A Promising Louth Park Junior

///A Promising Louth Park Junior
A Promising Louth Park Junior2017-05-21T14:44:03+00:00

Louth Park Club had a double success in the 1931/32 season, winning both the B and C grade premierships and finals. Their B grade team, which went through the season undefeated, was strengthened by the addition of the four Coffey brothers who transferred from the Gosforth club.

In their C grade Harry (Mick) Hinman, the youngest player in the district (only 11 years old) had a remarkable season with his spin bowling. Described as "a freak boy bowler" he took 132 wickets in all competition matches, including 14 wickets in the final. For this exceptional performance the Association awarded him the Gripu Cup and presented him with Clarrie Grimmett's book on the art of bowling. Mick was to become one of the best cricketers to come out of the Maitland district.

Other notable performances in C grade were by R Jonas(Thornton) and F Auckett (Paterson), who took 104 and 103 wickets respectively. Billy Ridgeway, an aboriginal player for Duckenfield, turned in some sensational performances to take 54 wickets and make 564 runs in C grade.

In A grade there were two additional entries Morpeth came back into the competition after an absence of three seasons, and Greta United came into A grade for the first time since the war.

For the third season in succession Northern Division won the A grade premiership and final. Marist Bros. contested the final for the first time since they won the premiership on entry into A grade in the 192C 21 season. A pennant and caps were awarded for the final in place of the Waller Shield, and a new trophy, the O'Hearn Cup, was awarded for the premiership.

Some individual honors in A grade went to members of the Morpeth Club. Gordon Bell who had transferred back to his old club was top of the batting aggregate and averages with 533 runs from 14 innings at an average of 44.1. Perc Maher, a fast bowler from the same club playing his first season in A grade headed the bowling averages with 25 wickets at 9.48. J Patfleld (Northern Division) and W Adams (Robins) finished equal in the bowling aggregate with 35 wickets each.

For the first time new boundaries defined by the NSW CA came into effect for the Hunter River, Cessnock and Newcastle Associations. This had arisen out of an earlier protest to the NSWCA by the Cessnock Association, that was concerned at the number of coalfields teams playing in the Maitland competition. Under the new arrangements the overhead bridge at Weston was taken as the dividing line between the Cessnock and Hunter River Associations. Clubs such as Weston and Hebburn were excluded from entering the Hunter River competition, while players residing on the Maitland side of the bridge had to seek permission to play in the Cessnock competition.

In representative cricket Gordon Bell was selected to play for Combined NSW Country against HB Cameron's South African team at Newcastle on December 11, 12 and 14 1930. J Paffleld, an all-rounder from the Northern Division Club, was twelfth man for the match. The Combined Country team was captained by Halford Hooker, a State player who had opened a sports store branch in Newcastle.

The Country Week Carnival was suspended because of financial difficulties. A proposal by the NSWCA for a financial levy on country Associations to offset the cost was not favourably received, and so the decision was made to abandon Country Week for the season.

The Hunter Valley Cricket Council took advantage of the opportunity to conduct a Country Week of its own in the Hunter Valley. For a number of seasons there had been growing dissatisfaction about playing John Bull Shield matches on public holidays, and so as an alternative it was decided to play all matches in one centre in a four day period over Chritmas. Matches were played at Scone, Muswellbrook and Singleton. The local Association, along with Gosford, did not participate, arguing that it was not in a financial position to pay for the travelling and accommodation costs of its players. There was some regret later about this decision, when the Carnival which was won by Newcastle proved to be very successful and was hailed as "a vast improvement" on the previous format.

The 1930-31 season took place against the background of the growing effects of the Great Depression with its economic gloom and human misery. The "hard times" had a serious effect on the Association's finances. At the Annual Meeting the Treasurer reported a loss of $138/ 12/11 on the season. There was still a credit balance, but this was mainly as a result of the profits of the 1925 Gilligan match.

The Depression, however, did have some beneficial side-effects for cricket. For example, in January 1932 "a working bee of 8 unemployed" built a much-needed bush shelter cricket shed on the Thornton recreation ground adjoining the cricket ground. The Mercury reported that it would be "a boon for the lady spectators and visiting teams and scorers".

The Depression was also partly responsible for the growth in numbers of the Umpires Association. By 1931-32 this organization had grown to the extent that it had more than 40 active members and was able to appoint two umpires to every match in all grades, and still have umpires left over - a far cry from the situation today! Apparently, though by no means overpaid at 5/6 an afternoon, umpires still had a chance "of earning a few bob" on a Saturday afternoon, that they might not otherwise have had.

At the Annual Meeting Life Membership was conferred on the retiring President of the HRDCA, Isaac Clyde, thereby giving him the honor of becoming the first Life Member of the Association.