, they were rewarded with two late goals through Dryburn and W Brown. However, Rangers had the final say in proceedings when Bell completed his hat trick with the tenth and final goal.

Another "cricket score" was registered at Union Park when local junior side Berwick Rovers filled an empty date. It was billed as a "friendly" although played as anything but. Some of last season's juniors had a point to prove against those who had stepped up to the Rangers' ranks, and some rough play was evident from beginning to end. Rovers had set up a stubborn defence and only trailed 3-1 at half-time, but the goals came thick and fast after the interval with the final score being 9-3 to the Rangers.

Rangers got a little of their own back when they ousted fancied Peebles Rovers in the second round of the Scottish FA Qualifying Cup, in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. The game opened in typical cup-tie fashion with end-to-end exchanges. Then a neat pass by Redfearn gave Scobie possession and, despite close attention from the visiting defence, he sent in a fine pass across the goalmouth from which Burn opened the scoring. Peebles then pressed hard and doubled their efforts as the interval fast approached. With only a minute of the half remaining, Poulton, in trying to clear his lines, hit his clearance against the inrushing Reid and the rebound, despite the keeper's efforts, ended up in the net. Berwick started the second half on the attack and went close on several occasions. However, they were let off the hook when Porteous got behind the defence but hesitated with only Poulton to beat and, luckily, Burgon got back just in time to clear off the line. Later, a slick move down the right ended with Burn sending in a hard shot that rebounded into the path of Scobie, who coolly netted. Peebles tried hard for another leveller and Reid grazed the crossbar with a rasping shot, but Rangers held on for a deserved victory to gain their revenge.

October

Berwick's third round opponents were Scottish Football League Division 2 side Vale of Leven, who had an offer of £20 to give up home advantage turned down by the Rangers' committee. At a sun-drenched Union Park, Berwick were as determined as their more famous opponents to make a bid for the Scottish Cup proper and the consequence was a hard fought match where both players and spectators alike felt the unusual October heat. Even before the game, Rangers' chances of victory were classed as slim, but the non-appearance of Robertson made matters worse. The injured Drysdale was quickly recalled to the side with Burn taking Robertson's place at the back. Vale's establishment of a two-goal lead in the first ten minutes forecast nothing else but an away victory, but through sheer hard work and determination Berwick drew level and were unlucky not to have won. From Rangers' opening attack, Howatt moved play to the Berwick end where Stirling scored with a shot that struck an upright before glancing into the net. A few minutes later O'Brien put Vale two ahead after a melee in the goalmouth. Rangers retaliated with dogged determination and Scobie soon reduced the lead. Berwick now had the pull over their opponents, who began to use spoiling tactics as a form of defence. Scobie forced a corner, and in his eagerness, Burn left his position at the back to help the cause. He headed Scobie's kick toward goal, but it was fisted out, and Doggart headed over. From the goal kick, Burn received and returned a long ball for Doggart to level the score. Vale fought back, and several large sighs of relief were heard from the spectators before the interval arrived. After a short-lived Berwick attack on the restart, Vale threatened disaster as shots from Stirling, Moore and Howatt cannoned against some player or other. Alex Hope relieved the anxiety by letting Scobie away to beat the keeper only to see his shot rebound off the woodwork and back into play. Rangers were having slightly the better of exchanges, but time ran out, and the final whistle was greeted with near silence with the unanimous opinion of the crowd being that a 2-1 Berwick victory would have better represented play than the 2-2 draw.

It was without question that Vale of Leven had got more than they bargained from a stubborn Rangers team at Union Park and the replay at Milburn Park, Alexandria, watched by fully 2000 spectators, turned out to be another classic encounter. Rangers gave a surprisingly good display and on play alone did not deserve to be beaten by three clear goals. In the fourth minute, Doggart, with a clever piece of work slipped behind the Vale defence but failed to beat the keeper in a one-on-one. Three minutes later Vale took the lead when O'Brien beat Poulton with a 12-yard shot. Vale attacked with force, but Rangers kept them out and occasionally pressed, with Scobie always dangerous down the left. A few minutes before half-time, however, Vale broke through, and McCallum extended their lead. Patterson received a nasty injury at the start of the second half, forcing Berwick to play the remainder of the game with only ten men. Despite this, they gave a plucky display with Scobie grazing an upright with a fierce shot during an evenly contested half. However, with only three minutes remaining McCallum broke through again, beating defence and keeper, to put the game beyond the Rangers with his second and Vale's third of the match. Although defeated, Berwick's display was considered good value for money and a deserved share of the £32 gate.

Rangers returned from Ettrick Park with a slender victory despite fielding a below strength side. In the 10th minute Selkirk were awarded a penalty, against Robertson, from which S. Douglas scored. Two minutes later, however, Rangers were level when Drysdale headed home a well-placed corner kick, and for a considerable time after they hemmed the Soutars in their own half. After the interval, Selkirk had the lion's share of possession but failed to convert their chances. They were made to pay in the 70th minute when Redfearn gave Rangers the lead against the run of play and despite Selkirk forcing five corners in quick succession they could not find an equaliser.

