THE crisis engulfing Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket Association has deepened with another board member and an umpire, both part of a faction agitating for change, cited on the weekend to appear before disciplinary hearings.
A growing divide between the old powers that have been running the game for years, and an emerging power bloc that is pushing for greater financial and administrative transparency, has reached "toxic" levels.
Board member Grant Hutchings and umpire Michael Burns both received citations on Sunday, a day after the Newcastle Herald revealed a bitter power struggle that has split the volunteer organisation amid allegations of bullying, financial mismanagement and lack of transparency.
Two other board members who were pushing for change, Andrew Kelly and Roy Capitao, were handed controversial lengthy suspensions for administrative matters in the past few months.
As the volunteer organisation continues to implode, Cricket NSW and Newcastle Cricket Zone representatives urged the NCSCA management committee to put the interests of the game first.
Newcastle Cricket Zone administrator Alan Nichols urged the board to work through its differences, but said he feared there was "not an appetite for that".
"It's definitely not good for the game in any shape of form, this is not helping cricket in Newcastle," he said.
"I understand that people have differences, but i'd like to see them resolved. As a result of the last election it was clear the members wanted change in the association and that doesn't appear to have happened."
The push for change movement, led by longtime NCSCA members Daniel Saunders, Andrew Kelly and Mr Hutchings, forced the association's first management committee election in more than 20 years in August.
Although the incumbent registrar, Gary Stuart, had held the position for more than a decade, he lost the vote to Mr Saunders and Mr Kelly beat Graham Field for secretary. Mr Stuart and Mr Hutchings then nominated, along with five others, for six general committee board positions and Mr Stuart missed out.
Cricket NSW Hunter general manager Neil McDonald said he held grave concerns that another newly-elected board member had been cited.
"We want the growth of the game and good, clean governance," he said. "They should be focusing on the game of cricket and none of this speaks to cricket."
Mr Hutchings has been called to front the judiciary on January 12 for his involvement in the Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket Association Players Page that appeared on Facebook earlier this year and was pulled down in August following the management committee election.
He is facing four code of conduct breach charges, that also relate to closed Facebook Messenger conversations from March, between four men involved in the players' page, that were later leaked to association president Phil Northey in a 250-page dossier.
Mr Hutchings, who has played in the NCSCA competition for 27 years, plans to fight the charges.
"We are talking about private conversations between four blokes who'd had a few beers," Mr Hutchings said.
"They were not made in a public forum or posted anywhere, we are talking about completely private conversations. They are finding reasons to get rid of people who speak out, it's nothing short of toxic."
Umpire Michael Burns has been called before the umpire's executive committee on January 8 to answer a charge that he made comments on Facebook on the weekend about how the association's finances had been handled.
Mr Burns said he was being "targeted", along with others, for seeking financial transparency.
Mr Northey, who agreed the feud was "no good for the game", said he had "nothing to do with" the latest citations.
Asked if there would be further charges brought against other board members, Mr Northey indicated the feud was far from over. "There probably already has been," he said, but would not elaborate.
He said the men would be given "fair hearings" and "everyone on the committee" was responsible for forwarding complaints to the judiciary.
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