The Stanks

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A playing surface that just met the minimum required and only a stone’s throw away from the Greenses Field.

Situated in front of the Elizabethan defences, The Stanks was at one time part of the defensive moat between Brass Bastion and Windmill Bastion, but in the 1860s the surface was drained and levelled by the Military for sporting use, hence the sometimes-used name of the “Soldiers’ Flat.”

The word “stanks” is a Scottish word for swampy place or ditch. As the area tends to be in permanent shade during the winter months, it was ideal to freeze it over and, before sporting use, the local fishermen would dig out the ice they required to keep their hauls of salmon as fresh as possible on their journey south to London.

Football is still played on The Stanks in the form of The Berwick Charities Cup, one of the oldest charity football competitions in the north-east, which stretches back to the late 19th century and involves teams from both sides of the border. The competition is held from May until August.

The first match to be played on The Stanks was a return friendly with Alnwick Working Men’s Club on 15th April 1884, Berwick losing the match 1-2.

Rangers interchanged between The Stanks and the Cricket (or Pier) Field depending on the importance of the match, ground conditions and availability.

The last home match to take place on The Stanks was a Border League fixture against Kelso on 3rd May 1902, played after the Club’s lease of the Union Park had expired, with Berwick Rangers winning 1-0.

The Stanks was used on a regular basis by the KOSB Depot team, based in the nearby barracks, and local junior sides.

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