Northern Cricket Carnival at Maitland

///Northern Cricket Carnival at Maitland
Northern Cricket Carnival at Maitland2017-05-21T15:28:04+00:00

In the 1933-34 season Maitland was the host venue for the Northern Cricket Week Carnival held at the end of December 1933. Organized by the Hunter Valley Cricket Council and with the official sanction and financial support of the NSWCA, the Carnival was the biggest ever held in the northern part of NSW.

Ten county districts participated with seven HVCC Association teams and three northern district teams from the Lower North Coast, Upper North Coast and the Far North. The latter was a new entry and included players from Glen Innes, Armidale, Tamworth, Guyra, Manilla and Gunnedah.

Matches were played over a five day period on four Maitland turf wickets and at Morpeth. The Hunter River squad for the "home" Carnival was: W Jarrett(capt.), V Wright, R Simmons, R Macmillan, E Kent, G Matthews, J Erskine jnr, J Patfield, R(Roy) Allen, I Hudson, D Ralston, P Maher and R Robertson.

Newcastle, which was undefeated, won the Carnival and the John Bull Shield on averages from Far North, with Hunter River finishing third. However, after a protest by Muswellbrook to the NSWCA over the eligibility of one of the Upper Hunter players (JS White), the matches in the Carnival against Upper Hunter were declared null and void, and on a reallocation of points the John Bull Shield was awarded to Far North.

A State selector, RCM Boyce, attended the Carnival and shortly afterwards a Combined Country team was announced to play Metropolitan at the SCG on January 11 and 12 1934. Ross Macmillan, who had scored 209 runs and taken 8 wickets for Hunter River at the Carnival, was chosen in the Combined Country side.

Even though the format of the John Bull Shield competition had been changed, the HVCC still continued with its junior competition played on public holidays. In 1933-34 this was won by Hunter River for the third time since its introduction in 1926-27.

The local A grade competition took on an unusual composition with Robins and Northern Division both entering No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Considering that there was an A Reserve grade, this was not a very satisfactory situation, but as both clubs had so many players graded A grade, they were obliged to enter two teams in the senior grade or else risk losing players to other clubs. Dungog did not re-affiliate, and Greta reverted to B grade, leaving an eight team competition.

East Maitland Club, upset at the regrading of its A grade entry to A Reserve, withdrew both of its team entries from the Association. As an alternative, it was mainly responsible for the formation of a Friendly Cricket Association that emerged later in the season and organised a five team competition.

Robins No. 1 won the A grade competition by two points from Branxton and Northern Division No. 1. In a dramatic last round match that decided the premiership, Northern Division scored a whirlwind 251 runs in 95 minutes in a desperate attempt to overtake the 310 scored by Robins. At this stage with no compulsory closure after the first day, Robins had batted on for over an hour on the second day before being dismissed. The Northern Division innings started at 3.15 pm and ended at 4.50 pm!

Players from the Robins Club figured prominently in the districict A grade averages. Ross Macmillan had a fine double with 481 runs and 51 wickets; R Simmons took 54 wickets; and Les McPherson and Ernie Kent both scored 585 runs to top the district aggregate. Mick Hinman, the youngster who had shown such promising form with North Park, also played with Robins A grade, taking 47 wickets and scoring 232 runs. In one match against Morpeth he took 7 for 12 off 8.3 overs, and in the early pre-season after a successful schoolboy tour of the North Coast, he played in Sydney with "McCabe's XI " against "Bradman's XI" and had the satisfaction of taking Bradman's wicket.

Two outstanding all-round performances in A grade were those of J Patfield (Northern Division) with 70 wickets and 403 runs, and Frank Coffey (Marist Bros.) with 500 runs and 44 wickets

The A Reserve, B and C grades were won by Marist Bros., Raymond Terrace and Tenambit respectively. In A Reserve grade Bert Coffey(Marist Bros.) took 105 wickets and E Murrell (Mulbring) took 10 wickets in an innings for 8 runs. In C grade three players A Wyborn, L Wyborn (Brunkerville) , and W Seymour (Morpeth) - topped 100 wickets for the season.

The season ended in an unfortunate manner, At the previous Annual Meeting a resolution had been passed eliminating finals in all grades. However, the competition which extended to the end of April, overlapped with the winter sports of football and baseball, and resulted in many forfeits. The situation become so farcical that in the last round only one match was played in both A and A Reserve grades - all the others being forfeited.

Three additional turf wickets were laid down during the season - by Kurri Kurri, Maitland Brotherhood (on the Park) and Branxton. The latter had hoped to construct their turf wicket much earlier but had run into problems over obtaining a suitable water supply.

With 46 members available for appointment the Umpires Association was in the enviable position of "closing its books" deciding not to accept any further nominations of officiating members.

JE Tippett, who retired as President of the HRDCA at the end of the season following a move to Newcastle, was awarded Life Membership of the Association.