Berwick RFC team manager confirms promotion after East Region 1 title

Scott Owens, Cammy Rogerson, Owen Weatherhead and Ali Grieve (Pic by Mike Hardie)
Scott Owens, Cammy Rogerson, Owen Weatherhead and Ali Grieve (Pic by Mike Hardie)

Team manager Owen Weatherhead confirmed that Berwick will be competing in the National League 3 next season, after a “superb” campaign – which sees them undefeated to this point.

The title has always looked likely for a Berwick side that have simply been a class above, but promotion to the unregionalised National League 3 can either be accepted or rejected – with the club giving that decision to the players.

The players, according to team manager Owen Weatherhead, were unanimous in their desire to play at the higher level.

“We are going to take promotion,” he confirmed to the Berwickshire News after the club’s 56-17 victory over Broughton (report P46).

“We have already looked at the teams in the league above and what we are going to have to do. The recruitment drive has started and we are hopeful of getting a few boys in to bolster the squad.

“Although the squad is good enough as it is, it probably just needs three or four just to add to the numbers because it is tough going into the national leagues. But we are very much looking forward to the challenge.”

Promotion comes without a defeat for Berwick. However, they were behind at half-time against Broughton on Saturday, with the manager putting that down to a few factors.

“There were nerves and silly mistakes led to their tries. We were missing one-on-one tackles which we haven’t missed all season – we can put that down to nerves.

“But we only had the ball half a dozen times and scored three times, so we knew if we got control of it in the second half then we’d be OK.

“The talk at half time was don’t panic, keep doing what we are doing and it will all work out in the end and thankfully it did.”

Berwick now have just two games left to play, against Forrester on April 20 and Portobello on April 27. Weatherhead admitted that he won’t be totally satisfied unless the undefeated season is complete.

“We will commit fully to those two games and go the whole league campaign unbeaten but it will be tricky.

“There are now four teams getting relegated out of the East 1, and Portobello and Forrester are right in the mix, so they are going to be fighting for their lives.

“We will take the professional attitude we have had all season and go and try to win both of those games.”

In terms of next season’s division, there were a few long trips on the cards – but some of those now look unlikely with Orkney sitting in the relegation zone and Gordonians (Aberdeen) topping the table and gaining promotion. Caithness will provide the longest trip for Berwick.

Those trips, or a lack of, were not a deciding factor in the decision to go up.

“We said we wanted to go back to the National Leagues no matter who was there,” Weatherhead said.

“If Orkney do stay up and we have to go there then we will embrace it like we did the last time – when we set off at seven on the Saturday morning and didn’t get back until six on the Sunday night!”

The Berwick team manager summed up by thanking everyone involved with the title success.

“We used in the region of 30-35 players to win the league and every single one of them has been outstanding. Special mention to the president Colin Frame, he has beeScn a tremendous president and has been brilliant for myself, Colin, Paul and the players.”