While the New Zealand Cricket season ended over a month early, the ramifications are still being felt with a formal investigation into unacceptable sledging to be undertaken.
Cricket Wanganui chairman Stuart Gillespie will begin an interview process with personnel from Tech Old Boys from Premier 1 and the Whanganui Wicket Warriors in Premier 2 after they lodged formal complaints about the Wanganui United club.
Tech played a somewhat spiteful Coastal Challenge semifinal against United on February 15, with United winning by 94 runs, which contained one ugly incident when dismissed Tech skipper Dominic Lock stopped his departure to the boundary to speak back to the United fielders.
The all-Indian Wicket Warriors side faced the United 2nd XI in Twenty20 and two Pro 40 competition matches this summer.
"Each guy that's made the complaint will be spoken to and interviewed, and then an independent commissioner comes in," said Gillespie.
Based on his interviews, which he would like to conduct in the next two weeks if circumstances will allow it in the face of public restrictions to deal with Covid-19 pandemic, Gillespie will recommend to the Central Districts association whether further action is necessary.
The CDCA will then appoint a commissioner to take the matter further.
"They will give us the name of the commissioner to use, who has to be independent.
"We need to stamp this out in cricket, the last thing I want to see is young guys leave cricket," Gillespie said.
The issues were first made public two weeks ago when former Cricket Wanganui general manager Dilan Raj, now the director of cricket in Manawatu, said exchange players from the Ontario Cricket Academy will play in Manawatu from next season due to "ugliness" on the field from United.
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A United club representative denied the allegation, stating any sledging the players had either done or received themselves from Tech in the semifinal was within acceptable limits for a big game.
"It's more likely they are just following Dilan to Manawatu and see it as an opportunity to further their careers in a bigger centre, rather than anything to do with United.
"If they are going to progress in cricket they will have to deal with much harsher criticism than they received from any United player."
A tenacious bowler and Black Caps representative in the mid-1980's, Gillespie said he played in an era when "verbal stouches" were common, but they were largely forgotten about after the match.
He acknowledged the current situation could be part of a generation gap – where senior United members who have played in the era when on-field banter was an accepted tactic to try and distract batsmen are now facing younger opponents who have been trained with a different understanding of discipline.
"I think it's possible, maybe some of it is a loss in translation.
"But I know there is a difference between fair and abusive."
Gillespie wanted the matter dealt with in a timely fashion so that any lingering resentments from this season will stay in this season, rather than carry on to October and the 2020-21 campaign.
"Accusations have been made, the last thing you want is for it to drag on.
"In May is our AGM, there'll be a new board."
Gillespie was aware of the Lock argument with the United fielders, but said he had received details of more issues than just that.
"Dom, is a level-headed guy, usually calm. If he reacts the way he did, obviously something has been said."
Having an investigation into the matter could have a silver lining, as it will give Cricket Wanganui a benchmark for any enforcement against breaches of on-field etiquette in the future.
"The 'Battle of the Bulge' in Levin where there were punches thrown, it's nothing like that, but we do have people upset and we need to address that and deal with it accordingly," Gillespie said.
An independent commissioner investigated a spiteful incident in Horowhenua-Kapiti cricket in February 2019 when a fight broke out between the Paraparaumu and Weraroa clubs – believed to be the first of its kind in NZ Cricket – as police were called.
One Weraroa player was banned for this full season and another until January 1, while a Paraparaumu player was suspended for the opening four weeks.