Northern District’s Success

Northern District’s Success2018-07-20T06:27:25+00:00

Northern District Club was very successful in the 1952-53 season, winning the first grade premiership and final, as well as the club championship. Since the re-introduction of district cricket in the 1947-48 season, Northern District had participated in 5 of the 6 finals, winning 3 of them, and had won 4 club championships.

The Northern District first grade side included a number of younger players - Dave Rutherford, Aubrey Newman, Mick Cummins and Paul Maher. In his first season in the senior grade, Rutherford headed the district's bowling averages with 33 wickets at 6.6. The team's more experienced players were still prominent - Keith Smith taking 49 wickets and Norm Mudd 29, while Alan Johnston scored 472 runs and Col Johnston 306.

Runners-up in first grade were Weston Kurri which played in its first district first-grade final. Unfortunately, it was handicapped by the loss after the first day's play of its opening bowler, Eric Burgess, who was admitted to hospital for an appendix operation and ended up losing the final by 9 wickets to Northern District.

The season saw the re-entry of Central into the first-grade competition. The team was captained by a newcomer to the district, Harold Smyth, who scored 164 not out in one match against Eastern Suburbs and headed the districtfirst-gradee batting aggregate and averages with 508 runs at 56.4.

Playing for Northern District in a second grade match again t We ton Kurri, Roger Moylan snr., took all 1 0 wickets in an innings.

Three new trophies were donated for the district competition - the FJ Page Cup for first grade, the CJ Greedy Cup for second grade, and the Kerr Cup for third grade.

In the club section, there were 16 entries, including teams from the newly formed Edmonds Moir Club and from the re-formed Vacy, Beresfield and Marist Bros. Clubs. Fixtures were drawn for A, Band C grades. However, following the withdrawal of Morpeth from the A grade, the remaining three teams from that grade were placed in B grade. In an unusual decision premiership honour were still awarded for A grade to the team, originally graded A grade, that finished highest in the B grade competition. Lochinvar ended up as A grade premiers, while Robins won the B grade.

For the first time, Hunter River had no representatives in the Northern NSW team that played South Africa in Newcastle. Following a series of trial matches, Mick Hinman and Joe French were originally selected, but later both withdrew - Hinman because of a knee injury and French because of school Leaving Certificate exams. For Joe French, the 16-year-old schoolboy who had come from Lochinvar club cricket the previous season to play with Western Suburbs first grade, it must have been disappointing to miss such an opportunity to play against an international touring team. Some compensation was later provided when he was the only country boy to be chosen in the NSW Combined High School side.

The NSWCA came in for a lot of local criticism for its decision to abandon Country Week and the Country Boys Coaching Class. During the previous sixty years, the Country Week Carnivals had helped to unearth players such as Thomas McKibbin, Bill Howell, Don Bradman, Stan McCabe, Bill O'Reilly and Ernie Toshack.

The John Bull Shield competition also entered a shaky period with a lot of forfeits being registered. Some even predicted "the death knell of the competition". Hunter River met its commitments in all matches but its team was a very youthful one, that at one stage contained five players who were under 18 years of age - John Hayward, Dave Rutherford, Rodney Green, Paul Maher, Doug March and R Hodgins,