COUNTRY Cricket NSW will step in and hear appeals for two Hunter players handed lengthy suspensions amid a bitter feud that has split Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket Association.
Former association secretary Andrew Kelly and registrar Daniel Saunders will have their appeals heard by an "independent" panel in the coming weeks.
As the Newcastle Herald previously reported, both men were given life bans from holding administrative positions and Mr Saunders was handed an 18-month playing suspension and Mr Kelly a five-year playing ban.
News of the appeals come as former board member Roy Capitao, who was handed a two-year ban from the game last year, was informed this week he's been banned for a further three years from playing and given a life ban from holding an administrative position.
The development is the latest in a sad story for the game in Newcastle, with allegations of bullying, financial mismanagement and a lack of transparency.
NCSCA president Phil Northey said the board agreed at a meeting on Thursday night to seek external reviews of the controversial suspensions.
Mr Northey said the normal process would be to have the appeals heard by the association, but for "obvious reasons" it was not appropriate.
"We've bypassed that and gone to the next level," he said.
"This is about ensuring fairness for both sides... It came from a full board meeting and we have approached Country Cricket NSW and they have agreed."
Mr Northey declined to comment on the fairness of the suspensions or the ugly power struggle that continues to rock the competition that will celebrate its centenary next year.
Mr Saunders and Mr Capitao's latest ban relate to an ugly Facebook messenger chat that was leaked to the board and Mr Kelly was charged with trying to access the association's Bunnings account using a false name.
The three men, along with fellow suspended board member Grant Hutchings, believe they have been targeted for seeking transparency on the association's financials.
Husband and wife Gary and Tina Stuart and another NCSCA board member who wanted to remain anonymous told the Herald that all expenses had been approved by the board and an audit last year had found no financial impropriety.
Mr Kelly said there were "too many conflicts of interest" for the appeal to be heard within NCSCA.
"We want transparency, that's why we decided to get involved in the board in the first place, I'm hoping having an independent body review the suspensions will make this transparent," he said.
The board split has plunged NCSCA into deep turmoil, with some players calling for a vote of no confidence in the remaining management.
Country Cricket's Bruce Whitehouse said he was waiting for details from NCSCA about the suspensions before he could set a date for the appeals.
"We need to understand the circumstances, but we want this resolved as quickly as possible," he said.
"Once we receive some more information we will have to put the right people together so this is completely independent."