The 1904-05 season saw the introduction of Kurri Kurri into the senior and junior competitions. Heddon Greta was another coalfields club to affiliate.
Mr Alfred Johnston donated a silver cup for the senior competition, to be held permanently by any team that won three times or twice in succession. Seven teams contested the senior competition, which was won by Southern Division that finished the season undefeated. Bob Lindsay had an outstanding season with Northern Division scoring 842 runs, including 4 centuries at an average of 105.25.
As part of a revised Country Week format, a Hunter District side played North Sydney in November 1904. The side included L Moore (Western); F Carr, C Irwin, C Talbot, W McLean, S Freeman (Southern); C Onus (Lochinvar); J Lawrie, H Reynolds (Paterson) ; N Ebsworth and W Cameron (Scone). The team’s performance was disappointing, with North Sydney scoring 472 to the Hunter District’s 123 and 6 for 131. The Mercury reported that “the batsmen appeared to have been beaten by the reputation of the North Sydney men”.
During Country Week a meeting of country representatives recommended to the NSWCA that in future all matches against English touring teams be eleven a side and that such matches be arranged by the NSWCA.
At Easter a team from the New England district paid a return visit following on the HRDCA tour of the previous season.
The Annual Meeting noted with regret the death of the Venerable Archdeacon Tyrrell who had held the position of Patron since the formation of the Association. Mr John Rourke was elected as the new patron. It was also regretted that John Kerrigan, the foundation Secretary and “one of the most active and indefatigable workers” on the Association’s committee, was moving to north Queensland on medical advice. End of the Albion Club
The final rites on the demise of the Albion Club were carried out during the 1905-06 season. The club officially disbanded and in a generous gesture handed over its remaining funds (€8.12s.), plant and material to the Association. And so a famous club with a proud record in early Maitland cricket passed into history.
Despite early fears, the Association was able to obtain a further lease of the Albion ground from the HRA & H Association at a rental first of all of 5/- per week and later at a revised rent of €25 a year. A lease was also arranged for a second wicket on the Parade Oval, next to the Albion ground.
There were difficulties, however, with the Pearl ground at the Park where the Association had put down a new wicket the previous season. The Borough Council took over control of the ground and imposed a charge for its use. As a result no matches, except for a couple at the start of the season, were played on the Pearl ground. An irate correspondent under the pen name of “Ink-Slinger” wrote to the Mercury berating the Council for its “niggardly action” in charging cricketers and other sportsmen for use of the “People’s Park” and in taking over the pavilion without any compensation.
There were ominous signs that the local competition was running into trouble again. At the Annual Meeting it was reported that a senior competition with 5 teams and a junior competition with 9 teams had been conducted, but it was “regrettable to state that players especially in the senior division showed a considerable lack of interest” and that there were some disputes between competing clubs.
The senior competition was won by Western Division which was undefeated in its six matches – a relatively small number for an entire season. Leon Moore was no doubt a large part of the club’s success, scoring 533 runs at an average of 76.14.
Leon Moore also distinguished himself in a Country Week match in Sydney where a Hunter River DCA team played Waverley, the premier club of Sydney at the time. He scored 262 not out (3 fives and 31 fours) in the total of 6 for 462. Felton Norrie also played “bright cricket” to score 103 not out. Waverley were 6 for 172 when the match concluded. The Annual Report noted with disappointment and disillusionment that despite this performance not one HRDCA player was selected to play in the trial matches which took place the following week. It questioned whether the NSWCA was “serious in its efforts to foster country cricket or country cricketers”.
In the regular match against Richardson’s Metropolitan team at Christmas, the locals also posted a high total by scoring 454 to the Sydney team’s 265. Edgar Waddy, who at the time was playing in the Newcastle competition, scored 163 and was given strong support from Leon Moore with 60 and Harry Harden with 55.
Further close links were established with neighbouring districts, with two matches against Singleton and one against Upper Hunter.