Berwick Rangers & Worcester Rovers

14/01/2014 17:45

Julian Pugh from Worcester City FC has found some new info on the above two Worcester teams of the 1890s. It seems that the two clubs did not in fact amalgamate; Rangers went bust and two years later Rovers were wound up but re-formed as Worcester City with a new set of players and committee, and took over Berwick Rangers' Birmingham League fixtures in 1902. In the 1880s when the two clubs had local derby games in such as the Worcestershire Cup, the grounds would be full to bursting (6-8,000), but after Rovers folded, the big crowds died away due to no derby matches.At first,as elsewhere, football was fervently followed in Wocester and the first cup meeting between the two rivals drew almost 10,000 to the New Rd cricket ground. Berwick Rangers were founded when a few youths met under a lampost in the Cherry Orchard district by Berwick's brook from which they took their name. One Harry Smith organised their training regime. Julian has identified another ground which Berwick Rgs also played on: the Militia Ground. Also it seems that the Barbourne Athletic ground was behind or next to the Cinderella ground at Northwick district. As Rangers folded from low income due to dwindling attendances around 1898-1900, Rovers reformed themselves under H.L.Rolfe and they moved to St.Georges Lane. Tom Green (ex-Bham St George) and Fred Wheldon (ex-Small Heath) now both publicans, helped in recruiting a new team of players, including 'lanky' Wally Williams in goal. Lord Beauchamp became new patron in 1902, with W.Crane (chairman) and R.Morgan (Vice) joining H.G.Allsop on the new committee. Players were signed from teams such as Redditch, Fosse, Small Heath and Oldbury.

Having identified the Cinderella Ground at Northwick, bounded by Northwick Close and Northwick Road,, a very large 16 acre site, I was able to spot the Barbourne Athletic ground to the side of it, both grounds seperated by the Northwick Road. The Barbourne Ground was just under 6 acres, plenty of room for an enclosed football ground and at least 6,000 spectators, indeed the derby clashes with Rovers used to fill the grounds in the early days when excitement was at its height.

The Barbourne ground seems to have lasted until about 1930 when it was built over, and Ogilvy Square now occupies where thepitch used to be. Have now posted up maps/ photos of Barbourne, New road ground and Severn Terrace (2.6 acres) grounds .