Well it’s time for the first competitive game of the season. Berwick hosting Ayr united. A defeat would be the bookies favourite and realistically that’s what I expect. The squad hasn’t had many games to gel and Ayr are a good team 3 leagues above us William Hill has a Berwick win at 12-1. For teams like Berwick the betfred can been seen as extra training games. The teams are seeded in such a way that there is very little chance of qualifying out of the group. It is a nice little money earner though. A decent amount of money for finishing last in the group and the gate is split 50/50. I’ll be down with my Dad for this one.. It’s about a 2 hour drive to Berwick so I like to get there around lunchtime and get my dad his lunch. Foulis in Tweedmouth is a decent spot, we can usually get parked outside so it’s easy for him to access. He’s normally wanting chips and curry sauce from the van at Shielfield for his lunch instead but those days are numbered. I believe the van won’t be returning for this season so Foulis it is for this game. We have hospitality booked so we might also have a sandwich and a cup of tea at half time.
Here’s hoping for a reasonable performance from Berwick but it’s tough to know what to expect. (Written on Friday night).
So we arrive around lunchtime as planned and Foulis it is. A all day breakfast but we’ve learned our lesson and get one portion of chips between us. (Chips come as part of the breakfast). Still too many chips and my belly is full as we head up to Shielfield. The van has gone but the Bandits cafe is open for the game. Nice to see a bit of cooperation between the football club and the speedway. It’s a waste of money and resources to have things separate. Chips and curry sauce on the menu as well so noted for when I bring my dad down on a Saturday. I buy a couple of cups of tea and take one back to my dad who is sitting in the stand before. I head off to see if anybody needs a hand. There were plenty of volunteers today though so my assistance isn’t required so I buy 5 50/50 tickets and head back to the stand to sit next to my dad an talk about what may be...
Well for the first 20 minutes or so we looked ok. Brennan pulled off some good stops in the game (despite the score line) and Euan Smith (6) having a great game, quick and covering well. Lewis Barr looked decent too. Heads went down a bit when the first goal went in and by halftime we were down by 5. Final score Berwick 0 Ayr 7. It’s tough to see what will come when we are playing against a good Championship side. The Betfred cup is a somewhat demoralising start to the season. The team are still pretty new to each other too. We kept our shape much better than last season but time will tell. Next week it’s Stranraer, a league one team. How we will fare against them is again anybody’s bet. Hopefully not such a heavy defeat as we suffered today.
I missed the first friendly against Coldstream. A Tuesday night fixture is difficult and for a friendly against Coldstream it was not going to happen. I was pleased to hear we won 2-0 though. The second friendly was against Billingham Synthonia, this I could manage.
Well in anticipation of no chip van it was off to Foulis in Tweedmouth. Easy parking right outside the door so easy for my dad to manage. 2 all day breakfasts ordered and what a plateful. More chips that you can eat, It’s a bit of a waste really. Next time we will ask for one portion between us (or none at all), why chips come as part of an all day breakfast is a bit of a mystery.....
Lunch consumed it was off to Shielfield.
It felt like a long time since I had been here. I was at the charity game only a couple of weeks ago though. I popped into the front office to say hello to Dennis and have a quick chat. Then off to the stand. The pitch is in good condition. A credit to the ground staff, it was commented on by Billingham fans too.
Well we started ok, a few trialists on the park and a couple of new signings. It was promising though. Trialists 9 scored first. It was a goal that looks easier than it is. A good ball through one on one with the keeper and it was slotted home! 1-0 Berwick! The usual back and forth ensued. Billingham had chances, Berwick had chances but it was Berwick who found the net again. Healey scoring some sort of goal. I missed it as I was looking at my phone. I do don’t miss the next goal though. An overhead kick by Healey finding the net! Goal of the season already? Hopefully that will give him and the team a bit of confidence. The team looked in good shape overall and crucially held formation well. Last season it was schoolboy football where every player clustered around the ball and we had gaps all over the field. Brennan put in a good show in goals, he should be a safe pair of hands for the coming season.
Number 9 looked ok, took his goal well but also missed a sitter. He was in position to miss the sitter though. He had a bit of pace upfront so I wouldn’t be unhappy if he signed for us. It will be interesting to see the team next week against Ayr. Who will be in the starting 11. It will also be a tough one to judge. Ayr are a very good side and leagues above us. The rest of the Betfred cup games will also be tough to judge. It’s a cup set up that will Yield rewards financially, I think it’s. £17k for finishing bottom of the group plus spilt gates. It’s can also be demoralising to be thumped 4 times in a row before the league season starts. As much as I hope Berwick put up a show the odds are stacked against us. Ayr, Stranraer, Falkirk and Livingston are our opposition. I doubt we will see a point.
