Centenary of Singleton District Cricket Association

When you start talking cricket there is no stopping some people.

As Singleton District Cricket Association is about to celebrate its 100th year next month, The Hunter River Times asked two panelists to come to the long-term home of cricket, Howe Park, for a photo to promote the celebrations ahead.

A few questions were asked of Barry Smith and Scott Leighton and the conversation continued long after the journalist/photographer left.

And it will be stories you can’t print, well some of them, that are anticipated to fall from the mouths of the panelists during the celebration dinner on September 1.

Barry and Scott will be joined by Michael Akrill and Gordon and Bruce Whatham on stage with Dan Storey asking the questions that are sure to entertain.

Singleton cricket can be traced back to the early 1850s but it wasn’t until over 70 years later that the Association was formed.  Up until then teams played under the auspices of Singleton Cricket Club.

A meeting was held on February 14, 1923 at the Mechanic’s Institute to discuss the formation of a cricket association and remarkably, it was the same year that the Hunter Valley Cricket Council was formed.  This was the first cricket council formed in New South Wales and according to research by Michael Akrill, it appears one of the reasons for the formation was the donation of a ‘handsome shield’ to the value of 50 pounds by David Cohen & Co, the proprietors of John Bull Flour and baking powder products.

By forming an association and affiliating with Hunter Valley Cricket Council, Singleton was able to join Newcastle, Hunter River, Upper Hunter and Cessnock in contesting the first John Bull Shield.

Singleton stamped their authority on the Shield, becoming the first winners of the prestigious trophy that continues to be contested all these years later.

Over the years many individuals have stepped onto cricket grounds in the district, especially the historic Howe Park that first opened as a public reserve back in 1887.

By 1925 Howe Park was classed as the best cricket ground outside of Sydney and the continued attention to the care of the wicket is as meticulous as it ever was.

Singleton District Cricket Association president Jason Barry is hoping many who have had an affiliation with cricket in Singleton will come along to celebrate the centenary and pay homage to the many people who have contributed to the sport’s legacy.

The event is on September 1 at Club Singleton at 6pm.  Tickets are $50 each and include a three-course meal.  These are available at Eventbrite.