With a considerably weaker team than their previous meeting, Rangers travelled to Chirnside in search of more league points. It took Berwick a while to get the upper hand over a stubborn home side that had the exploits of their goalie to thank for keeping the score within such a narrow margin. Bell put Rangers ahead from the penalty spot after Erswell was upended in the box and, just before the interval, Drysdale killed the game off with a well-struck shot. In the second half, it was a case of going through the motions for Berwick, but they did enough to keep Chirnside at bay and the scoreline intact.

Berwick's townsfolk, who crowded around the Advertiser office to hear the score of the Duns-Berwick Rangers Amateur League match, were left in shock horror when the telegram announcing the result was read: Duns 9 Berwick Rangers 5. It seemed so dubious that nobody was convinced of the result until the players verified the truth of it. Word came from Duns that the score was a fair reflection of the game, but on the word of the Rangers' players, at least three of the Duns goals were illegal. One shot hit the upright before rebounding back into play, another where the keeper pushed the ball past the post and another where the keeper was at least a yard in front of his goal when he saved. Nine goals against a tried and tested defence such as Patterson and Robertson seemed rather queer, but football is a game of surprises and dubious refereeing decisions! Rangers, playing with the sun in their eyes, were a goal down in the opening minute when Forrest beat the dazzled Ferguson with ease. However, after some neat midfield work, Redfearn levelled the score. In the 15th minute, Duns regained the lead from within a wild melee on the goal line, with the referee ruling that the ball had crossed the marker. From the kick-off, Berwick again drew level through Scobie. Duns then repeated the same feat as before, but this time it took the Rangers a bit longer to level when Scobie again did the trick. A few minutes later, Rangers pushed forward, and Scobie completed his hat trick to give Berwick the lead for the first time. However, Law beat Ferguson with a long-range shot to draw level and, after Forrest had missed a penalty, McDavid scored to give Duns a 5-4 interval lead. On the restart, Duns surrounded the Berwick goal and Law put the home team two goals clear. Both teams were beginning to feel the effects of the hard and fast game and, although Rangers were having the better of exchanges, Duns scored a seventh against the run of play and the Berwickers began to lose their heads. Forrest, shortly after, registered number eight at which point all hell was let loose. Feeney tripped Patterson and the Berwicker retaliated. Players from both sides intervened to stop Patterson from striking him, but he was still not happy and punched the referee instead; how he was not sent off passed comprehension. From this point onwards, the game was a very scrappy affair. Duns notched their ninth before Drysdale pulled a goal back for Berwick in the final minute.

November

Berwick were intent on wiping off the score when the two teams met again in the second round King Cup a week later and, with an "additional interest" in the match, a larger than normal attendance at Union Park resulted in a £12 gate. Rangers fielded their strongest available eleven and many local supporters thought that the team only had to take to the field to win. However, Duns had gained several fine players from the Cumledge Mill team, and they were a far superior outfit than previous seasons, so much so that their menacing tactics in the first half was the cause of considerable anxiety in the Berwick crowd. Although Rangers had more than their fair share of possession in the first period, their play was disjointed, and Duns took advantage with Colvin scoring midway through the half. Drysdale levelled the score at the start of the second half when his shot from the left went in off the post. Duns let their heads drop and Redfearn gave Rangers the lead when he hit a Scobie cross past Paxton before Drysdale tucked away a cross from Erswell to put Berwick further ahead. With this reverse, Duns picked up their game and McDavid reduced the lead following a solo run. However, a few minutes later, Paxton fisted a long shot by John Hope into the air, and Scobie, running in, headed home to put the issue beyond doubt.

The Military, in the form of the Seaforth Highlanders, were visitors to the Union Park for a friendly on November 14th. The Soldiers turned out a heavy team, and it was soon evident that they were lacking in spring and speed, only testing the home goal once throughout the entire game. Rangers dominated the early play, scoring twice in the first twenty minutes through Richardson and Drysdale, and only poor finishing prevented them from increasing their lead before half-time. However, straight after the interval Redfearn put Berwick three goals ahead and it was game over.

Rangers showed a return to form the following week on their debut in the Border League at Ettrick Park, Selkirk, by beating the local side 5-2. Within five minutes of the start, Richardson opened the scoring with a shot that took Mills unaware. Redfearn extended Berwick's lead ten minutes later as Rangers outplayed their hosts for the first half-hour. Selkirk reduced the score through Johnston after which Rangers seemed to slacken off. Walker missed an open goal before Hall worked his way upfield to level matters with a hard shot. However, Rangers retook command and Drysdale restored Berwick's lead from a well-taken corner by Scobie five minutes from the interval. It took Rangers until the 65th minute to add to their total when a run and centre by Erswell gave Scobie the opening to score. Scobie soon added to his total when he tricked Reid before hitting a thunderous shot into the net from ten yards out. Drysdale later conceded a penalty after bringing Joyce down inside the box, but Poulton saved. Selkirk appeared to be unable to do anything right in the closing stages, and Rangers held on to claim their first league points.