We then start the league midweek as our first home game is postponed due to the cup. Bonnyrigg Rose our first opponents. That will be a tough game for so many reasons. Bonnyrigg having been promoted into the league and managed by ex Berwick manager and player Robbie Horn. Bonnyrigg will be looking to make their mark. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bonnyrigg finished in the top 5.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters will be delighted to continue the sponsorship of Sean Brennan’s kit. We have sponsored Sean for the last two seasons and we shall continue to do so for this season. We shall also maintain our advert in the match day programs and our advertising board in the stadium.
The donations are almost complete. Northern Soul Kitchen received theirs and the money for the debating society was handed to them to pass on. All that is left is the Church in Spittal but I’ll attend to that in a couple of weeks. The Northstar centres donation will be sorted out with the football club when the fixtures are released.
The first of the donations have been issued. The food bank and Northern spirit have had their donations today via the internet. The foodbank also benefits from a gift aid boost. The rest will be issued hopefully at the weekend other than The NorthStar centre. Their hospitality will be later when the fixtures are issued and they can arrange a date with Berwick Rangers.
Having won a stonking £615 from the Tweedmouth Rangers monthly draw i have decided to put the money back into the local community. Tweedmouth Rangers were told to keep a portion for the club and the remainder will be split between other community projects in the town over the next few weeks.
Northern Soul Kitchen.
No surprises here that some money will be heading to them.
North Star Centre.
Again no surprise here. We will be using some of the money to offer them hospitality at a Berwick Rangers game this season as i did in the previous season. This will be organised through Berwick Rangers once the fixtures are released.
Northern Spirit Berwick.
stumbled across these guys while searching the internet for community clubs in Berwick. New to me but will be receiving a donation. http://www.northernspiritberwick.co.uk/ Northern Spirit Berwick are a Peer Support Group for people suffering Mental Health conditions.
Berwick food bank.
Again no real surprise. We offer donate to he foodbank in Berwick, especially at Christmas.
Messy Church, Spittal.
A donation towards craft materials. It’s a fun activity for children.
What to expect
We start off with different crafts, arranged on tables around the church, run by members of the congregations. We have 6 different tables, with things like making models, or fridge-magnets, or windmills, or planting, drawing, cutting, sticking and painting with brushes or fingers or sponges or straws! It's different every month.
Then we all eat together (the food will be provided), again giving us more opportunity to get to know each other.
Berwick debating society.
They run out of Northen souls kitchen and were suggested to my by Northen Soul Kitchen. A new society starting up and have a few costs that we can cover to help them on their way.
Winner winner chicken dinner. The remainder of the money will be split over charity groups in Berwick in the next few weeks.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters have dontated 5 touch screen laptops to the Berwick youth project. The laptops have been fully refurbished by the School of computer science technicians at the University of St Andrews. The department had spare laptops from a previous program and were delighted to see them have a new lease of life. More information on the Berwick youth project can be found here. http://www.berwickyouthproject.co.uk/about/
I’m not going to talk about boardrooms, managerial changes or the squad here. Just looking at life in the Lowland league. I was quite disparaging of it a few weeks ago. I was looking at away games and thinking I wouldn’t be going to any of them, but my mindset is adjusting. It’s not even a week since the final game that saw us out of League 2....
Teams in the league.
These are the teams according to Wikipedia, subject to change at the whim of the footballing powers that be.....
I plan to attend all home matches as usual. Midweeks games are a no though, I can’t make it in time after work. I’m still unsure if the Lowland league has midweek games as part of the setup.
Well there’s a few on the list that I think I won’t be attending. Dalbettie Star, Edusport and Gretna 2008 are a bit too much of a trek for me and my old dad. Gala will probably be on that list too. I’m also not too sure about Edinburgh University and Stirling University. Both are not too far to travel but it just has the feeling of a training match/friendly to me. But we will see closer to the time. The fact that we only play once at home and once away might mean that I decide to attend. I’ll need to wipe out most of my favourites in my satnav (or dare I keep them for next season.....)
BSC Glasgow might get a visit but I’ll need to look at parking so my dad can attend. Civil service strollers not too sure about either. Cumbernauld Colts should be fine though, It will be a bit odd at Broadwood but not watching Clyde. Kelty Hearts is the closest to us and will be one of the top teams so that will get a visit. East Kilbride will get s trip too as one of the top teams.
Spartans may also get a visit depending on how I feel at the time. I know the ground from watching Berwick playing Edinburgh City. East Stirling will also get a visit, it’s like seeing an old friend again but in a new house......
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters are delighted to continue the player sponsorship of Kurt Yule for this coming season. We wish Kurt and Tweedmouth Rangers all the best in the coming season.