Harold Butler, the Waverley fast bowler, was clunking up and down the Belmore Hotel's wooden verandah in his army boots at six o'clock in the morning outside the bedroom of the world's greatest bowler, Bill O'Reilly.
"What do you think you're doing?" the great bowler asked. "I can't sleep," said Harold.
''Well,'' said Bill, "go down to the ground and roll the wicket."
No one argued with the "Tiger", especially at 6 am. So off went Harold and rolled the wicket.
This happened during one of Jack Chegwyn's team visits to Maitland. Those Sunday games were popular with the players due to the hospitality of the Maitland people and in particular the Saturday night parties thrown by the Johnston family.
Back in the old days such quick trips from Sydney could not have taken place.
Dreadful roads and horse and cart transport made it hard going for the visitors.
Indeed, when George Parr's English XI was due to play at Maitland in 1864, they declined at very short notice to make the trip from Sydney owing to the "fearful condition of the ground and roads" following heavy rain.
Many famous cricketers have graced the cricket arenas of Maitland from Mullagh, Dick-a-Dick and his fellow team mates of the famous first Aboriginal team to tour England to those of more modern times, ill time greats such as Charlie Macartney and Doug Walters who both played junior cricket in Maitland.
The district has produced many outstanding players, some of whom have gone on to gain State honours. Among these were William and Leon Moore in the 1890s, Charlie Andrews and Frank Cummins in the 1930s, David Johnston in the 1970s, and Michael Cox who represented Western Australia in the 1980s. Country districts have made enormous contributions to NSW and Australian cricket and Maitland is no exception.
Lindsay Wood is to be congratulated for putting together this most interesting and readable chronicle of Maitland and Hunter District cricket from its beginnings in the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day.
It is a tribute to those cricket lovers who have contributed so much to Maitland and cricket in general, often in the most difficult and daunting circumstances.