Results

1914/15: Public Opinion

Berwick Rangers again joined the East of Scotland, Scottish and Border football associations, the last named only on a vote being taken. The failure to complete the deciding match for the 1912/13 Border Amateur League Championship between Duns and Berwick Rangers, combined with the total lack of a league competition for the 1913/14 season, prompted the vote.

Changes were discussed at general meeting of the BFA whereby the "Berwickshire" clubs would be included in a Border League split into two district leagues, to make travelling easier. Gala Fairydean, Selkirk, Vale of Leithen and Peebles Athletic in the west and Kelso, Coldstream, Duns and Berwick Rangers in the east, the winners of each division playing off for the championship. The Border Cup was to be brought forward to November and December, as football in general was at a standstill on the Borders during these months, and it would ease fixture congestion after the New Year. However, the dark horizons of the looming European crisis were sure to cause a delay in the making of any firm decision.

August

Rangers began their pre-season training with a practice match on August 22nd at the Union Park. Although war had been declared, and many of the regular players were serving with the Territorial Army, sufficient players turned out to make two full sides.

Calls for the suspension of football due to the war with Germany were heard from many quarters as Berwick began their season proper with a 3-2 home victory in a friendly against Spittal Hearts on August 29th. The committee were concerned by the possibility of more financial loss, due to subscriptions already paid to the different associations with which the club was affiliated and the recently paid rent for the use of the Union Park. However, they decided to press on as best they could under the present circumstances.

September

Berwick faced tough opposition in the first round of the SFA Qualifying Cup when they travelled to face Peebles Rovers on September 5th. Peebles were by far the superior team, which the 6-0 scoreline proved, but their finishing in the first half was very weak and had only a two-goal lead at the interval to show for their efforts. In the second period, Peebles found their shooting boots and added a further four goals to their tally. Wakenshaw headed inches over from a corner taken by Cooper, but that was as near as Rangers got.

Vale of Leithen were due to play at the Union Park in the first round of the ESFA Qualifying Cup but scratched due to team raising difficulties. Armadale suffered the same fate when due to meet Berwick in the second round on September 12th. To fill the vacant date, Rangers played a friendly against the H Company team of the Northern Cyclist Battalion in a match where no less than ten goals were scored. Overall, it was a poor game as far as football was concerned with Berwick leading 5-1 at one stage. However, a late fight back by the Territorials saw them score three goals to Berwick's one and the game ended 6-4 to the Rangers.

Less than two hundred supporters turned out to watch Berwick Rangers play their first competitive home match of the season, on September 19th, against Leith Amateurs in the semi-final round of the ESFA Qualifying Cup. Rangers had reached the penultimate round of the competition without having played a match as both Vale of Leithen and Armadale scratched in the earlier rounds due to the precarious state of football. Leith showed many changes from the team that had visited last season, while Rangers had the assistance of two useful players in Walton and Phillips of the Northern Cyclist Battalion. Winning the toss, Leith chose to kick with the wind towards the town end. However, Berwick made a better start despite facing the elements. Leith attacked briefly before Wakenshaw cleared. Purves raced off down the Berwick left and, after rounding Robertson, he centred for Walton to head into the net with less than a minute played. Rangers then had to withstand a strong counterattack by the Leith forwards. Fenby cleared well before Young made a splendid save at the expense of a corner. Renwick took the kick, which was cleared, but only as far as Renwick again and this time he blasted the ball high into the net to equalise. McGuire then worked a good opening and crossed to Moncur, who had only Young to beat. The keeper saved twice to deny him but, on the third attempt, the Leith man found the net. Berwick responded and Walton was unlucky to see his powerful shot saved by Curry at the foot of the post. Rangers continued to attack after the interval and, following a solo effort by Phillips, Purves forced a corner. Wakenshaw just missed with the incoming kick, but Walton, who was behind him, reached the rebound with his head to level the score. Walton then looked like securing the tie, but the keeper saved well, and Wakenshaw put the rebound narrowly wide. Scobie then led an attack that ended abruptly when Smith fouled him fully three yards inside the penalty box, but a free kick on the line was all the referee would give. Nothing came of the kick after which Leith launched a late spell of pressure. Young saved at full stretch from Davidson and Renwick hit the crossbar with a thunderous shot, but the game ended at 2-2 and a replay required.

