Vic Wright,a left arm spin bowler from the Marist Bros. Club, had some remarkable bowling successes during the 1932-33 season.
His most outstanding performance was when playing for Northern District in Newcastle on February 18,20 and 21 1933 against Douglas Jardine's MCC team that had stirred up such controversy and hostility with its "bodyline" or "leg theory " bowling. Wright took 6 wickets for 79 off 24.2 overs to help dismiss the MCC for 254 runs, 68 short of the Northern District's total of 322. Wright's victims were Hobbs, Wyatt, Leyland, Tate, Voce and Bowes. In recognition of his fine bowling effort, he was later presented with a specially inscribed and mounted cricket ball.
Earlier in the season at the John Bull Shield Carnival Week held in Newcastle at the end of December 1932, Wright took 30 wickets for 236 runs at an average of 7.8. The Carnival was contested by six Association teams from the Hunter Valley Cricket Council, and two other teams from the North Coast and Far North Coast, which had been included at the recommendation of the NSWCA. Despite Wright's performance, the John Bull Shield was again won by Newcastle by a two points margin from Hunter River and the Upper Hunter.
In the local competition Wright ended the season with 46 wickets at an average of 14.17 to place him fourth in the bowling aggregate.
There were 8 teams in the A grade competition. East Maitland dropped out, but there were two new entries - one from Dungog and the other from North Park, which had been B grade premiers the previous season. New turf wickets at Greta and Morpeth helped to improve playing conditions for the A grade teams. However, the Association lost the use of the wicket at the Showground, where the lease was taken over by the Mechanical Coursing Association for greyhound racing.
Morpeth was successful in winning its second A grade premiership since the war. Much of its success was due to the batting of Gordon Bell, the Cornell brothers (Clarrie and Johnny), and Jack Newton, while Perc Maher was the best of the bowlers.
In one match against Dungog on March 18 1933 two of Morpeth's batsmen, Clarrie Cornell (139) and Jack Newton (125), shared in a record district fourth wicket partnership of 267. In another match against Marist Bros. on November 21 1932 Perc Maher took 5 for 25 and 9 for 4.
Such performances of "Bell's Warriors" stimulated a lot of interest in the Morpeth district, and on Saturday afternoons the club could count on a strong group of regular supporters in the grandstand at their home ground.
In the A grade final however, Branxton caused an upset by defeating the premiers, Morpeth, to win the Rowley James Shield - a new trophy donated by the Federal parliamentary, member for Hunter to replace the Waller Shield. On the last day Morpeth had only 91 to win with 9 wickets in hand, but collapsed to be all out for 65.
The season was a record as far as individual aggregates in A grade were concerned. No fewer than 10 players exceeded 500 runs, with 3 passing the 60() mark - D Ralston (Greta) 688; G Bell (Morpeth) 661; and W Frazer (Dungog) 625. W Jarrett(Northern) headed the batting averages with 582 runs at an average of 64.66. Three players also took 50 wickets or more P Maher (Morpeth) 69; R Macmillan (Robins) 61; and A Hatcher (Branxton) 50.
For the first time an A Reserve grade was introduced. This attracted 8 entries - Kurri Kurri, Brunkerville, Duckenfield, Mulbring, Paterson, Louth Park, Northern Division and Robins. A new trophy - the Howarth Cup - was donated for this grade by Mr A Howarth MLA.
New entries in the B and C grades were Bishop's Bridge, Largs, Hinton, Tenambit and East Greta Junction.
The premierships in A Reserve, B and C grades were all won by "outside" teams - Paterson, Thornton and Black Hill respectively.
Two former Maitland players who had transferred to Sydney clubs - Frank Cummins (Manly) and Clem Hill (North Sydney) - were selected to play for NSW during 1932-33. Oddly enough in their match against Queensland they would have played against a former Maitland cricketer, Charlie Andrews, who was selected to play for that State. In one Shield match against Queensland in Sydney, Hill scored 108 runs (17 and 91) and took 12 wickets (7-18 and 5-12).
The Maitland umpires played their Newcastle Disfrict counterparts in "a friendly holiday match" at Christmas. Reuben Dransfield, the Secretary of the local Umpires Association, arranged for the match a special "ashes frophy, contained in a small calico bag, safely ensconced in a neat little wooden cabinet". Similar matches were arranged in the 1930s against the Newcastle C & S umpires with an inscribed gavel as the trophy.
At the Annual Meeting of the HRDCA reference was made of the loss to Maitland district cricket of Gordon Bell who was moving to Sydney to play with Randwick.