A new venture in the 1976-77 season was the staging of an Easter Cricket Carnival - an idea initiated by Eddie Hill. The Carnival involved six teams playing forty over matches over three days. Teams that took part were President's XI, Vice-President's XI, Renault-Peugeot, Singleton and two Sydney clubs - Randwick and Nepean. The highlight of the Carnival was the appearance of David Hookes, who at that stage was Australia's newest batting sensation, having scored five centuries in six innings for South Australia and having hit Tony Greig for five consecutive fours in one over during the Centenary Test in Melbourne. On the first day of the Carnival, he delighted the spectators by scoring a hard-hitting 82 for the Vice-President's XI against Randwick in an innings that included 10 fours and 2 sixes. The Carnival was won by Renault-Peugeot, a team organised by Jack Murray and captained by Terry Walters.
In the local competition, there was a record number of 64 teams from 28 clubs - an increase of 8 teams on the previous season. New clubs to enter were Treloar and Seaham, which re-formed after a break of almost twenty years. Another amalgamation took place with Rayoneers combining with GUOOF-City.
With the same ten teams in the first division, Northern District won the first-grade minor premiership. Their team was captained by Jeff Crittenden, who returned to his former club after a number of seasons in the Sydney competition with Randwick and North Sydney. However, Northern District was defeated in the final by Western Suburbs which won its first, first-grade final since 1957-58. In a close match, Rod Douglas (71) and Tony Ellicott (41) steered Western Suburbs to victory in a vital sixth wicket partnership. John Lane (Western Suburbs) with 6-41 and Trevor Deamer (Northern District) with 6-37 put in fine bowling performances in the final.
Black Hill and Branxton repeated their success of the previous season by winning the club championship in first and second division respectively. The Player of the Year award for the first division was shared by John Convery (Western Suburbs) and Don Webb (Morpeth). Convery, a former Bankstown player, topped the batting aggregate with 537 runs, while Webb, in his initial season in first grade, headed the batting averages with 401 runs at 40.1 and took 33 wickets.
The second division Player of the Year was Graeme McCabe of Lemon Tree Passage who scored 401 runs. Maitland finished runners-up to Singleton in the John Bull Shield but won the Colts and Under 16 competitions. Craig Cox, captain of the Under 16s, showed a promising form to head the aggregate with 255 runs.
Representative caps were awarded to Mark Evans, Brian Clarke and Ross McKinnon. Ken Shine, Trevor Holden and Rod Douglas were in the Hunter Valley team that played Combined North West/Far North West at Gunnedah in a new fixture in the Country program. Lindsay Cox was the Hunter Val1ey representative at the Country Boys Coaching Class. Andrew Adam of Raymond Terrace was chosen in the State primary school team for the interstate Carnival in Adelaide.
Former Maitland player Rick Allen, who had transferred to Newcastle, was selected in the Australian Under 19 team to tour England, after impressive performances at the national championships in Hobart.
Three other team members were future Test players David Boon, GeoffMarsh and Greg Dyer.
The wicket shortage was relieved with the construction of four cement wickets at Marcellin Park Bolwarra. The work was undertaken by Maitland Lion~ Club as a community services project and with the cooperation of Maitland Marist Brothers.
Cricket followers were saddened to learn of the death of Doug Rawling who had moved to Sydney in 1975. Doug had been a tireless worker for cricket at all levels - the Junior Association, Northern District Club, the Senior Association and the Hunter Valley Cricket Council - and was a Life Member of all four organisations. Few could match his dedication to cricket both on and off the field.