Berwick Rangers v Gretna 2008
Scottish Cup, 2nd round
Ground: Shielfield Park, Berwick
Berwick Rangers have always been the odd ones out in the SPFL, being the only team actually based in England. Just by looking at a map it’s clear why it makes sense for them to play in the Scottish leagues though. Berwick-upon-Tweed as a town has changed hands various times and it’s not close to any main town/city in England, whilst it’s considerably further north than some places in Scotland, including Gretna Green where their opponents in the 2nd round of the Scottish cup are from. I took the train from Dundee to Berwick, with a journey time of just over 2 hours considerably closer than some places in the south of Scotland for me. After exploring the lovely town that is Berwick and visiting some good local pubs, I headed for Shielfield Park.
Berwick Rangers got founded in 1884 and affiliated to the SFA in 1905, when they entered the Scottish Border League and the East of Scotland league after the first World War, which replaced the Scottish Border League. In 1951 they joined Division C of the Scottish Football League. They became full members of the league when Division C got disbanded in 1955 and they got placed in the new Division Two. In 1967 they had a major success when they beat Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup, sparking a crisis at Rangers. In 1979 they won the Division Two title, but after that it went downhill and they have been close to going out of existence on a few occasions. In 2007 they won the Third Division, but they got relegated a year later. They have remained in League Two ever since, coming close to a relegation play-off spot a few times, but never actually finished bottom.
“The Borderers” play at Shielfield Park, where they moved in 1955. In 1992 they were forced to sell the ground to a greyhound company, who locked Berwick Rangers out, meaning they had to groundshare with other Second Division clubs. In 1995 they returned after the Supporters Trust bought the ground. The ground is shared by a speedway club, meaning that there is a track around the ground. There is a seated main stand with covered terracing on the opposite side and plenty space for uncovered standing around the pitch. It’s not the prettiest ground, but it is a traditional one and a good place to watch football.
The game in the Scottish Cup was against Gretna 2008 from the Lowland League. The visitors have not impressed much in their league this season so far and they were clearly weaker than the hosts. Berwick looked comfortable from the start and dominated, only late on when it was 3-0, the guests managed to score a goal, resulting in the final score of 3-1. The day out was excellent, the people in Berwick and at the club were all very friendly. This was one of the friendliest clubs I’ve visited. It was definitely worth a visit and I’m sure I’ll be back one day.