Spittal Rovers were in fighting mood and ready to prove their worth when they visited Union Park for a Border Amateur League match, but Rangers drew first blood through Drysdale in less than five minutes' play. The Spittal defence was in disarray, with Roberts having a nightmare at the back. Having nearly gifted Berwick a goal on two occasions, he succeeded at the third attempt by tipping a long shot by Robertson past his own 'keeper. Later, Erswell, Robertson and Drysdale all missed chances before Richardson put Berwick three ahead shortly before the interval. The steady rain that had fallen throughout the first half turned into a downpour in the second. Spittal pressed briefly with the elements at their backs and Barth reduced the score with a shot which the veteran Tom Hope, in goal, might have saved had he been less stiff! Thereafter, Rangers monopolised play and Hope was left alone, apart from the occasional long shot. A well-placed corner by Erswell resulted in John Hope scoring with a header and late on Drysdale added a fifth to the score as the Berwickers won comfortably.

December

Rangers were a man short of their best eleven, due to John Scobie playing a trial for Hebburn Argyle against Huddersfield, for the semi-final of the King Cup at West Calder Swifts, on December 5th; Doggart took Scobie's place on the wing. The Swifts had the better of the game throughout the ninety but, time and time again, they failed to find the net. In the last minute, they finally scored, only for the referee to disallow it for some reason, and the game ended goalless.

In the replay the table was turned on the previous week's events. For the greater part of the game, there was only one team in it, with Poulton in the home goal seldom troubled. Rangers played an unchanged side, although the Swifts showed a change or two. The large crowd that gathered to witness the action were soon rewarded when Kinney pulled down Doggart in the penalty box and Redfearn converted the spot kick to put Rangers a goal up and a couple of minutes later, Richardson was on hand to net the rebound after Drysdale's shot had hit the woodwork. In the second half, Richardson hit the woodwork before unleashing a 30-yarder that took Craig unawares; the keeper stopped the initial shot, but the ball rolled through his legs and into the net. Three goals clear, Rangers slackened considerably, and the Swifts began to press. Wilson sent in a long ball that rebounded off the crossbar before Philip scored a late goal that turned out to be only a consolation, as seconds later the final whistle blew.

The future looked promising for Rangers on their return from Galashiels. On their present form, there seemed to be not much in the Border League's opposition to prevent them from claiming the top spot. The first half was very even and without a goal but after the change of ends Berwick asserted their authority, scoring four goals without reply. Richardson was responsible for the opener. Erswell finished a slick right-wing move with a perfect centre for Richardson to head home. Richardson was also responsible for Berwick's second. Doggart, in a good position, received from the right, and on seeing Richardson better placed, he unselfishly passed for Richardson to drive home. Doggart practically sealed the home side's fate with a shot well out of Hewitson's reach and he was on target again before the end. On receiving from John Hope, he manoeuvred for position before letting go with a right-footer to put the final nail in Gala's coffin.

A heavy fall of snow in Berwick threatened the Christmas Day friendly against the Edinburgh Civil Service team. Alderman Marshall kindly placed his horses at the committee's disposal, and the ground was eventually cleared. A large crowd graced the barriers at kick-off time but left clearly disappointed at the end. The game from a footballing point of view was a good one. The home team, however, gave a below par performance and the game, with nothing at stake, was devoid of any real interest. Rangers had the measure of their opponents in the open but, when it came to close quarters, they lacked the cutting edge and were beaten 3-0. Berwick were a goal down after only 10 minutes when Poulton saved Michelbacher's shot but not his rebound. In the second half, Poulton was again called into action. He raced out to meet Black but could only deflect his shot and the front man raced round him and slotted home. Black was also involved in the final goal when he combined nicely with Dixon, who banged in number three with only a few minutes remaining.

Duns sustained their first Amateur League defeat of the season when Rangers beat them by 3-1 in a well-contested Boxing Day encounter. Duns were put under early pressure and conceded a penalty when Alex Hope was upended in the box. Hope took the kick and sent Paxton the wrong way. Duns responded and, after good work down the left, Forrest levelled with a stunning 30-yard shot. After a spell of visitor pressure, Craig headed Rangers back into the lead from a Redfearn cross and a few minutes later he cleverly diverted a fast centre by Richardson into the net to give Berwick a comfortable interval lead. Duns were mostly on the defensive after the break, but Berwick seemed content with their goal haul and keen to play time out on such a heavy pitch.

