In April 1864 the locals were disappointed when a proposed match at Maitland against George Parr's touring English Eleven (the second English professional team to tour Australia) failed to eventuate. "Twenty-two heroes of the willow representing the Northern District" had been chosen to pit their colonial skills against the tourists (it was customary to select more than eleven players in a match of this nature to even up the contest). Extensive arrangements, including preparations for a grand dinner to welcome the tourists, had been made by a reception committee. Local hotel keepers were readying themselves for an influx of visitors and had erected booths on the ground at the Nicholson racecourse (site of present Maitland Park) where the match was to be played. However, the English team after hearing reports that "the ground and roads in Maitland were in fearful condition" following heavy rain declined to travel north from Sydney and at very short notice telegram their decision to abandon the match. Maitland would have to wait for almost another twenty years for a touring English Eleven to play a match in Maitland.