An important step in the growth of Maitland cricket was the formation of the Albion Cricket Club. This took place on March 7 1866 following a public meeting held in Mr T Brown’s Exchange Hotel. At first the club leased the racecourse, referred to earlier, for its ground. Three years later it moved to the present site of the Maitland Showground where it rented the ground from the Hunter River Horticultural and Agricultural Society. There the club developed a ground and turf wicket that were to earn the praise of many visiting teams, including international ones, and to become widely regarded as “being unsurpassed in the colony outside of Sydney”. A lot of the credit for the standard of the ground and wicket was due to the efforts of the club’s long serving caretaker, Alf Giles, who was himself a leading district cricketer. The club was run along the lines of an English county cricket club and members enjoyed facilities such as practice ground staff bowlers and private lockers that would be the envy of many club cricketers today. During the thirty nine years of the club’s existence the club’s membership included many fine players that were to help make it the premier club for many seasons and to give the names of Albion CC and Maitland cricket a reputation far beyond local boundaries.