So, here we are at the start of November. The clocks have just gone back and the darker nights will be drawing in fast – winter is on its way.
But the month of November will see the arrival of two new teams onto our historical list of opponents in the shape of 1874 Northwich and Warrington Rylands 1906.
Let’s answer the question that these articles always pose first. Have We Met 1874 Northwich? No, we haven’t.
And they will become the 116th different side in our semi-professional history that we would have come against in league competition.
1874 Northwich, a breakaway from the long established Northwich Victoria, were founded in November 2012, registered with the Cheshire FA and then applied to join the North West Counties League for the 2013/14 season.
They set up the name of 1874 Northwich, avoiding the use of Vics or Victoria for possible legal reasons so included the year that the old club were originally formed as a nod to their history.
A third place finish in Division One of the NWCFL saw them originally miss out on promotion. That was until Formby, who finished second, resigned from the league and 1874 were promoted instead.
What followed was a number of years of outstanding success, winning the NWCFL Challenge Cup in 2018/19 and 2019/21 (delayed due to Covid-19) and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Vase in 2017/18, losing on aggregate to eventual winners Thatcham Town.
With the 2020/21 season curtailed once again, the NWCFL were able to promote three sides to the NPL when play did resume, working it all out on a points per game calculation.
The three sides promoted were second placed Warrington Rylands, Bootle who were in ninth place but had only played three games with three wins and 1874 Northwich, sat in 10th – however, the calculations were made across the previous two seasons!
They are currently ground sharing with Barnton at their Townfield ground. It is certainly a busy hive of clubs in that local vicinity with Witton Albion to the east of the town too (who Victoria now share with).
So we welcome 1874 Northwich to the NPL West Division for the first time and our first meeting with them – although there will be a familiar face in the home dugout in the shape of Wayne Goodison, who was an assistant manager to Jon Robinson and Garry Vaughan at Rammy in 2015/16 and stood in for a couple of games at the end of that season when Vaughan stood down. Wayne is now joint manager of 1874 and has been since 2017.
Our hosts become the second side that we have played in league games to have numbers in their name – Warrington Rylands 1906 will be the third at the end of the month.
The other? Our play-off semi-final opponents from 2014? Ah yes, Darlington 1883 (who have now reverted back to being Darlington FC). Who can ever forget them…. and the 1,926 spectators at Heritage Park on 30 April 2014. Don’t mention Owen Roberts!!!