January

The wretched state of the Union Park pitch, after the recent snowstorms, was mainly responsible for the small New Year's Day attendance who turned out to watch a friendly against Leith  Amateurs.   Berwick played a weakened

team with Alex Hope swapping places with Poulton in goal. For the opening 15 minutes, the Amateurs had the better of exchanges with Hope called into action onseveral occasions to clear the danger. Rangers began to gain a foothold but Black beat Hope to put Leith ahead. Berwick equalised when Doggart centred from the left andRichardson played it on for Burn to net, but two minutes later Anderson put the Amateurs back in front. After the change of ends, Alex Hope moved out to left half, with Burgon taking the place of Poulton, who took his usual place in goal. However, Leith extended their lead against the run of play when Poulton, in charging down a long ball, hit it against the advancing Anderson and the ball bounced over him and into the net. Patterson and Doggart both went close as Berwick continued to attack and Erswell struck the post in the last minute, but Leith held on.

Due to Vale of Leithen scratching in the first round of the SFA Consolation Cup, a Border League fixture with Gala Fairydean was arranged for Union Park on January 2nd. However, the Gala team failed to appear due their objection to the referee, Mr. Fairgrieve of Leith, and on the understanding that the ground was unplayable. The ground, although in a muddy condition, was in just as playable condition as their ground a few weeks earlier and, after a 20-minute wait, the spectators were given their money back. A scratch team was picked to play the Rangers so as not to disappoint those who stayed, and Berwick later claimed the statutory 25 shillings out of pocket expenses for Gala's non-appearance. The match eventually took place on January 9th. Rangers took a three-goal lead early the first half. John Hope opened the scoring with a low shot after ten minutes. From the kick-off, Redfearn put Drysdale through to score before Alex Hope got his name on the scoresheet with a follow-up after Hewitson had parried his original shot. However, Berwick sat back, and Gala pulled a goal back through Herd. Rangers were now on the back foot. Patterson charged Thompson off the ball, and a penalty was awarded. Luckily, Nicoll shot straight at Poulton, and the score remained the same. A minute later, Piercy gave Gala another penalty with a bear-faced trip. Herd took the kick this time and again Poulton saved. Two minutes from the interval, Redfearn put Berwick further ahead before a Gala attack put Burgon under pressure, and he headed into his own net. After the interval, an early Gala raid saw Mabon scoring with a shot that went straight through the keeper's legs and everybody thought an equaliser was sure to come. Nicoll had the perfect chance but blasted another spot kick yards wide as the poor finishing by the visitors let Rangers kept their unbeaten league start intact.

Peebles Rovers and Berwick Rangers met in a cup competition for the third time this season on January 23rd. Union Park, although frost-bound, was in good condition, and both teams set out to play passing football. Berwick gave a surprising display, after the indifferent form shown by them during the last month and took up the running from the start. John Hope was unlucky to see his early shot skim the crossbar and Rovers had their chances too, but the scoresheet remained blank at the interval. Peebles started the second half in all-out attack and Rangers had to defend en masse to keep them out. A quick break upfield, after a long Burgon clearance on the 18-yard line, let Drysdale away, and he quickly rounded the last defender before giving McPherson no chance with a shot that reached the far corner of the net. Foolish play by Burn left Porteous with an open goal but he sent his shot over the bar. Rangers returned the attack, and from a melee in the goalmouth, Scobie beat McPherson with a low shot to put the home side two ahead. Berwick were unlucky not to increase the score on two more occasions; first Scobie beat McPherson, who had rushed out to challenge him, but his shot missed by inches, and a few minutes late he beat the keeper again only to see his shot this time cleared off the line by Anderson. In the closing stages, Peebles redoubled their efforts, but it was too little too late.

February

A fourth meeting saw Rangers and Peebles meet in the King Cup Final at Hawthorn Park, Duns. Between five and six hundred supporters made their way to the railway station, to catch the three-penny special to Duns. Peebles showed two changes from their previous encounter with the Rangers, with "borrowed" players McMorran (3rd Lanark) and Higgins (Hamilton Academical) displacing Anderson and Porteous. Berwick, on the other hand, fielded an unchanged side. The game, despite the conditions, was played sportsmanlike and in typical cup-final fashion: close fought but clean. Heavy rain had fallen the previous day, and the pitch was soggy, to say the least, but both teams adapted well. Berwick had the pull of play in the first half-hour with several gilt-edged chances being missed. Peebles eventually fought their way into the game but, at interval, the teams were still on level terms. It was Peebles' turn to cause problems in the second half with Rovers continually on the attack, but the Berwick defence stood firm. Rangers finally got to grips with the Peebles attack in the last quarter and afterwards the exchanges were even. However, with the game looking set to end a draw, Burgon sent a looping ball into the 18-yard box; McLean kicked it out, but only as far as John Hope, and he latched on to the poor clearance before hammering the ball into the net with 12 minutes remaining. A late onslaught from Peebles came to nothing and Rangers held on to win. At the final whistle, the Berwick supporters invaded the pitch and carried the players off shoulder high. The cup was presented to the club secretary, David Redpath, on the pitch before being transported to Berwick by motorcar. The cup was held aloft by Mr. Redpath on the town hall steps, in front of several hundred noisy supporters, before being displayed in Mr. Redpath's shop window until the players returned on the 8 o'clock train, when it was paraded through the streets of the town.

