A highlight of the 1946-47 season was Mick Hinman's performance for Northern NSW against Wally Hammond's MCC team in the match at Newcastle on December 21 and 23 1946. Hammond's team included such notables as Leonard Hutton, Denis Compton, Cyril Washbrook and Bill Voce. In the first innings, Hinman took 5 for 92 off 22.3 overs when the MCC scored 345 with Hammond making 142 and Laurie Fishlock 110. Batting for Northern NSW, he top-scored with 46 in a total of 202. Col Johnston also played for Northern NSW and captained the side after Reg Beatty withdrew following the death of his father after the first day's play. Col thereby carried on a family tradition as his father had captained the team that played against Arthur Gilligan's MCC team in Maitland in 1925.
At the start of the season, there was uncertainty about whether Maitland would continue to play in the Newcastle competition. The Annual Meeting in a close vote refused permission for the Maitland Club to enter. However, a later meeting decided to enter an Association team in the Newcastle competition and to conduct local competitions for first, second and third grades.
Thirty-seven teams entered the competitions with registrations reaching 851 - the highest since 1926-27. For the first time since the war, a first grade competition was conducted. Six teams entered - Robins, Marist Bros., East Maitland, Branxton and Northern Division No. 1 and 2. Second and third grades were organized into two divisions, with one division of second grade including 8 teams from the Raymond Terrace and Port Stephens district: Bob's Farm, Booral, Williamtown, Nelson's Bay, Karuah, Limeburner's Creek, Anna Bay and Raymond Terrace Methodists.
For the first time since 1932-33 finals were reintroduced. In first grade the premiers Northern Division No. 1 defeated East Maitland; in second grade Raymond Terrace Methodists defeated Thornton; and in third grade Greta United defeated Thornton.
Ray Allen (son of Roy Alien) began to emerge on the cricket scene and headed the first-grade district batting aggregate with 446 runs at an average of 55.75, and was second in the bowling averages with 25 wickets at 7.92. W Langford of Robins was the leading wicket-taker in first grade with 40 wickets.
One player to show considerable promise was Keith Smith of Northern Division. A pre-season report noted:
"He is a bowler of pace with a nice easy action. He also
knows how to play shots and is a grand fieldsman."
During the season, including the final, he took 44 wickets at 9.64. Among his best efforts were 6-10 against Branxton and 6-31 against Robins, when he took 4 wickets in 6 balls.
Another young player showing potential was Charlie Bridge who came from a long line of Branxton cricket identities. Together with Ray Alien, he played some games for the Maitland team in the Newcastle competition.
In the Newcastle competition, the Association team failed to make the final. The outstanding performance was by Mick Hinman who headed the team's batting and bowling aggregates and averages with 434 runs at 27.1 and 45 wickets at 12.2.
It was a busy season on the representative front. During the pre-season, Chegwyn made his third visit to Maitland and played two one day matches at Lorn Park. His team again included some top players - Arthur Morris, Sid Barnes, Ernie Toshack and Bob Cristofani. In the first match Morris "carried his bat" to make 111 in a total of 187. Best of the locals were Mick Hinman who made 52 in the first match and Alan Johnston who made 35 in the second.
Hunter Valley was one of eight teams to compete in Country Week from November 1-8 1946. Ray Alien, Alan Johnston, Col Johnston and Peter Macmillan were Hunter River representatives in the team. Hunter Valley had a disappointing Carnival, losing four matches and drawing one.
At the end of the Carnival, Col Johnston was selected as captain of the Combined Country team to play Metropolitan on November 11, 1946, at the SCG. He scored an impressive 141 n.o. in the Combined Country's total of 4 for 267 and gained high praise from the Sydney press. Following on this innings he was chosen for NSW Second XI to play against Victoria at the MCG on December 3-5 1946. With the re-formation of the Hunter Valley Cricket Council, a series of inter-district matches for the John Bull Shield was played on public holidays. Newcastle again won the competition. At Easter, a Hunter River team played against an NSWCA Xl - one of four teams sent to the country by the NSWCA to promote country cricket.