Onwards and Upwards (1980-1989)
RCC 1st team, 1985
Rainhill’s first team, now captained by Peter Mercer, started the 1980s by finishing as runners-up in the Merseyside Competition Division One. Mercer played for the Merseyside Competition Representative side in the President’s Trophy Final defeat at Chester le Street, Durham. Ted Dickin also played a key role with both bat and ball, including an unbeaten 111 at Bromborough Pool.
In 1984 Dennis Cowley scored 700 League runs for the second team including a century (105) and five fifties.
By 1985 the first team (pictured, left) was captained by Peter Woods, who has kindly provided full statistics for the season. Woods scored an unbeaten 107, took 15 catches during the season and was one of four players to score more than 500 runs: Peter Mercer (658), Peter Woods (608), Ted Dickin (590) and George Hubbard (506).
In the following year Ted Dickin (pictured here) and George Hubbard both finished their long-playing careers. They were two quality players and true servants to the club. While full records are unfortunately unavailable to fully outline their achievements, Dickin scored in excess of 500 runs in the 1980, 1984 and 1985 seasons; Hubbard did the same in 1980 and 1982. In the Merseyside Competition, Dickin had a top score of 113 not out and best bowling figures of 8-39 (at Wavertree in 1980); Hubbard’s top score was 104.
Peter Mercer continued to score freely and in 1986 amassed 665 runs and took 68 wickets (at an average of 9.11). This was his third consecutive season of achieving in excess of five hundred plus runs and fifty wickets. In the process he also took a club record 9-17 and scored a season-best 105 not out. His batting and bowling averages for 1986 were among the best in the first division.
In the same year, Richard Crone scored a fantastic 100 not out for the second team, while Andrew Birkett claimed a hat trick in a 4-14 spell of bowling.
The following year Peter Mercer scored 616 league runs, while Dave Birkett took 64 wickets (at an average of 10.19) with season-best bowling figures of 8-21.
Mercer continued to be the club’s leading run scorer into the 1990s and in 1988 hit 577 league runs (also taking 51 wickets at an average of 10.94) including 100 not out in a home victory. In the following season Mercer scored 796 league runs including an unbeaten 131 versus Bromborough Pool. Dave Birkett was the leading wicket-taker in these years, with 63 league wickets in 1988 and 58 in the following year.
In 1988 a local newspaper carried an article outlining the club's recent achievements.
1989 saw the retirement of William (Bill) Jones (pictured here with Ted Dickin) – another player with a long career and for whom full records are not available. A quality batsman with a top score of 93 in the Merseyside Competition, Jones was an excellent wicket keeper who was a big character in the club.
As a talented joiner, Jones carried out a significant amount of work in building the current club. The Jones family had a huge impact on the club with Bill senior a longstanding umpire; his wife, Sadie, provided fabulous teas for many years. The other two sons, Les and Bob, also made strong contributions on the field over many seasons.