Improvements and progression (1939-1970)
Ronald Mercer's bat
In 1952, Ronald Mercer (father of current president Peter Mercer) scored 1000 runs and took 100 wickets in one season. For this phenomenal feat he was awarded a Gunn and Moore bat by the club. A photograph of the 1952 team, including Ronald Mercer, can be viewed here.
From 1955 Rainhill Cricket Club used a building at the railway end of the ground near to the current machinery hut. This building was the size of a 20 ft garage with a central door and changing rooms either side of a central corridor. A similar sized shed alongside this building was used for teas.
Two years later chairman Peter Houghton purchased a 44’ x 20’ wooden hut from an airfield in Stretton. The hut was assembled across the old changing rooms. It had a veranda on the front and a scorebox on the side. Houghton's son, Peter Houghton junior was pictured standing in front of the newly acquired structure in 1958. Houghton junior was an excellent bowler for Rainhill and, in 1962, received a trophy from his father for taking 100 wickets in a season
In 1962, further ground improvements saw a septic tank fitted following extensive digging. This was enhanced by a breeze block extension, which provided for the first-time flushing men’s and women’s toilets. A year later a bar licence was secured and alcohol was provided on the premises for the first time.
In September 1964 local youths set the mainly wooden building structure on fire and the whole building was reduced to rubble. Keith Welsby rang the fire brigade by running down Victoria Terrace to use the phone box at the bottom of View Road. At that time there was no phone at the club. The Fire Brigade was unable to access the club via the Victoria Terrace entrance.
At some point prior to the fire the Club Treasurer, Harry Finney (father to current scorer Andrew Finney) had prudently increased the insurance on the building, which provided the monies to build a new clubhouse. Following extensive discussions, it was agreed to clear the old tennis courts and build a large brick clubhouse.
Many of the cricketers supported the project, including Ted Dickin, George Hubbard, Bill Jones, and Frank Davies. Tennis Member Keith Forber led the project and it is suggested that the hardcore for the footings came from a demolished church. Keith Welsby, a Rainhill player in the 1950s, wrote about his experiences at the club, the old wooden structures and the construction of the new clubhouse.
Progress was also taking place on the field. The first team (pictured here in the late 1960s) acquired several promising players on which its future success would be built and, in 1970, the club’s second team were Merseyside Cricket Association League Champions.