Public Meeting on Cricket Decline – Fijian Visit

///Public Meeting on Cricket Decline – Fijian Visit
Public Meeting on Cricket Decline – Fijian Visit2017-05-07T17:04:52+00:00

Before the 1907-08 season got under way the Association, concerned at the decline of local cricket, called a public meeting at the end of August 1907 "to consider ways of fostering and improving cricket in the district". In opening the meeting, the Mayor said that he "understood that cricket in the town had got to a very low ebb". The Association Secretary since 1902, DLB Glasheen, confirmed that "the game had gone back" mainly through "lack of support of the public and the lack of interest taken by prominent players". He predicted that "if matters went on the same as in the past, the Association would have to close up".

Suggestions were then invited from the meeting about ways of trying to rectify the situation. A number of ideas were put forward, including the need to encourage younger players and the provision of more trophies for the competitions. Mr George Galton put forward an interesting proposal that a music band should be formed from the young cricketers - "Music and cricket blended well. He was sure music together with cricket would draw the crowd".

New hope was offered when Singleton and Cessnock were accepted into the Association at the Annual Meeting and entered teams in the senior competition. Southern Division, however, had disbanded and its district was absorbed into Western Division. The latter also appeared to be struggling as only two members (Leon Moore, the Secretary, and Chas E Wilks, the Treasurer) turned up for its Annual Meeting. With East Maitland and Northern, this made five teams in the senior competition. Singleton was to prove too strong and won the competition undefeated.

The Association attempted to bring new life into the Wednesday Half Holiday competition. Morpeth HH Club and the High School were persuaded to enter teams to bolster up the competition. A match was played between a Wednesday 15 and a Saturday 11; matches were arranged between a combined local Half Holiday team and teams from Sydney and the Allyn River; and a fancy dress costume match was even staged. However, there were still problems and it was later reported that the competition was not completed.

An unusual match was played at Maitland in December 1907 against a touring Fijian team. The Hunter District XI was led by Leon Moore while the Fijian team was captained by Ratu Kadavu Levu. In a two day match the visitors narrowly avoided defeat, scoring 146 and 9 for 147 against the locals' 348. The Fijians were real crowd pleasers - on the first day of the match they played in their national costume, and before leaving Maitland station to catch the Brisbane mail train for Armidale, they sang their Pacific Islanders' farewell song. The match also left the AssociationTreasurer smiling for there was a profit of over £36.

At Easter 1908 W R Iredale, who had played for the NSW team in the match arranged during the previous season, brought a Sydney team to Maitland.