We met at Edinburgh Waverley for the 11:30 train (Phil heading from Glasgow around 10am) and were immediately joined by numerous fans going to games across the country. Possibly the most surprising was the large selection of Chelsea fans heading down to Sunderland.
Berwick itself is a very nice town, quite old fashioned but on the day of our visit we were lucky to find a Christmas Market in the town centre and enjoyed a Hog Roast lunch sitting out in the freezing cold. Fortunately we were able to warm up in our new favourite bar, Barrels Ale House (above). Doing our research we had heard this was the best pub in Berwick and we weren't disappointed. It's a cosy little place but like any good pub the atmosphere & staff were both warm & friendly and the selection of local Ale's were top notch. We tried 4 different Ale's all from Tyneside and all winners. The pub has a great wall of music memorabilia that will be enjoyed by any music fans.
From here we took the 20 minute walk across the bridge (to Tweedmouth) and up the hill to Sheilfeld Park.
The first thing you are met with in the ground is the Club Shop which sits immediately to the left as you enter. It's a great little shop with a huge selection of programmes from across the years from all sorts of clubs as well as all the Berwick 'The Dream Team' Rangers merchandise any Wee Gers fan could need.
Berwick share the ground with Speedway team (Berwick Bandits) and therefore this is not your usual Football ground. A large dirt track surrounds the pitch resulting in only two stands for the fans to watch from. The larger of the two is the all seater main stand that runs the length of the pitch and directly across from this is 'The Ducket' which is a good old fashioned terrace.
We headed to 'The Ducket' for kick off and joined a good crowd of Berwick fans (and 1 Peterhead fan) for an entertaining first half. Peterhead had the best of the action and in particular Rory McAllister looking a step above the rest up front. It was no surprise to see the opener come from him with some unselfish play to send in Scott McLaughlin for the easy finish. The home fans were in great form with the football banter that you only really get at the lower levels. The linesman was getting abuse even when the ball was in the other half, token shouts of 'Waken Up', it was great!
Somehow the first half ended 1-0 and we headed for a good pie & bovril to warm us up before switching sides and joining the main stand. It was great to see that the home fans in this side were giving just as much stick to officials & players. My personal favourite was 'You only gave that because we are English!!' when a foul was given against Berwick, to which a Peterhead fan replied, 'aye'. We also found more Peterhead fans here who had made the long journey to the game.
I would agree with the fans that the officials had a very poor second half and it was a very stop start affair. Berwick looked slightly stronger and that may have had a lot to do with the huge slope that Sheilfeld Park has. It was a goalkeeping error that allowed Berwick back into the game however with a howler from former Kilmarnock & Rangers keeper Graeme Smith who appeared to let a cross simply hit him which allowed Lavery to slot home.
By the end of the game the bitter cold had gotten to us and full time whistle was met with a wry smile from the Pigeon as we knew we could head back to Barrels and try a few more ales and think back on a cracking day out.
Match Attendance - 396
Ticket Cost - £10
Train Ticket - We always try to find the best deal we can for travelling and because there's two of us coming from two different places, sometimes we need to do our homework to allow us to get the same trains and get the overall cheapest option. In this case we got two singles from Glasgow for £13 each and two singles from Edinburgh for £9 each. You can get singles from Edinburgh for around £5.50 but to get on the same train as each other, this meant we could get much cheaper tickets Glasgow to Berwick. This totaled £44 but being the savvy savers that we are, we each had a £10 voucher to spend at redspottedhanky.com which took the overall price down to £24. And as we split everything straight down the middle here at the pigeon, that was £12 each which isn't too shabby considering a Glasgow to Edinburgh return is £12.10!
Pie & Bovril - £3.10 (Tasty Pie & Meaty Bovril - 4/5)