Waning Interest

Waning Interest2017-05-21T15:39:47+00:00

The 1936-37 season was marked by a waning of cricket interest, despite an MCC tour during that season.

The number of affiliated clubs dropped from 27 to 20 compared to the previous season, and the number of teams from 38 to 25. It was even found necessary to abandon the C grade competition because of lack of entries.

A new competition for under 20 year olds was introduced, with entries being limited to clubs that could provide a wicket within a radius of two and a half miles of the East Maitland and West Maitland post offices. However, the response was disappointing with only three clubs entering teams - Robins, East Maitland and Marist Bros..

The A grade competition again saw some changes with Louth Park dropping out, Cessnock United entering as Cessnock, and Weston as Weston United. The 7 team competition was evenly contested with 4 teams still having a chance of taking out the premiership, with one round match to be played. With an outright win over Robins, Marist Bros. emerged as the ultimate winner, while Weston United finished a close second.

J Patfield (Northern Division) headed the bowling aggregate with 42 wickets, while Frank Coffey (Marist Bros.) had another successful season to top the bowling averages with 36 wickets at 10.66. Ernie Kent (Robins) headed the batting aggregate with 524 runs at 47.8, passing the 500 mark before Christmas and making the highest individual score of 172. He was followed in the aggregate by Harold Hatcher (Branxton) with 444 runs and Jack Drane (Marist Bros.) with 424.

The A Reserve grade was won by Paterson, which thereby became outright holders of the Howarth Cup, having previously been premiers in that grade in the 1932-33 season.

After a break of five seasons, Country Week in Sydney was revived by the NSWCA. Thirty-two teams competed in the five day Carnival held in early November 1936. Hunter River was one of five Hunter Valley Associations to enter and played Tamworth, Yass, Leeton, Goulburn and the Federal Capital. Best performers for Hunter River were Ross Macmillan (166 runs and 11 wickets), Frank Coffey (9 wickets) and Don Denny (226 runs). At the end of the Carnival Frank Coffey was selected to play for Combined Country against City Colts.

Ross Macmillan was later selected to play for NSW Team against Gubby Allen's MCC team in Newcastle on December 26-28 1936. In a drawn match, reduced to one day because of rain, MCC scored 4-178 in reply to NSW CounĂ¥y's 4-188.

With the resumption of Country Week in Sydney, the John Bull Shield competition which had been conducted for five seasons in conjunction with the modified Northern Country Week Carnival, was allowed to lapse.

During the season the Association introduced some changes in its administrative structure. A Board of Control was set up, consisting of the President, Secretary, Treasurer and eight other members elected by club delegates - a system that has continued up to the present, with the only modification being that the number of Board members has been reduced from eight to six. A finance committee was also appointed to keep a watch on the Association's finances which had been gradually dwindling over the past ten seasons.

The four new turf wickets that had been reconstructed at the Park by the West Maitland Council came into use during the season. These, together with Robins Oval, provided the Association with an excellent cricket complex, with five grounds all in close proximity to one another.

The Annual Report made reference to "a menace to the welfare of not only cricket but practically all sport the pernicious influence of starting price betting" which it claimed had grown "to alarming proportions in recent years with the aid of the broadcasting companies".