The 1981-82 season was marked by the re-introduction of district and club cricket Following extensive preliminary work over the previous three seasons by a committee headed by Pat Wills, the new format was adopted at a Special General Meeting in July 1981. The eight district clubs that were defined were: 108
Western Suburbs, Eastern Suburbs, Northern District, Bolwarra, Weston Workers, Raymond Terrace, City United and Tenambit-Morpeth. Unlike the previous district systems that were introduced in 1903 and 1947. players were not required to play with the district in which they resided, though it was hoped that a district loyalty would develop.
The district competition was conducted in first, second and third grades, while club cricket was organised in A, B and C grades.
The 1981-82 season also saw the sponsorship of the first grade competition for the first time in the history of the Association. The sponsorship was arranged with the insurance company GIO, after which the first-grade competition was named.
Western Suburbs repeated its success of the previous season by winning the first grade minor and major premierships in the district section. They were also club champions, second-grade minor premiers and runners-up in third grade.
The semis and finals were played under difficult conditions as industrial action by Council's outdoor staff left the grounds unmown for several weeks. After defeating Bolwarra in the first-grade semi-final.
Western Suburbs had a convincing victory in the final. dismissing City United for 67 and scoring 9 for 155 in reply. Warren Trappel, the Western Suburbs captain. led the way by scoring 66 n.O., while Steve Atkins was the destroyer taking 8-35. Steve Gibson (Western Suburbs) headed the first-grade bowling aggregate with 55 wickets and won the District Cricketer of the Year Award from the fellow club and opening bowler, Steve Atkins. Simon Fearnley, an English professional cricketer playing for Raymond Terrace, was the leading batsman with 415 runs.
In the club section, Greta Workers was the outstanding club, winning the Jack Murray Memorial Shield for the club championship, and the A grade minor premiership. One of their leading bowlers, Rodney Langford, with 48 wickets won the Club Cricketer of the Year Award from fellow club player.
Jeff Daniels, who finished the season with 657 runs. Salvation Army, Eastern Suburbs and Gillieston Heights all won minor and major premierships in C grade. Ken Mitchell with 795 runs and 60 wickets was mainly responsible for much of Salvation Army's success, while M Ling in C Grade division 3 took 92 wickets for Eastern Suburbs.
The representative season again ended in disappointment with Maitland losing three finals. For this season and the next, the John Bull Shield was replaced by the NZ-South British Insurance Shield, and the John Bull Shield was awarded for an Association championship which was won in 1981-82 by Maitland.
In the Prudential Cup final, Raymond Terrace was defeated by Kincumber-Avoca. Tony Ellicott, Tony Foot, Steve Atkins, Scott Tony Ellicott played for Central Coast in the Tooheys Cup Country Challenge match at Newcastle and was selected as twelfth man for Country Northern in the revived State Cup competition.
Tony Fort, a promising young batsman, was Hunter Valley's representative at the Country Boys Coaching Class.
Early in the season, Tony Keating took over as Secretary, following the resignation of Trevor Holden. At the Annual Meeting, Life Membership was conferred on Pat Wills and Lindsay Wood. Pat had been on the Board since 1962, had served as President from 1973-78, and had been President of the Hunter Valley Cricket Council since 1975. Lindsay had been Secretary from 1970 79, President of the Junior Association for several seasons, and Secretary of Hunter Valley Cricket Council from 1975-82.