GUOOF-City Enters First Grade

///GUOOF-City Enters First Grade
GUOOF-City Enters First Grade2018-07-24T01:51:26+00:00

GUOOF-City entered first grade in 1968-69, following an amalgamation between GUOOF and Combined City Clubs. The merger was of mutual benefit to both clubs, as Combined City with only a first grade had been struggling for players, while GUOOF had shown its strength in lower grades by winning premierships in third-grade divisions 1 and 2 and the final in Division 3 the previous season.

The GUOOF-City first grade team included three McKinnon brothers (Noel, Peter and Ross), Tom Lantry, Alan Lye, Graham Searles, Ron Roy and John Gulliver (from Greta club).

For the third consecutive season, Northern District won the first grade premiership. Included in their line- up were a number of younger players - David and Peter Rawling, David Johnston, Paul Moore and Roger Moylanjnr.

For the first time, a full round of one day and a full round of two day matches were played in first grade. A major and minor final was also played in first grade, with first playing second in the major final and third playing fourth in the minor.

Northern District played Eastern Suburbs in the major final, while Western Suburbs played Black Hill in the minor final. Only one day's play was possible out of the scheduled three days, and both matches were drawn.

Ron Allen (Eastern Suburbs) headed the batting aggregate with 613 runs, while his brother Ray was top of the averages with 509 runs at 84.8. Another Eastern Suburbs batsman, Colin Elliott, passed the 500 mark with 587. Dave Rutherford (Northern District) headed the bowling aggregate and averages with 71 wickets at 10.5. Bob Maundrell (Black Hill) was the only other bowler to take 50 wickets in first grade.

Two promising young players to come into prominence during the season were Rodney Lawrence, a pace bowler with Eastern Suburbs, and Arnold Roberts, a leg-spinner, playing with Police Boys. Rodney was second in the first-grade bowling averages with 46 wickets at 11.7 while Arnold took 44 wickets at 13.2.

There were some outstanding bowling performances in the lower grades. In second-grade veteran Bert Coffey (Rurals) took 83 wickets, while in third grade Lindsay Bignall (Branxton) took 84 wickets, Billy Dunn (Black Hill) 84, and Geoff Wilkins (Gillieston Heights).

In an attempt to give more opportunities to senior representative players, Maitland entered two teams in the John Bull Shield competition. The No.1 team finished second to Cessnock, while the No.2 team finished equal sixth. For the No.1 team, Colin Elliott scored 354 runs and Dave Rutherford took 42 wickets.

Colin Elliott and Warren Trappel were selected in the Combined Services team to play Metropolitan. Jeff Crittenden (capt.) and Rodney Lawrence toured NZ with the Emu Colts team. David Johnston, Geoff Saxby and John Dennis were chosen in the State Under 14 schoolboys team, while Craig Evans, Glen Preston and Michael Cox were selected for the State primary schools team.

In the Maitland Under 15 junior competition, John Peacock took 6 wickets in 6 balls for GUOOF again Eastern Suburbs. To assist players selected for touring representative teams, the Association set up a representative player fund to provide players with loans, if required.

At the Annual Meeting Noel Proctor, who had been involved in the administration of the Association since 1938 was made a Life Member. Clearances were also introduced for the player wishing to transfer from one club to another.