Back down to earth, Rangers were at home to Coldstream in a second round Border Cup tie a week later. Berwick did not have the luck that their early play deserved with the Coldstreamers putting up a spirited performance. A mistake by Murray finally let Rangers in and Drysdale seized the opportunity to score. For a while after it looked as if Rangers would increase their lead, but Coldstream held out. Early in the second half, Craig had the ball in the net, but he was cruelly ruled offside. Berwick kept up the pressure, with even the full-backs joining the attack, but it left gaps in defence, and Rangers had to thank Poulton, who saved at full stretch on several occasions, for preserving their slender lead. Berwick pressed up to the finish of the game, the last item of which was a superb shot from Robertson that skimmed the bar.

Luck had favoured Berwick Rangers in the draw for the third round of the SFA Consolation Cup. They received a bye and paired with Central League side East Fife in the fourth round of the competition with home advantage. The Fifers came with such a reputation that it was thought they would wipe the Rangers off the pitch. However, Rangers proved to be an even better team than their opponents, who were lucky in the end to escape with a draw. Berwick applied early pressure and, with the crowd in full voice behind them, it was not surprising when they took the lead. Roughead played Redfearn through on goal and Mackie could only save at the expense of a corner. Alex Hope placed the flag kick neatly, from which Redfearn's header struck the far post before crossing the line. East Fife responded immediately. Robertson cleared a dangerous shot by McLean, but the ball was returned to the goalmouth, and Beveridge levelled the score amidst profound silence. Berwick renewed their attack. Redfearn floated a cross into the goalmouth where Drysdale was on hand to guide the ball into the net. With their spirits raised, Rangers looked like adding to their score. They pressed persistently up until a few minutes from the interval, when a counterattack by the visitors resulted in McEwan scoring with a long shot. Rangers continued the attack in the second half, but the Fifers gradually fought their way into the game. Berwick were let off the hook after a misunderstanding between Burgon and Patterson let Horne clean through; his shot, from long range, rebounded off the crossbar, and Beveridge could only head the returning ball wide. A few minutes later, Horne missed an open goal as the home defence was subjected to severe pressure. However, Rangers held on, turning defence into attack towards the end, where both Drysdale and Erswell went close amid howls of frustration from the home support.

The replay took place at Methil the following week and raised considerable interest in the "Kingdom", with the match drawing a healthy £40 gate. It was Berwick's second only visit to Fife, the other being against Cowdenbeath, and they were determined to put on a show. However, East Fife fielded an unchanged side whereas Rangers were forced into several changes to the team. Erswell, Redfearn and John Hope were missing and replaced by reserve team players Luke Bell, Lilburn, and Ruddock. Rangers started on the defensive and for the first ten minutes Poulton worked hard, and kept his cool, to keep his goal intact. However, midway through the half, MacFarlane gained possession from a corner before squaring for Horne, who beat Poulton from close range with a fast shot. It was not all one-way traffic as Berwick had a few excursions into the home territory and Richardson was unlucky not to score a few minutes before half-time. The second half was a one-sided affair, with Rangers playing on the defensive throughout, and the one goal difference never represented the run of play with the low score being a tribute to the Rangers' defence, but that is how it finished.

March

Back to Border Amateur League football, Rangers travelled to Coldstream for an important match. Berwick were lying second in the league table, six points behind leaders Duns, who had just completed their fixtures, and with six possible points left. The championship practically depended upon the match at Coldstream. If Coldstream managed even a draw, then Duns would be crowned champions. Both teams were under strength, with Rangers minus the services of Redfearn and the suspended Drysdale. Coldstream's defence had considerable trouble in keeping their lines clear as Berwick pressed hard from the start. Erswell gave Alex Hope an opening and his shot glanced off a defender into the net. However, Coldstream were soon on level terms when Patterson hesitated too long in defence and gave Melrose the space to beat Poulton. Later, Rangers were awarded a penalty. John Hope took the kick and beat keeper but not the woodwork. Berwick kept up the pressure and were rewarded when Lilburn converted a centre by Alex Hope. Melrose missed an open goal for Coldstream before Burgon increased Rangers' lead from a well-placed corner. For twenty minutes in the second half, Coldstream were on the defensive, but Rangers seemed to be content with their lead and never bothered the keeper. Their attitude almost cost them dear, however, when Robertson failed to stop Melrose's progress but, fortunately, Burgon nipped back in time and cleared off the line. Not to be outdone, Coldstream forced matters for a while and a shot by Richardson was played out for a corner. Curle placed neatly, and the ball took a wicked deflection off Patterson before landing in the net. Play became frantic as Coldstream looked like shattering Berwick's hopes of the championship, but Rangers eventually got the measure of their opponents. Erswell nearly put matters beyond doubt on the final whistle, but his thunderous shot skimmed the bar and Berwick lived on to fight on another day.

