Thee 1939-40 season was ushered in against the ominous background of the outbreak of World War 2.
The war was to have a marked effect on the Associations competitions with the number of entries dropping from 31 to 23. For the first time for almost twenty years the number of registered players also fell below 500 to 411.
With the Cessnock Association again running its
own First grade competition, the Cessnock Club entry
dropped out of A grade. However, Weston was granted
permission to remain in the Hunter River competition.
Weston took full advantage of its opportunity and
won the A grade by a wide margin from Marist
Brothers. Its players figured prominently in the district
batting and bowling averages. Bert Squires, a hard
hitting batsman, headed the batting aggregate and
averages with 748 runs at 53.43 including three-
centuries. Dave Roach was the district’s leading wicket
taker with 67 wickets, and Clem Hill, the Weston
captain and former State player, finished on top of the
bowling averages with 57 wickets at 8.87.
For Marist Brothers, Frank Coffey repeated his
1937-38 performance by again scoring 500 runs and
taking 50 wickets in a season. He eclipsed his 1937-38
figures of 512 runs and 54 wickets with 574 runs and 55
wickets. He thereby became the only Association
player up to that stage to have twice registered the
double. As he had also scored 669 runs in 1938-39, he
had made over 500 runs in three consecutive seasons –
an outstanding effort!
In addition to D Roach, C Hill and F Coffey, three
other players took more than 50 wickets in A grade –
Ross Macmillan(Robins) 56; Norm Mudd(Northern
Division) 53; and Athol D’Ombrain(Northern Division)
52. In one match against East Maitland, Norm Mudd, a
promising fast bowler, took a haul of 16 wickets, with 8-
42 in the first and 8-62 in the second innings.
Mick Hinman, the outstanding player of the
previous season, transferred to Stock ton, where he
ended up the leading wicket-taker in Newcastle first
grade with 69 wickets at 10.81.
The B grade was won by Mulbring which posted a
number of very high scores during the season. In one
match against East Branxton they scored 5 for 454
(B Osland 184 n.o.), and in another against Weston 4
for 582 (B Osland 182 and C Reynolds 163 n.o.).