In the replay at Chancelot Park, Leith, the Amateurs opened the scoring against the elements. The home side forced a corner on the right in the third minute from which Rathie deflected the ball into his own net. Rangers fought hard to equalise, and Walton was unlucky when his well-hit effort was saved. Berwick kept up the pressure but it looked as if the Leith defence would hold on to their slender lead at the interval, however, Wakenshaw scored from the penalty spot with only a few minutes remaining, and the teams crossed over on level terms. The Amateurs restarted without Renwick but, within a minute, they took the lead when Welsh dashed between the backs to score. Rangers attacked strongly without success before Welsh put Leith further ahead on the hour mark when, after twice testing Young with splendid drives, he beat the keeper with a low shot. Rangers had a spell of pressure during which Prior was forced to make a brave save following a goalmouth melee. However, Dawson put Leith three goals clear when, after catching up a nice pass, he dribbled the ball fully 30 yards before beating Young with a cool finish. The home side now had the game well in hand, and Wilson scored twice before the close as Berwick slumped to a 6-1 defeat.

A meeting was held by the ESFA after the Qualifying Cup competition had not turned out as well as hoped. Most of the teams had scratched until Leith Amateurs and Peebles Rovers were left in the final, after having played only one tie each, and, as a result, the King Cup competition was suspended. Only Gala Fairydean, Broxburn Shamrock, Leith Amateurs and Berwick Rangers of the thirteen clubs invited had shown their intentions of competing.

Berwick Rangers finally succumbed to public opinion and agreed at a special meeting held on Monday, October 19th, to suspend play for an indefinite period. Gates at matches so far had shown that there was little interest in football and the club had lost over £7 across the three cup matches played so far. They went to Peebles and lost £3 10s; against Leith Amateurs at home they lost £2 18s; and on the match at Leith they lost £1. The second £5 instalment on the Union Park rent was due again in November with the club only having a £7 balance. Mr. D. Watson moved that play be suspended due to public opinion and the club losing money on each game played. Mr. D. Bryson seconded, and the motion was carried unanimously. Mr. W. Trainer called for the festive friendlies to be retained and the committee decided to meet on the first Monday in December to consider this as many thought the war would be over by Christmas – so they thought!

Berwick Rangers players who gave their lives
in The Great War 1914 – 1918

George Brodie KOSB
James Brotherton NF
Thomas H. Crombie NF
Thomas Doggart KOSB
Charles G. Erswell NF
Thomas Gray SH
Leon S. T. Jones NF
Henry Laidler SH
Archbold W. Lockhart NF
Charles N. Noble NF
George Patterson NF
John Richardson NF
Walter Sinton RN
Moses Townsley KOSB

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Aug 29 F H Spittal Hearts W 3-2
Sep 5 SQC 1 A Peebles Rovers L 0-6
12 F H Northern Cyclist Battalion H Company W 6-4
19 EQC SF H Leith Amateurs D 2-2
26 EQC SFR A Leith Amateurs L 1-6

Appearances & Goals

F SQC EQC
Player A G A G A G
Charles Barth 1
Joseph Cooper 2 1 2
Ernest Fenby 2 1 2
John Ferguson 1 1
Fletcher 1 1
Robert Gilchrist 1
Thomas Gray 1 1
William Moffat 1
James Paul 1 1 2
Phillips 1 2
Tom Purves 2 1 2
William Rathie 2 1 2
John Scobie 1 1
Robert Wakenshaw 2 1 2 1
William Walton 2 2
Alex Weatherburn 2 1 2
Andrew Young 2 1 2
Number of players used: 17