New City sacked star import Tarisai Musakanda on Tuesday night after he was convicted for drink driving.
The Zimbabwean international recorded a 0.098 reading, almost twice the legal limit, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 15.
He told Albury Local Court earlier this week he was "just standing to the side, having a drink" as children gathered around a Santa brought in for the club's Christmas party.
New City said at no stage did Musakanda inform the club he had been charged and convicted.
The first the club knew of the matter was when an article appeared on The Border Mail's website on Tuesday.
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"Mr Musakanda's behaviour is not representative of the values we hold dear at the New City Cricket Club. We as a club take the responsible service of alcohol very seriously. Mr Musakanda was only at the club function for a relatively brief time and at no stage was he served alcohol whilst intoxicated. All our bar volunteers have a responsible Service of Alcohol qualification," club president Chris Green said in a statement.
Green said the Phoenix is incredibly disappointed and hurt that Musakanda linked the club's function with his mid-range reading.
"I went and spoke to him when we terminated his contract and I asked him straight out (about his reading) and he told me it wasn't (done) at the club, he went elsewhere afterwards," Green said when contacted yesterday morning.
New City says it had to take a moral stand in sacking import Tarisai Musakanda.
The Zimbabwean, who has played one Test, 15 one-day internationals and six T20 internationals, was axed after he was convicted for drink driving and failed to tell the club.
He told Albury Local Court he was "having a drink" as children gathered around a Santa brought in for the club's Christmas party.
"We'll grow into a very strong club for a long time, but if we didn't make a stand now, we won't," club president Chris Green said.
New City had a rebuild over winter, rivalling any other club in the past 20 years.
The club has a new committee, players, coach and captain.
Mr Musakanda's behaviour is not representative of the values we hold dear at ... New City.- Chris Green's statement
"We've rebuilt the club pretty much from scratch," Green said.
"For us this year, it's been about changing of the culture, not necessarily on-field performances, we think if we get the culture right, players will come and the on-field performances will come over the next two to three years.
"So when something like this happens, it's got to be about the culture first and that's why we've been so strong in our reaction.
"Like all clubs that go through change, you just can't keep rotating the players, you've got to change something at the top and change something through the club and that's what we've done, with support of everyone who was involved previously as well."
The first-year president was quizzed which disappointed him most, Musakanda's drink driving or failure to tell officials?
"Both, the fact that he didn't tell us was probably one of the biggest issues, but we would have been there to support him, but the fact he said he did it at our junior Christmas party is just not true and highly damaging," Green said.
"We've put a lot of work into our junior program and for that to come out is just not right ... it doesn't align with our values."
The 25-year-old leaves the club as Cricket Albury Wodonga's highest run-scorer.
He had 400 runs at an average of 57.14, with one century and three 50s.
The Phoenix sits at the bottom of the 50-over ladder at the halfway mark of the season, which resumes on Saturday.
Musakanda has scored 30 per cent of the club's runs with Englishman Sam Grant sitting at 19th in the association with 216 at 27.
New City has had an outstanding record with imports in recent years with Indian Saurabh Bandekar topping the aggregate last year with 843 runs, while Englishman Saif Zaib was third the previous season.
Grant has been one of the best all-rounders and the Phoenix says the Musakanda incident won't stop the club signing imports.
"Sam Grant's been brilliant and he couldn't do enough, like he rolls pitches, he mows lawns, he coaches the juniors," Green said.
"We are thrilled, so it's not about the imports, it's about the individuals.
"We've got great facilities, some really good people involved, if we continue to build the culture it's a place where players want to be."
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