New Zealand cricket has been rocked by reports an umpire was kicked in the face during a vicious brawl in a club game on the weekend.
The incident occurred during match between North Island clubs Paraparaumu and Weraroa on Sunday.
Stuff.co.nz reported that an independent commissioner would decide the fate of five players involved after police decided no charges would be laid.
It’s understood the fight was sparked by a decision from a Paraparaumu player-umpire, with an eye-witness describing the scenes as “absolute thuggery”.
“If that happened on the street it would be GBH [grievous bodily harm] so how come if it happens on the field it’s fine,” the unnamed witness said.
“He had a third kick at him before his team pulled him off.”
“I know exactly who did the kicking, everyone saw who it was.”
Another unnamed witness labelled the Weraroa players’ behaviour “disgusting”.
“I believe his nose is broken then another three or four Levin [Weraroa] players joined in and proceeded to kick and punch him”.
New Zealand Cricket public affairs manager Richard Boock said the unsavoury incident was a bad look on the sport.
“NZC views any type of physical assault in cricket as repugnant and utterly unacceptable. We will await the results of the investigation before commenting further.”
Weraroa Cricket Club released a statement about the incident on Facebook, in an attempt to set the record straight.
The club denies its players were the primary aggressors and insists the fight kicked off after a Paraparaumu player assaulted a young member of their team.
“The brawl was in fact started by a PCC player who physically targeted and assaulted a young member of the Weraroa team who is a minor,” the statement read.
“These actions led to other Weraroa players stepping in and acting to defend this player and matters escalated from there. Weraroa Cricket Club are a family club.
“We deeply regret what took place on the cricket field on Sunday and do not condone violence. We are co-operating fully with the investigation by Horowhenua Kapiti Cricket.
“Three of our players are being stood down pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings. However, we are standing by these players and will be supporting them fully as this matter is addressed.”