James Holdstock worked in England and America as a baker before coming to Australia. He was also a keen cricket player so it was appropriate that when he was finally given a publican's licence for a house in High Street West Maitland, he would name it the Cricketers Arms. He had been refused a licence twice before in 1844 and was granted a licence in April 1846.
The Cricketer' Arms was situated near the Bricklayer's Arms. In September 1846 the Cricketers Arms was the scene of a meeting of the journeymen carpenters and joiners of Maitland. They unanimously agreed that none of their body ought to work at a lower rate of wages than four shillings and sixpence per day. The Maitland Mercury reported that one or two employers were present and expressed their willingness to accede to the terms and in consequence, a 'number of workmen struck their work yesterday until wages should be raised for all.'
James Holdstock was fined £5 for allowing billiards to be played in his hotel in March 1847 and soon after was advertising the Hotel for sale. However he was challenged as to the ownership by Thomas Ramplin, who in a notice placed in the Maitland Mercury stated that he laid claim the house and premises in Holdstock's possession. He stated he would endeavour to enforce his claim against any person who purchased the Inn.
James Holdstock was quick to respond - 'To Mr. Thomas Ramplin Junior. You having thought proper publicly to claim the Cricketers Arms advertised by me for sale, I hereby publicly challenge you to make good your claim; and I only regret that your circumstances are not such as to make it worth my while to compel you to do so in a court of justice. My title is clear and distinct and open to the inspection of any one interested. The deeds can be seen by applying to F.W. Davies solicitor Maitland'
James Holdstock had spared no expense in putting the premises in a first rate business condition and when he decided to leave the colony in 1847, had high hopes of realising a profitable and speedy sale. The Cricketers' Arms was a two story building with 3 parlours, a Billiard room, bar and tap, back parlour and bed room on the ground floor and four bedrooms on the first floor. Underground there were two cellars (one under the tap), a kitchen and a servant's bed room. It was said to be well known that the Cricketers' Arms was in a flourishing condition and doing as good a trade as any other Inn or public house in Maitland.
He was refused a licence for the Cricketers Arms in April 1847 after he was found to have allowed billiards to be played at the Inn and had failed to apply for a licence. To make matters worse he had set a man to watch for the arrival of any police. (a Cockatoo!)
By November 1848 James Holdstock had taken over the Freemasons Arms in Raymond Terrace.
Thomas Honeysett, a miller who owned a flour mill in Elgin Street West Maitland, had previously held the licence for the Gordon Arms. He was granted a publican's licence for the Cricketer's Arms in 1851.
Thomas Honeysett was also a keen cricketer. He was banned from bowling over arm in a match between Maitland and Raymond Terrace in 1846.
In 1851 along with many other Maitlanders, Thomas Honeysett tried his luck at the Turon gold fields.
The Licence for the Cricketers' Arms was transferred from Thomas Honeysett to John Thomas Collins in 1852.
John Thomas Collins
In 1852 John Thomas Collins, a former convict who arrived on the Henry Porcher in 1825, was charged with receiving stolen goods after three dray men who stayed at his Inn were found to have stolen sugar belonging to Samuel Cohen from the drays they were driving, and conveyed it to Collins. He was found guilty at the Maitland Quarter Sessions and sentenced to three years labour on the roads. He was admitted to Newcastle gaol on 8th October 1852.