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Match fixing allegations

 

 

Hawkley was a community in shock last night after explosive allegations of match fixing and corruption involving the village’s cricket team.   Suspicions were aroused after a recent match ended in disaster when Hawkley, seemingly poised for an easy victory over part-time opponents the Evans XI, collapsed and lost their last eight wickets without scoring a run. 

After this shock result rumours circulated that Asian gambling syndicates had influenced key players to manipulate the outcome of the game. There were immediate calls for the team to withdraw from village cricket while the allegations are investigated and several teams including Milland and Rotherfield Park are understood to have boycotted Hawkley.

Anti-corruption officials said the Hawkley allegations had worrying similarities to the recent allegations concerning the Pakistani national side. An ICC spokesman told a crowded press conference “The Pakistan case concerned bowlers being paid for no balls. In Hawkley, the allegation is that it was the batsmen who had no balls.”

Further damage to Hawkley’s reputation has been caused by reports that the police are investigating a prominent member of the club alleged to have solicited cash payments from opposing teams to “fix” games. It is understood that a dossier handed to local police contains extensive email evidence that a man identified in some reports as Mark Hibberd had been contacting local clubs over a period of some years offering to “fix” games in return for payment of a sum of money said to be £35 per game. “We all know it goes on”, a source at a neighbouring village cricket club told reporters “You just get used to it. You get this bloke from Hawkley,   he phones you up, he emails you, he tells you he can fix a game and then tries to get you to pay him £35. We never fell for this but smaller clubs with younger players and less experienced officials are more vulnerable and can get sucked into this kind of thing”. Calls to Mr Hibberd, a self-styled “fixtures secretary” went unanswered yesterday and he is understood to have left the country.

The Asian connection is also being investigated locally following claims that match scorecards were being manipulated. An ECB spokesman told the press “We are investigating reports that Hawkley players were overheard talking about being given runs after making payments to a local man”. ECB investigators are understood to have interviewed the proprietor of a Liss curry house frequented by the Hawkley team.