Another "Berwickshire derby" took place at Union Park, on March 20th, when Duns were visitors in the semi-final of the Border Cup. The rules governing the competition did not permit Rangers playing their strongest team, and with Duns having already beaten practically Berwick's full team this season, they were fully expected to win. Duns were the smarter team in the first half and took the lead when a wicked deflection following a throw-in landed at the feet of Forrest, who made the most of his luck. On 20 minutes, Berwick levelled the score when Redfearn, after good work by Alex Hope, scored with a superb shot. However, Burgon failed to stop a run by McLaren and he centred for Forrest to blast home a second for Duns. Rangers were back on equal terms a few minutes into the second half when Redfearn headed home. Duns retaliated, and Alex Hope was cautioned for to robust tactics in his attempt to ease the pressure. One of the Duns spectators, who evidently disapproved of the Berwick man's actions, uttered some words in response. This, coming on top of his caution, was too much for Hope, who lost his temper and punched his abuser. Hope received his marching orders, and the spectator was ushered from the ground. Berwick still had the better of the argument despite being down to ten men, but matters were made worse a few minutes later when Patterson was forced to leave the field through injury. Down to nine men, Rangers could do little to halt the next Duns attack. Forrest made a run for goal and Poulton deflected his shot only to watch Cowe, who was in close attendance, bang the ball home. With only nine minutes remaining, Berwick's chances of equalising again looked remote, but they redoubled their efforts in hope and when Dixon finally found the net, with a chance effort, it raised the game to fever pitch. Patterson returned to the field, but no sooner had he taken his place than Drysdale was carried off. With a matter of seconds remaining, Erswell tricked McLaren before centring for Burn to give Rangers the lead with a tremendous shot. Duns lost all hope at such a late reverse, and Berwick played time out.

The test of nerves in the Border Amateur League continued with the return visit of Coldstream. A large crowd had gathered for the 4.45 kick-off and with the sun going down fast, they were left somewhat cold. Berwick started without the brothers Hope and, as a result, Coldstream opened strongest, but in the second half they were seldom in the picture. Back to a full number after the interval, Rangers reshuffled the pack and, within a few minutes of the restart, it paid dividends. Richardson worked a good opening and centred for Dixon, who gave Smith no chance with a shot that nearly burst the net. The Coldstream back line was defending well despite the pressure but could not prevent a 40-yarder by Alex Hope from hitting the back of the net midway through the half. Hope later became the provider when his well-placed free kick found his brother Joe with an easy shot in front of goal, leaving Rangers, with one match remaining, on level course with Duns for the top spot.

April

Local football supporters were given an attractive break from competitive football when Heart of Midlothian played a Thursday evening friendly at Union Park on April 1st. Berwick did not make fools of themselves despite a 3-0 reverse against a Hearts team showing only two changes from the team that drew 0-0 with Glasgow Rangers three days later. Bobby Walker, their Scottish internationalist, was missing along with Nellies and McAulay, who were both injured. Rangers were without the services of Robertson and Erswell, whose place was filled by Noble of Spittal Rovers. Despite being under severe pressure throughout the opening half, Berwick reached the interval on level terms. The second half, however, was a different story. From a corner kick, Poulton had the flight of the ball covered, but a home defender deflected the ball and Burn was on hand to score the opener. Burn added a second a few minutes later with a well struck shot before completing his hat trick towards the end from another corner ball. Dixon grazed the crossbar in a rare Rangers attack as Hearts pressed until the end, with Poulton denying both Gilmour and Burn with top-notch saves.

Rangers provided no holiday attraction for Good Friday but, on Easter Saturday, they played Spittal Rovers in the ultimate match of the Border Amateur League. Berwick needed nothing less than a win against their near neighbours to draw level with Duns at the top of the table; failure would give Duns the championship outright. The match was due to be played at the Sea Cutting but, due to recent heavy rainfall, it was still under water, and the game was switched to Union Park at the last minute. The Spittal defence was subjected to immense pressure in the first half, and it looked as if Rangers would win by a barrow load. The Spittalers, however, withstood the pressure with their keeper, Brotherton, man-of-the-half. After a brief Spittal attack in the second half, Rangers again took command and finally broke the deadlock when John Hope found the net midway through the half. With Berwick now off the mark, it was one-way traffic toward the Spittal end and, a few minutes later, John Hope added his and Rangers' second with a well-placed header from an in-swinging corner. The Berwickers were now in full flight and, with only five minutes remaining, Redfearn notched number three to put the match beyond doubt. The players and spectators alike were in jubilant mood at the final whistle as Rangers had caught Duns at the top and were due to meet in a one-off championship decider.

