This year, Rainham CC celebrates 100 years of playing cricket at Berengrove Park.
Having played at a number of other grounds locally from 1856 onwards, the club had ambitions of playing a better standard of cricket and to fulfil a bigger fixture list finally got a break in 1923 when Lt Colonel H. E. Day of Berengrove House, gave the club permission to use his park in Berengrave Lane as their home ground. This was announced at the club’s Annual General Meeting in March 1923 held in the Rainham Church Hall. It was thought that this would provide the club with a better wicket and the privacy of their own ground.
Rainham Cricket Club had played occasional matches at the ground as early as 1883 with permission from the owner Reverend J. A. Walter. Lt. Colonel Day of the Royal Engineers had bought Berengrove along with Berengrove House in 1921 for £3,330 from the Walter family who had owned it for many years. Berengrove consisted of 18 acres with a house, outbuildings, a garden, an orchard, and a park. The house, which adjoined the park, later became a nursing home although during the 1920s Elizabeth, wife of King George VI regularly stayed there for an annual holiday as a guest of Lt Colonel Day. The cricket club rented the ground from Lt Colonel Day for £15 a year but by letting it out to Mr Longley, a local farmer for grazing at a cost of £25 they were able to cover their costs and make a profit. However, hurdle gates had to be placed around the cricket square to protect it from the livestock that grazed on the outfield. These had to be removed and returned at the beginning and end of each game. From 1937, Colonel Iremonger owned Berengrove Park and allowed Rainham Cricket Club to continue playing there and held the position of club president. He even had an indoor net constructed in the long room of Berengrove House so that the cricketers could practice there during the winter months. During World War Two, the Ministry of Defence took over the ground for food production and the cricket club had to play matches at the Langton Playing Fields until the war ended in 1945. In 1957, the new owner builder George Ward of Caldew House in Rainham, gave Berengrove Park to the people of Rainham as a gift but still allowed Rainham Cricket Club to play there on a lease. The ground was given over to the Charities Commission for the people of Rainham and to be looked after by Gillingham Council with a clause that the club should always be allowed to play there.