During the 1953-54 season three Hunter River players - John Hayward (vice-capt.), Dave Rutherford and David Evans - werenselected for a tour of New Zealand in a ]S White Emu Colts team. This followed outstanding performances in the Hunter Valley team at Tamworth on the New Year weekend at the Colts Carnival sponsored by Mr Iim White of "Edinglassie", Muswellbrook. Hunter Valley won the Carnival with Hayward scoring the only century. Ice French and Neil McDonald also impressed at the Carnival but were unavailable for selection for the NZ tour because of their call-up for National Service training. Other Hunter River representatives at the Carnival were Rodney Green and Aubrey Newman.
To assist with the expenses of players selected for the tour the Hunter River Association organized a public appeal in Maitland and a testimonial match. Such tours were to be the first of a number of opportunities provided for young players by the JS White Carnival and with what was to become known as the "Emu Tours".
Another opportunity for young players was created with the formation of the Maitland District Junior Cricket Association. Sgt. Vie Moffitt of Maitland Police Boys Club was mainly responsible for this initiative. He was the foundation Secretary /Treasurer, while Charlie Stocker was the first President. The Junior Association introduced an Under 15 competition played on turf wickets on Saturday mornings. Ten teams competed in the initial competition - Morpeth 1 and 2, Police Boys White and Blue, Paterson, Western Suburbs, East Maitland, Maitland OK, Lorn, and Telarah. The inaugural competition for the FJ Palmer Shield was won by East Maitland. Representative matches were also played against Newcastle, Dungog and Canberra teams.
The competitions organized by the Junior Association were to provide a nursery for the development of young cricketers. Even in this first season, the names appear of a number of players that were to go on the senior ranks - Bob Frazer, Richard Gilmour, Alan Wickham, Ron Duggan, Jim Berthold, Romney Newman and Michael Lord.
In the district competition, Northern District had a clear win from Weston Kurri in the first-grade premiership and also won its fourth consecutive club championship. Following a decision at the previous Annual Meeting, no final was played in first grade.
Col Johnston with 756 runs at 44.47 average headed the district aggregate and averages and registered the highest aggregate scored up to that stage in the post- World War 2 period. Other leading batsmen were Peter Macmillan(Eastern Suburbs) with 452, Harold Smyth (Central) 434 and John Hayward (Western Suburbs) 413.
In one match Charlie Bridge scored 154 not out for Branxton against Western Suburbs - the first century scored on Coronation Oval which came into use during the season as the home ground for Western Suburbs. Leading first-grade wicket takers were Bill Miller (Weston Kurri) with 64 wickets, Col Thompson(Western Suburbs) 55, including two hat- tricks, and Max Callaghan(Central) 53. In one match against Branxton at Weston, Ken Bromage took 6 for 1 off 6 overs.
In third grade, J Date of Raymond Terrace took 101 wickets at 5.29. Another outstanding performance was by a 14-year-old schoolboy from Western Suburbs, Richard Gilmour, who took 47 wickets at 4.78, and in one match against Weston Kurri No. 3 took 10-5 and 7-22 in a phenomenal bowling effort.
In the club section, Hinton won both the A and C grades. A new trophy, the Harry Andrews Memorial Shield, was awarded for the A grade premiership. Greta United won the B grade from Greta Australs. The latter was a new entry from the Greta migrant camp, showing that cricket was "catching on down- under" among some "new Australians".
Jack Chegwyn brought another team to Maitland and played two one-day matches in September 1953. His team included Sid Carroll, Bob Simpson, Jim Burke, Tom Brooks, Ray Flockton and Ron Kissell. In one of the matches, Burke scored 175.
At the end of December 1953, a three day Carnival was organized at Gunnedah in an attempt to persuade the NSWCA to reintroduce Country Week. Dave Rutherford and Col Thompson were Hunter River representatives in the Hunter Valley Council team that won the New England Shield donated by CH Wyndham of Gunnedah.
The Country Boys Coaching Class in Sydney was revived by the NSWCA. Dave Rutherford was selected from the Hunter Valley Council area to attend. The Umpires Association which had not met for two seasons was re-formed with Arthur Lord taking over as Secretary.