An outstanding bowling performance was recorded by Tom Lindsley of Branxton during the 1929-30 season when he took all 10 wickets for 42 in an innings in an A grade match against Kurri Kurri on November 23 1929. He thereby became the first player in A grade in the Association’s history to achieve this remarkable feat.
The A grade settled back to six teams – Robins, Marist Bros., East Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Branxton and Northern Division. The premiership was won by Northern Division by one point from Branxton. As it had previously won the premiership in the 19’25-’26 season, Northern Division became the outright winners of the O’Hearn Shield after the five year period of the competition.
In another prolonged final which extended over five Saturdays, Northern Division also won the Waller Shield when it defeated Branxton by 166 runs.
Gordon Bell, who had transferred from Morpeth Club to Northern Division, had an outstanding season. He headed the A grade batting with an aggregate of 715 at an average of 71.5, and scored a century in the final against Branxton. Les McPherson of the Robins Club also passed the 500 run mark with an aggregate of 533.
New entries in the lower grades were Louth Park and Gosforth. The Louth Park Club put down a turf wicket on the Park and this came into use during the season. Their B grade team included three members of the Tiedeman family – N G and A Tiedeman. Similarly the Gosforth club in C grade had four Coffey brothers Frank, Bert, Mick and Ted.
Two new trophies were donated to the Association the HL Simmons Cup for runners-up in B grade, and the JN Lintott Cup for runners-up in C grade. These trophies were to be competed for over a five-year period, with the team winning each the most times becoming the permanent holder.
Country Week was held in February rather than November. The local Association, along with a number of other country Associations and Councils, protested against the change, arguing that February was too late in the season for any cricketer showing promise at the Carnival to make any of the major representative teams, but the NSWCA refused to alter the decision.
For the first time Hunter River was combined for Country Week with the Central North Coast, which included the Manning, Dungog, Gloucester and Allyn River Association areas. HRI)CA representatives in the combined team were R Macmillan, L McPherson, H Hatcher, T Lindsley and R Carter. During the Carnival Ross Macmillan scored an impressive 97 against a combined Manly/Mosman/North Sydney team.
Ross Macmillan (Robins) and Pat Cahill (Kurri Kurri) were selected to play for a combined Newcastle/Hunter District team against a NSW XI at Newcastle on November 15 and 16 1929. However, the local Association felt that it had been “shabbily treated” by not being consulted in the selection of the team, and was “astounded at the omission of G Bell and L McPherson”.
The Association won the junior competition conducted by the Hunter Valley Cricket Council, when it defeated Singleton in a final after both had finished level on points. During this season the age limit for the junior competition was reduced from 25 to 21.
Even though it was the only undefeated team, the Association lost the John Bull Shield competition on percentages to Upper Hunter. By winning the John Bull Shield for the three consecutive seasons from 1927-30, Upper Hunter became permanent holders of the shield.
However, in a generous gesture at the start of the next season the Upper Hunter Association handed back the shield for continued competition. The trophy was renamed the “John Bull Upper Hunter Shield” but over the years the “Upper Hunter” connection has been lost from the title.
Following a meeting with the sports masters of various schools, the Association introduced a cricket competition under its jurisdiction among the local primary schools. Schools that played in the competition on Friday afternoons were St Ethels, East Maitland, West Maitland, Marist Bros, and Homeville. The competition continued on through the 1930s, organised by the Maitland branch of the PSAAA.
A new grading system was introduced at the end of the season, whereby all players taking part in the competitions were graded on the basis of their performances during the season. Players who reached certain batting and bowling aggregates and averages were automatically transferred to the next highest grade. This system was to cause problems later on when some clubs claimed that they were being “graded out of existence”, and others that they were being overloaded with A graded players.