Coal Board Cup2018-07-20T04:08:50+00:00

The 1950-51 season saw the introduction of an additional representative competition - the Coal Board Cup. A trophy valued at £25 was donated by the Joint Coal Board for a knockout and challenge competition among the coalfields regions of the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah.

The new competition created considerable interest. Maitland won the cup by defeating Gun_nedah at Cessnock in a close game with Alan Johnston and Keith Smith sharing in a vital last wicket stand. The competition was to continue on until 1971-72 after which the competition lapsed. The original cup was won outright by Maitland in 1962 after seven consecutive wins in the competition. A second cup was donated and this is still preserved in Dallas Wade's store at Cessnock.

In the local competition, there was a marked drop of 10 in the number of teams and 242 in the number of registered players - a drop attributed to a series of major floods and a growing lack of interest.

There were ominous signs for the future of district cricket. Raymond Terrace withdrew all its teams from the district section and only entered a C grade team in the club section. Branxton was also unable to field a first or second-grade team.

Western Suburbs benefited from Branxton's withdrawal, as it gained permission to play a number of former leading Branxton players - CharJie Bridge, Terry Farrell, and the Thrift twins, Don and John.

In a season affected by flooding, Central continued its dominance of the first-grade competition by winning its third successive premiership. However, it received a setback in the final when it was defeated by the much improved Western Suburbs team that had finished at the bottom of the competition table the previous season.

charlie Bridge (Western Suburbs) headed the batting aggregate with 441 runs in first grade, while Mick Hinman (Central) headed the batting averages with 425 runs at 70.83 and was the leading wicket-taker with 51 wickets. Norm Mudd and Keith Smith, the mainstays of the Northern District attack, were first and second in the bowling averages. In one match against Western Suburbs at Lorn Park Norm Mudd took 8 for 9 off 7.7 overs.

Weston Kurri had a double success in winning the second and third-grade premierships. They also won the finals in those grades without a ball being bowled, when in a disappointing finish to the season Northern District forfeited both matches.

YCW and Morpeth were premiered in Band C grades respectively. One new entry in the club section was from Burlington Mills, the Rutherford textile factory. Following pre-selection trial matches, Mick Hinman was the only Hunter River player chosen for Northern S to play the MCC at Newcastle. The match was played as a one-day fixture after rain washed out the first-day' play. MCC was all out for 142 in reply to Northern SW 169, with Jack Bull taking 6 for 24.

Hunter River' representatives at Country Week were C Bridge, T Farrell, E Burgess, J Barr, K Smith, and C Johnston. Arthur Lord, who had taken over as Secretary of the HRDCA was given the honour of umpiring in the Combined Country v.Metropolitan match.

In a Colts match against Newcastle C & S, a young spinner CharJie O'Connor, who had come from Paterson to play with Northern District, took 5 for 79 off 17 overs.

Another young spinner to emerge during the season was Dave Rutherford of Northern District, who won the third-grade bowling average with 21 wickets at 4.23.

At the Annual Meeting special mention was made of the work of Ernie Kent and Athol D'Ombrain in holding regular Sunday morning coaching classes at Lorn Park for all comers from the district. Maitland Council agreed to undertake the regular mowing of grounds for a set fee in its area. For many years there had been "growls" about long grass and the new arrangement was to lead to a marked improvement in playing conditions in future seasons.

Arthur Lord warned that the Association was "slipping downhill financially". A Cricketers Ball organized to raise funds had resulted in a loss of £55. As a result, the Annual Meeting decided to increase registration fees for players, although there were still some dissenting voices.