In the first of two consecutive matches with Selkirk, Rangers were below strength for their Border League match at Union Park due to an Inter-Association match between the Border League and the East of Scotland Junior League at Penicuik. Berwick were without the services of Poulton, Burn, Burgon, Redfearn and Erswell. Brotherton, who put up a fine display for Spittal Rovers against the Rangers the previous week, took Poulton's place in goal. Selkirk's play at the start indicated that there was to be a tough game ahead. They were eager and smart with the ball, but Berwick eventually took control, and the lead, when John Hope headed home a Scobie corner. Selkirk redoubled their efforts, but the home defence held them in check, and they resorted to long range shooting. Dixon went close on three occasions before Bell extended Berwick's lead shortly before the interval. The visitors opened the second half in a business-like fashion, but their visits to the Berwick end were soon curtailed. Scobie had several openings from which to increase the score before Richardson hit the back of the net with a fine shot to put Rangers 3-0 ahead. As Berwick pressed forward, Richardson twice skimmed the crossbar and John Hope sent narrowly past. Selkirk took full advantage of the gaps that were left at the back and R Walker broke through to reduce the score in a one-on-one against Brotherton.

After Berwick's easy win over Selkirk with such a weakened side, supporters lost all interest in the final of the Border Cup. Just 60 people took advantage of a special rail excursion to Duns and, as such, a £9 loss was made. Only 400 spectators lined the perimeter fence at kick-off time, but the turnout was not the only disappointment. The game itself was nothing much, lacking interest throughout, with both teams playing as if nothing were at stake. Supporters had to wait until the mid-point of the half before Berwick really threatened the Selkirk goal. Good build up work by Bell and Dixon left Drysdale with a clear shot on goal and he made no mistake much to the relief of the crowd. This enlivened play a little, as the Selkirk players were forced to try to equalise with the interval fast approaching. The second half was less interesting than the first, even with more goals. Alex Hope raised the game slightly when his good run and centre gave Dixon the opportunity to extend Berwick's lead, which he took, despite fumbling too long with the ball before shooting. Rangers then pressed until a few minutes from time when J Walker raced through, and a questionable penalty was given against Burn. Melrose was entrusted with the kick and sent the ball well out of Poulton's reach. The game ended at 2-1 with the Border Cup presented to David Redpath, the Rangers' secretary, who apologised to the crowd for the lacklustre performance despite winning the cup.

Hawthorn Park, Duns, was the chosen venue for the eagerly awaited Border Amateur League Championship decider between Berwick Rangers and Duns. The decision to use Hawthorn Park was purely economic. A reasonable attendance to provide sufficient gate money would not have been guaranteed if the tie had been played at a neutral venue and the use of Hawthorn Park would reduce travelling expenses to one team only. Berwick protested to the league committee that Duns would gain unfair advantage in the use of their home ground, in such an important match. The committee agreed and changed the venue to Home Park, Coldstream. Duns then refused to play anywhere else other than the originally chosen ground – Duns. Rangers at first refused to budge. They tried to arrange a Border League match with Vale of Leithen on the date instead, but the Innerleithen club was unwilling to travel, which meant that the matches both home and away, would have to be carried over and completed the following season. Therefore, Rangers reluctantly agreed to the championship decider being played at Hawthorn Park. The game raised considerable interest. Local opinion was that if the Rangers' committee had run a rail excursion to Duns on April 24th instead of the 17th against Selkirk, they would not have lost by it. Twenty or thirty supporters travelled with the team to join a large attendance at Duns. Exchanges during the game were frequent and even, but Duns proved to be the smarter of the two teams in both attack and defence. Berwick were much slower and disjointed in their attack and never really threatened the Duns goal. Cowe gave Duns the lead a few minutes before half-time when, clean through, he gave Poulton no chance with a low shot. Berwick were first on the attack after the interval with Richardson trying his luck twice within the first two minutes. Drysdale played Dixon through to score, but offside was given against him, and the goal disallowed. Rangers continued to press until the end, but Duns soaked up the pressure and declared 1-0 winners and Border Amateur League Champions at the game's end.

Rangers completed the playing season with an exhibition friendly against Leith Athletic at Union Park on Thursday April 29th. Leith had promised to send as near as their strongest team in return for a good guarantee, but on arrival only a few regulars were included in their line-up. Berwick took up the running from the start and the Leith keeper had to be quick to clear a superb shot by Erswell. John Hope received from the clearance and dropped it into the goalmouth. Duncan failed to hold the dipping shot and it rolled behind him and into the net. However, straight from the kick-off, White dribbled clean through the Berwick defence and equalised. Afterwards, Rangers had slightly the better of exchanges and Redfearn headed in a second goal following a corner. A few minutes before the interval, Drysdale missed an upright by inches before Stewart handled in the penalty box and Alex Hope made it 3-1 from the spot. The second half opened with Berwick again on the attack. Redfearn and Erswell both went agonisingly close before Drysdale scored from an Erswell through ball. Leith replied by launching a determined attack that ended with White scoring from the edge of the six-yard box. Even play followed until Rangers forced a corner and Erswell's cross gave Redfearn the easiest of chances to head home a fifth and end the season on a high note with a deserved 5-2 win.

