On Saturday, we will welcome the 117th team to our list of league opponents as we travel to Gorsey Lane to play Warrington Rylands 1906.
This article is always called ‘Have We Met’ and the answer to this question, for the second time this month, is no, we haven’t!
So what do we know of our hosts this weekend?
They have made their way into the Northern Premier League on that well trodden path of playing in the North West Counties League, much like ourselves.
But their time in the NWCFL was relatively short, having only joined in 2018/19 and waltzed their way through Division One South before the Covid roadblock stood in the way of a second successive promotion as they were sat in second place in the Premier Division when the leagues were deemed null and void. A very familiar tale of a missed opportunity.
Ahead of the 2020/21 season, they changed their name once again to their current Warrington Rylands 1906 moniker, in an attempt to appeal to the wider community of the Cheshire town.
It was probably something of a masterstroke as seeing the name of Warrington at Wembley would certainly have done that as they won the FA Vase in May this year, beating Binfield 3-2 with Elliot Nevitt scoring a hat-trick. From Step 5 of non-league, he went straight into professional football when Tranmere Rovers came calling and the striker is now a regular in League Two.
With another Covid crippled season in 2020/21, Rylands were in second place in the fledgling table but a calculation across the two seasons saw them promoted to Step 4 for the first time in their history alongside Bootle and 1874 Northwich.
Their history hasn’t just been about 2018 onwards, they were formed in 1906 as part of the local works team – Rylands Brothers being a wire manufacturer in the town (maybe unsurprisingly, given the town’s oft-used nickname of ‘Wire’).
Rylands had spells in Lancashire Combination, Warrington and District League, Mid Cheshire League and Cheshire League before applying to join the NWCFL.
But it has not all been plain sailing. There have been spells of turmoil and difficulty and in 2008, amalgamated with Crosfields FC but reverted back to Rylands in 2012/13 when new sponsors arrived to breath new life into the club.
Some extensive work on the ground at Gorsey Lane ensured they were ready for semi-professional football and we will discover them when we arrive on Saturday for the first time.
So it is a welcome to the Northern Premier League for Warrington Rylands 1906 – becoming the third team that we have played with numbers in their name (Darlington 1883 and 1874 Northwich the others).