The First Season

The First Season2017-05-07T15:25:29+00:00

The club competition in the initial season (1894- 195) of the HRDCA commenced on October 27 1894. The teams that appeared in the draw for the two competitions were:

Senior - Morpeth, East Maitland, Albion, Pearl, Greta. Junior - Hinton, Greta B, Morpeth B, East Maitland B, Albion B, Pearl B. (The term "Junior" referred not to non-adult but to those teams not considered strong enough to play in the senior competition).

The Association also drew up a program of district matches that included fixtures against Newcastle and Robertson (Upper Hunter) districts as well as an Association XI playing against the "Next 18 of the District" and against "18 Juniors". The first of these matches took place against Newcastle on October 11 1894, the weekend of the Flower Show. The players who made up the first official representative team of the HRDCA were' D Pryor, H Harden, L Moore, W Lipscomb, A Giles, C White, J Kerrigaru A Kerrigan, F Dight, R Norman and A Shaw. On this occasion the locals were successful defeating Newcastle by 262 to 117 with Leon Moore leading the way with 74 and W Lipscomb 70. This was to be the first of many inter- district clashes between the two Associations.

The first season was not without problems. A major dispute soon arose when the Pearl Club objected to the Association over the eligibility of one of the Albion players. It was claimed that the player did not reside in the Postal District of the club with which he was playing - a requirement under the initial Association rules. The outcome was that the Albion Club withdrew from the Association and fixtures against the Club were cancelled.

A "lot of bad blood" was engendered by the dispute.The Albions claimed that as a result they were "ostracised and boycotted" by other clubs and members of the Association had sent letters to the other clubs asking them not to play Albion. Dire predictions were made about the future of the Association. One correspondent wrote to the Mercury:

"The last Association here was destroyed by its interference with club cricket and this one will go the' same way. Let the Association confine its efforts to district cricket and allow the clubs to look after themselves". The controversy even led to a temporary split in relations with the Newcastle DCA when the latter attempted to mediate in the dispute. The whole problem cast a cloud over the first season of the HRDCA and was to affect the organisation of the senior competition in the following season.