Tribute to Col Johnston

Tribute to Col Johnston2018-07-25T06:07:44+00:00

At the start of the 1988-89 season Col Johnston, Life Member and former President of the Association were presented at the Annual Meeting of the NSW Country Cricket Association with a special inaugural award from the NSWCA for services to country cricket. In recognition of the award and Col's contribution to cricket as a player and administrator over a period of more than fifty years, the Maitland Association's Presentation Night took the form of a Tribute to Co1. Among the special guests at the memorable evening were Alan Davidson, President of the NSWCA, and Brian Hughes, Secretary of the NSW Country Cricket Association.

Northern Suburbs equalled the performance of Raymond Terrace the previous season by winning the club championship and the minor premierships in all three grades.

Their first-grade team was strengthened by the return of a number of former players, including Nick Lutovac from City United, Glen Murphy and Doug Elphick from North Sydney. Another acquisition was Geoff Cooke from Hinton, who proved to be the "find of the season". After scoring a spectacular 207, including 24 fours and 11 sixes, in a second-grade match against Tenambit-Morpeth, he was rapidly promoted to first grade.

The whack of leather on willow is one of the great sounds of
It is heard wherever the British planted their flag and echoes long
after imperialism and empire have faded.
It rings out still on the dusty plains of India and Pakistan and in
places as disparate as Zimbabwe and the Mediterranean island
of Rhodes.
Cricket is Britain's great sporting gift; to such of the world as has
accepted it, and no-where has it been cherished and nurtured
as fondly as in Australia.
To ignore cricket is, to many people, a un-Australian
It was, therefore, a very Australian activity that took place in
Maitland on Saturday night when 350 people gathered at
Maitland City Bowling Club to say 'thank you' to one of the cricketing
greats of the Hunter Valley.
They were there to see the Maitland and District Cricket
Association pay tribute to life member Colin A. Johnston,
MBE, for his contribution to cricket as a player and administrator
during more than 50 years.
Col Johnston s cricketing career began in 1930. He played for
clubs in the Hunter region, apart from the years 1935 to 1937
when he played for Mosman and completed his years at the wicket
and in the field in 1981 with Northern Districts.
His achievements in this time would fill a book but some are most
He was captain of Norths for 22 years, winning 11
His aggregate of runs in Maitland DCA (1932-70) and in
Newcastle DCA competition (1941-47) was 15,42l.
He captained Northern NSW in their match against the MCC
at Newcastle during the 1946-47 tour.
Australian Test all-rounder Alan Davidson summed it all up on
Saturday when he said 'Col's inning throughout life has been
extraordinarily well-played'.
Editorial - Maitland Mercury. 10.4.1989.

In the first grade final, Northern Suburbs was defeated by Eastern Suburbs by 13 runs. The turning point in the match came with the dismissal of Cooke for 62, when within sight of victory. Both the second and third-grade finals were won by Raymond Terrace.

District Player of the Year was Craig Evans (Raymond Terrace) who headed the batting aggregate and averages with 539 runs at 67.38. Both Craig Evans and David Ward of Tenambit-Morpeth scored three centuries during the season to equal the post-war record. Leading bowler was Northern Suburbs' Glen Murphy with 36 wickets.

In third grade, Steve Lantry took all ten wickets in an innings when playing for Northern Suburbs against Thornton at Bolwarra.

In the club section, Largs won the club championship. Rutherford was very successful, winning A, C4 and C5 minor premierships, while Hinton took out the A grade major premiership.

Ian McGill, with 66 wickets and 328 runs for Rutherford, won his second Club Player of the Year Award. For the third consecutive season, Maitland won the John Bull Shield, when it defeated old rivals, Singleton, in the final at Maitland. The Maitland team was captained by Chris Marsh, who was the only player to have played in all three wins.

The Colts reached the final of their competition but were defeated by Newcastle C & S. Representative Player of the Year was Geoff Cooke. After a fine all-around performance for Hunter Valley in the Under 24 Carnival at Maitland, he was selected in the Combined North West Under 24 Zone team. He was also chosen in the Emu Colts team that played the Canterbury Colts in a "Test" at Tamworth.

Maitland umpire Arthur Hassett had the honour of being appointed to officiate at the final of the Toohey Limited Overs Country Cup at Dubbo.

Former Maitland player Tony Fort was selected for Australian Country and State Colts following an outstanding performance for NSW Country at the interstate Country Carnival in Bunbury W A. He won the Bradman Trophy for the Outstanding Batsman of the Series and two other awards for Player of the Series and NSW Player of the Series.

An innovation during the season was a Veterans Ten Over competition. This was organised by Secretary Bruce Humphries, as an approved Bi-Centennial Activity. Open to players 40 years and over, the competition attracted five teams, with Newcastle C & S defeating Western Suburbs in the final. The competition has continued on with the number of teams gradually increasing.

At the Annual Meeting, Life Membership was conferred on Mick Iobbins, a long-term stalwart with Weston Workers Club, who had a long playing career in competition and representative cricket going back to 1960. He was also responsible for the organisation of the Kurri Kurri Saturday morning junior competition and in his later, playing days stepped down to C5 grade to promote the junior players.