Charlie Macartney is possibly the closest Maitland can come to claiming an Australian Test player. He was born in Maitland on June 27, 1886 and spent his childhood in the district before moving to Sydney in 1898. The story goes that he traced his cricket prowess to his grandfather (George Moore) who bowled apples at him from the orchard and shaped his first cedar bat.
Charlie went on to become one of “the greats” Australian Test cricket, and is often ranked behind Bradman and Trumper as the third best ever Australian batsman.
Outside Australia he played in South Africa, New Zealand, England, America and India. Against England he made 1640 runs at 43.15 including 5 centuries. In all first class games he scored 17,217 runs at an average of 47 and made 48 centuries.
On his fourth trip to England at the age of 41 he made a century before lunch in a Test match at Headingley. So confident was he in his batting, he was called “The Governor General”.
In his book “My Cricketing Days” he relates an interesting anecdote about his early days in Maitland: “Cricket came before everything, and I and my other ambitious companions were always out for worlds to conquer. And this reminds me of one afternoon at Lorn, West Maitland – I was about nine or ten at the time – when I was in the running with another ‘big boy’ (Bill Johnston who has for many years been one of the bulwarks of sport in the Hunter River district, and my very good friend) for last place in the local eleven. The mate was between Lorn and Hinton, played on the local paddock. Great was my disappointment when Bill was selected and I sat under the pepper tree all the afternoon, watching and wishing I had been in the side.”