David Johnston’s State Selection

///David Johnston’s State Selection
David Johnston’s State Selection2018-07-24T22:55:04+00:00

The 1977-78 season saw the selection of former Maitland player David Johnston in the State team for the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia at the SCG. He thereby became the first Maitland player since Frank Cummins in 1932-33 to play for the State. Originally named as twelfth man, David received his opportunity when another player withdrew because of injury and scored an impressive half-century on his debut, which earnt him a place in the team for the remainder of the season. Prior to his selection, David and another former Maitland cricketer Michael Cox had also played for State Colts in an interstate Carnival in Brisbane.

Before the season started a Special Meeting voted out the system -of two divisions which had operated for three seasons and opted for a return to one division with three grades. The same ten teams were retained in first grade, with the exception that Morpeth amalgamated with Hinton to form Morpeth-Hinton.

New clubs to enter the Association's competition in the lower grades were Grand Junction, Metford Baptist and PTS (parachute Training School). Northern District repeated its success of the previous season by winning the first-grade minor premiership but was defeated in the semi-final by the greatly improved EMU. In the other semi-final, the runners-up, Raymond Terrace defeated Police Boys, which finished fourth.

Unfortunately, all finals were washed out without a ball being bowled in any of them. The Board decided that the teams that were to contest the finals should be declared joint finalists and that no major premierships be awarded.

The Player of the Year award was shared by two captains - Terry Walters of Police Boys and Neil Fox of Kurri Workers. Walters headed the batting aggregate and averages with 589 runs at 49.08, including two centuries, and took 28 wickets. In one match against Morpeth-Hinton, he scored 174 in only 90 minutes in an innings that included 9 sixes and 17 fours. Neil Fox also had a successful season scoring 447 runs.

In first grade, a post-war district record was established when Ross McKinnon (60) and Rodney Lawrence (76) in a ninth-wicket partnership put on 146 for Eastern Suburbs against EMU at East Maitland Park.

There were some impressive performances in third grade, with Robert Tynan (Highway Motors) making 860 runs; Eddie French (Northern District) scoring 3 centuries; C Smith (Lemon Tree Passage) taking 10-21; T Lawrence (Woodberry) taking 87 wickets and K Blundell (Postal) 82 wickets.

In the John Bull Shield, Maitland finished runners-up for the third successive season. However, Maitland was again successful in the Under 16 competition, winning it for the third season in a row. Among promising youngsters in this team were James Ryan, Geoff Burg, Jeff Daniels, Ray Smith, David Trewhella and Andrew Macmillan.

Terry Walters, Phil Warby, Mark Evans and Peter Rawling played for Country North Western in a new State Cup competition that involved four country zones and four city teams. Mark Evans, Will Callinan, Craig Cox and Rick Marsh represented Hunter Valley in an Under 23 Colts Carnival at Narrabri that replaced the previous inter and combined Council matches.

Rod Douglas, a promising wicket-keeper and batsman with Western Suburbs, was selected in the State schoolboys team that played in the Australasian Schoolboys Championships in Christchurch, NZ. Prior to this, he had captained CHS No.2 in a Carnival in Sydney.

Ray Smith, a fast bowler with Eastern Suburbs, was Hunter Valley's representative at the Country Boys Coaching Class. Scott Magann was selected in the State primary schools team. In January 1978 the split in the cricket world was brought home to Maitland by the staging of a World Series cricket match at the Maitland Sportsground between an Australian XI and a World XI. It caused some controversy as it was held on the same weekend as the Northern NSW v. India match in Newcastle.

Pat Wills, who had succeeded Col Johnston as President in 1973-74, stepped down and was succeeded by Doug Pryor.