THIS Wednesday will truly see the end of an era when Kilwinning Rangers bid farewell to Abbey Park with a home game against fierce rivals Auchinleck Talbot in the McBookie Premiership.

This will end 90 years of football at the celebrated old ground in Dovecot Lane as the Abbey Park side make their much-documented move to Kilwinning Sports Club.

Kilwinning Rangers were originally formed as a juvenile club in 1899 and initially shared Blacklands Park with the now-defunct Kilwinning Eglinton.

Buffs later moved to Woodwynd Park and Claremont Park close to the former Kilwinning East railway station.

They moved to Abbey Park, near Kilwinning Abbey, in 1929 and have remained there ever since with the old ground playing host to countless memorable triumphs.

Irvine Times:

Buffs have won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1908-9 and then more recently in 1998-99 when Gerry Peline was on target and the town staged one of its biggest ever parties.

That formed part of a “double treble” of trophies, which also included the West of Scotland Cup, Jackie Scarlett Cup, Ayrshire First Division, Irvine Times Cup and Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald Cup.

They won the West Superleague Premier Division in 2003-4 and Ayrshire District League nine years later.

The West of Scotland Cup was also captured in 1993–94.

Irvine Times:

The Ayrshire First Division successes were in: 1920–21, 1922–23, 1927–28, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1965–66, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01.

There have been countless successful players wearing the blue and white at Abbey Park and aside from Peline we have had the likes of Alan McTurk, Norman Montgomery, Derek Anderson, Bob Currie, Duncan Currie, Garry Fleming, Dylan Kerr, David McKellar, Marc McKenzie and Colin Meldrum.

Manager and former player Chris Strain has been involved in many memorable moments at the Abbey and hopes for a great send-off in their last league game of the season.

He said: “Abbey Park has a great atmosphere and I enjoy playing there. I have become used to all the lumps and bumps on the pitch.

“In recent seasons the playing surface has been excellent and really great to play on.

“We look forward to the Talbot match. Auchinleck Talbot are going for the league and we don’t want them winning on our patch.

“We look forward to moving on to Kilwinning Sports Club, which will be a new chapter for us.”

Former Buffs assistant boss Jim Cockburn has great memories of the famous old ground. He said: “Abbey Park will always be associated with Kilwinning Rangers and as a player and coach I found there was a great atmosphere at the ground.

“But the club want to move on.

“The changing room facilities are beyond repair.”

Auchinleck Talbot manager and Buffs legend Tommy Sloan, an ex-team mate of Chris Strain, admits he will feel some emotion. He said: “It’s always disappointing when any club moves ground.

“The old junior grounds are the best ones. “It will be sad, especially for all the Buffs fans.

“You are going from Abbey Park to a more open facility like a public Park.

“If it benefits the club it’s a good idea.

“It’s always sad to move from a ground with a great history.

“I had a great time at Kilwinning and we had a really good support. it’s always a tough place to go and win.

“I was there for five or six years and it’s nice to be involved in the last game at Abbey Park which will be an important one for us.”

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