Retirement of Col Johnston

Retirement of Col Johnston2018-07-24T03:22:08+00:00

Northern District won the club championship, the first grade premiership and the second grade division 1 premiership and final. Their first grade team, captained by David Rawling, who had taken over from his father Doug, was undefeated in the competition rounds, but lost the final to Eastern Suburbs which took out its fourth consecutive first grade final.

In addition to the first grade final, Eastern Suburbs won two other finals in third grade division 2 and 3.

Masonite Club had a triple success in third grade - winning the premierships in all three divisions.

At the start of the season Weston Kurri changed its name to Kurri Kurri Workers Club.

In a low scoring season Terry Finch (Kurri Workers) headed the first grade batting aggregate with 460 runs, while Ray Allen took out the average with 316 runs at 52.6. Warren Trappel (Northern District) was the leading bowler with 46 wickets.

In second grade division 2 Ron Duggan, playing for Branxton against GUOOF-City, added his name to the list of bowlers who have taken all ten wickets in an innings, with 10 for 24.

In third grade division 3 Harold Saxby of Largs took 106 wickets at an average of 6.6.

In representative cricket Maitland lost the John Bull Shield to Gosford-Wyong but won the RA Dransfield Colts trophy for the third consecutive season. A new Under 16 competition introduced by the Hunter Valley Cricket Council was won by Maitland which was undefeated. Among the promising youngsters in this team were Michael Mate, Mark Evans, Des Hitchcock, Paul and Rodney Douglas, Rick Allen, Wayne Callaghan and Peter Allen (son of Ron Allen).

After defeating Newcastle City, Gloucester and Singleton in the early rounds, the Maitland senior representative team reached the final of the Hunter Valley Knockout competition. In an exciting final, Maitland failed by one run in the last over to reach the Wallsend total.

Rodney Lawrence and Peter Rawling were selected in the combined Hunter Valley/Newcastle team that played against Metropolitan.

Peter and David Rawling, Rodney Lawrence and Warren Trappel were in the Hunter Valley team that played Petersham -Marrickville in a Rothmans Knockout match.

Maitland had four representatives in the Emu Col team that toured Tasmania - David Rawling (vice-capt.). Peter Rawling, Michael Cox and Phil Warby. Michael Cox's selection 'Yas of special significance in that it wasn't the first time that the son of a former Emu Colt had been picked in a later Emu team an ohn Cox had been a member of the 1949 Emu Colts team).

Craig Evans was chosen in the State CHS team and also for the Country Boys Coaching class. The Junior Association introduced an Under 14 competition, in addition to the Under 15. The Maitland Mercury also conducted a mid-week Daylight Saving competition that was played on the Mt Pleasant Street wickets.

A new oval at Rutherford came into use as a second home ground for Western Suburbs. New dressing sheds for the outer wickets were constructed at Maitland Park by the Maitland City Council.

The Annual Meeting marked the end of an era with the retirement of Col Johnston as President of the Association. Col had a record in the administration that was unsurpassed in the history of the Association. He had become a member of the Board in 1937-38 and after serving as Treasurer from 1938-42 and Vice-President from 1945-55, had been President for a record 19 years from 1955-73. He had also been President of the Hunter Valley Cricket Council from 1956-73.

During those years he exerted a tremendous influence on the development of cricket in the district and gave Maitland a very special character and place in the cricket world. His services to cricket and to the community were to be recognised four years later by the award of an MBE in the New Years' Honours List, and by the subsequent naming of the pavilion at Lorn Park as the "CA Johnston MBE Sports Pavilion" and of the wicket area in Mt Pleasant Street as the "Johnston Reserve".