With the Border Cup and King Cup already on display, Rangers added a third trophy to their haul when they "claimed" the Paul Challenge Shield as outright winners of the Border League. Kelso had resigned at the turn of the year and Vale of Leithen had failed to fulfil their remaining fixtures, both against the Rangers, by the season's end. Berwick hopefully submitted their claim to the Border League Committee and, contrary to local expectations, they were unanimously awarded the Border League Championship, undefeated and with maximum points. However, the failure by the first team to secure the Border Amateur League Championship with the play-off defeat at Duns proved to be a league too many.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Aug 22 F H Gala Fairydean W 5-0
29 EQC 1 H Peebles Rovers L 1-2
Sep 5 SQC 1 H Selkirk W 3-2
12 BAL H Chirnside United W 10-2
19 F H Berwick Rovers W 9-3
26 SQC 2 H Peebles Rovers W 2-1
Oct 3 SQC 3 H Vale of Leven D 2-2
10 SQC 3R A Vale of Leven L 0-3
17 KC 1 A Selkirk W 2-1
24 BAL A Chirnside United W 2-0
31 BAL A Duns L 5-9
Nov 7 KC 2 H Duns W 4-2
14 F H Seaforth Highlanders W 3-0
21 BL A Selkirk W 5-2
28 BAL H Spittal Rovers W 5-1
Dec 5 KC SF A West Calder Swifts D 0-0
12 KC SFR H West Calder Swifts W 3-1
19 BL A Gala Fairydean W 4-0
25 F H Edinburgh Civil Service L 0-3
26 BAL H Duns W 3-1
Jan 1 F H Leith Amateurs L 1-3
9 BL H Gala Fairydean W 4-3
23 SCC 2 H Peebles Rovers W 2-0
Feb 6 KC F N Peebles Rovers W 1-0
13 BC 2 H Coldstream W 1-0
20 SCC 4 H East Fife D 2-2
27 SCC 4R A East Fife L 0-1
Mar 13 BAL A Coldstream W 3-2
20 BC SF H Duns W 4-3
27 BAL H Coldstream W 3-0
Apr 1 F H Heart of Midlothian L 0-3
3 BAL A Spittal Rovers W 3-0
10 BL H Selkirk W 3-1
17 BC F N Selkirk W 2-1
24 BAL CPO A Duns L 0-1
29 F H Leith Athletic W 5-2

Border League

Home Away
Pld W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1 Berwick Rangers 4 2 0 0 7 4 2 0 0 9 2 8
2 Vale of Leithen 4 1 0 1 3 1 1 1 0 6 3 5
3 Selkirk 5 0 2 1 5 8 1 0 1 2 3 4
4 Gala Fairydean 5 0 0 2 1 8 0 1 2 4 8 1
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Berwick Rangers awarded title as Vale of Leithen had failed to fulfil all of their fixtures. Kelso resigned from the league and their match record was withdraw from the table.

Border Amateur League

Home Away
Pld W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1 Berwick Rangers* 8 4 0 0 21 4 3 0 1 13 11 14
2 Duns* 8 4 0 0 31 15 3 0 1 10 6 14
3 Coldstream 8 2 0 2 12 8 1 1 2 5 9 7
4 Chirnside United 8 1 1 2 6 8 1 0 3 15 29 5
5 Spittal Rovers 8 0 0 4 2 14 0 0 4 6 17 0
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* Duns champions after play-off. Kelso and Swinton resigned from league - results withdrawn from table.
Appearances & Goals
F SQC SCC BL BAL EQC KC BC
Player A G A G A G A G A G A G A G A G
Charles Barth 1
Luke Bell 1 1 1 1 1 3 4 1
Alexander Bradford 2 4 1
James Brotherton 1
Harry Burgon 7 4 3 3 6 1 1 1 5 3
Thomas Burn 4 1 4 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 1
William Calder 1 1
Thomas Collin 1 1
Thomas Cowe 2
James Craig 2 2 1
Thomas Crombie 1
John Dixon 4 3 1 5 1 2 2
Thomas Doggart 3 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 3 1
Jack Drysdale 6 3 3 3 3 4 2 4 4 1 5 3 3 2
Charlie Erswell 3 2 3 6 4 2
William Ferguson 2
Alex Hope 5 3 4 3 4 1 7 6 1 5 3
John Hope 5 1 4 2 4 2 7 3 1 5 1 3
Tom Hope 1
William Hope 1
Thomas Lilburn 1 3 1
John McFarlane 1
Adam Miller 1 3 1 1
George Noble 1
George Patterson 6 3 2 3 7 3 3
James Piercy  1 1
Jack Poulton 6 4 3 3 4 1 5 3
David Redfearn 6 7 4 1 2 1 3 2 8 5 1 5 2 3 2
Peter Richardson 5 1 3 4 4 6 1 4 2
Joseph Roberts 1
Robert Robertson 3 2 3 3 7 1 5 1
David Ross 1 2 1
Tom Roughead 3 2 2 4 2
Ruddock 1
John Scobie 2 4 2 1 2 2 3 3 1 3 1
own goal 1 1
Number of players used: 35