Further Progress, Qureshi erA (2010-2016)

Mohammad Aslam Qureshi

Rainhill’s first team established themselves in the LDCC Division One, finishing fourth in 2010. Mike Rotherham scored 597 league runs in the season including 105 not out against Sefton Park.  The second team missed out on promotion by ten points, ending the season in third place in the LDCC 2nd XI Division Two.  They were aided by the batting of Matt Dooling who scored an unbeaten 129 in a victory over Hightown. The third team improved on the previous season’s second place to finish as league champions.

The biggest change for the club at the beginning of a new decade was the building of a new extension for changing rooms. This was built with funding support from ECB/Football Foundation with Derrick Sparkes leading the project. A new scorebox was also built following a successful funding application by Jonathan Ford for £6,000 to the St Helens Youth Fund.

The following year saw the first team once again finish in fourth place in Division One. Mike Rotheram again scored more than 500 runs over the season and hit his third career century in a home victory over Prestatyn. Mohammad Aslam Qureshi, from Pakistan, joined as our overseas professional. In his first season, bowling left arm spin, Qureshi took 87 league wickets at an average of 11.54 and hit 611 League runs with a top score of 94.

A further grant, obtained from the St Helens Youth Fund by Ryan Hayes, secured new covers for the wicket.

In 2012 the first team –for the third successive season – finished fourth in Division One. Mike Rotheram again was the outstanding batsman, recording his top score of the season – 110 – in a win at Alder. Mohammad Aslam Qureshi took 75 league wickets at an average of 9.71.

The second team secured promotion with runners-up in Division Two. The under 20s, captained by Phil Veacock, won the LDCC Bridging Solutions (U20s) T20 Cup.

Qureshi took 106 wickets in 2013 (at an average of 8.98) and scored 506 league runs as the first team finished as runners up in Division One, earning promotion to the LDCC Premier League – the highest standard of league cricket in the area. Paul Ford scored his third century for the club with 101 in a win over St Helens Town, while David Atkinson made his maiden first team hundred with an unbeaten 104 in defeat at Orrell Red Triangle.

In their first season in the Premier League, Rainhill’s first team finished in a credible ninth place. Mohammad Aslam Qureshi took 94 wickets at an average of 8.30. The second team finished ninth in the 2nd XI Division One; Rob McKeown hit his first century for them with an unbeaten 127 in a drawn match at Lytham. James Clarke was selected for Lancashire’s under 11s.

In 2015 the first team were again competitive in the Premier League, finishing seventh. Once more Qureshi was the star bowler and his spin took 97 league wickets at an average of 9.42 – including 9-80 in a win over Bootle.

The following year proved to be Qureshi’s last with Rainhill. After helping the first team to an eighth place finish in the Premier League with 79 wickets, he left after six fabulous seasons. Fondly known as ‘Mac’, he took a remarkable total of 538 wickets in the league with 67 five wickets hauls. His wickets came at an average of 9.80 with an economy rate of 2.00 runs per over. Mac also scored 2497 league runs with a top score of 94.

2016 also saw long-serving wicketkeeper Simon Brown move from the club. He had formed a highly successful partnership with ‘Mac.’ Also a very useful batsman, Brown’s top score of the season was a match winning 83 against Colwyn Bay. In his time with Rainhill, Brown scored in excess of 500 league runs on three seasons: 1994, 2009 and 2013. After four seasons with St Helens Town, Brown returned to Rainhill in 2021.

The second team had a mixed season and finished in eighth place. The outstanding match of the year was a home victory over Northop Hall in which Phil Veacock scored 105 in Rainhill’s total of 163 before the visitors were bowled out for 82.