‘No cricket’: social player faces life ban for attacking opponents

A man who beat two opponents in a social sports match in Dunedin was told by a judge: “This is not cricket”.

William John Campbell (39) is now waiting to see if he will be able to play the game again in the region.

One of the men he attacked in front of the man’s young daughter during the Monday twilight cricket match said he would find it extremely worrying if a life ban was not imposed.

Otago Cricket Association community cricket chief executive Andrew Petrie said Campbell was suspended from the game during the police investigation and would now be required to appear before a judicial committee.

A result is expected within a few weeks.

Campbell pleaded guilty to two assault charges in Dunedin District Court last week, when the unusual background to the blast was revealed.

He was a wicket keeper for his team, the “Mad Magpies,” Jan. 25 at Bayfield Park when he challenged the decision of the umpire – a member of the batting team – to call wide.

Campbell continued an “offensive tirade” and followed the ref to his square foot position at the end of the sur.

When told to calm down, he confronted the 53-year-old victim and demanded that they “fix the problem here and now”.

A 58-year-old batsman stepped in and told Campbell to continue the game. Campbell responded by pushing the victim down the face, giving him a swollen lip, before turning his attention to the referee.

Campbell punched him in the head and had to be held back by his teammates.

The game has been discontinued.

The drummer told the Otago Daily Times he only went to the police because his children and those of other players witnessed the assaults.

He said he had played competitive cricket for over 40 years and had never seen anything like it.

“I’ve played enough cricket to know where the line is drawn and it went way beyond that. You’d expect a bit of sledding and a bit of a joke but not at that level.”

The victim said his team were on their way to victory when Campbell burst.

“It just reminded me of the bully at school,” he said.

He said Otago Cricket assured him Campbell would receive a lifetime ban and he was disappointed that it had taken so long for a decision to be made.

Mad Magpies captain Arron Campbell said he didn’t tolerate the way the accused – his brother – had acted, but argued he deserved a second chance.

“He was quite embarrassed by the situation,” he said.

“He had gone through a pretty bad time in his life and he’s the first to admit he shouldn’t have played.”

Arron Campbell called claims that the Mad Magpies used to bully other teams “a little insulting.”

“These are the people who judge us because some of us have tattoos on our arms. We play as passionately as anyone,” he said.

Judge David Robinson expressed surprise that such an incident took place during an allegedly courteous lawsuit.

“Cricket is a gentleman’s game,” he said.

Blows to the head had to be taken seriously, the judge told William Campbell, because of the serious damage they could cause.

He imposed 60 hours of community service and nine months of supervision and urged the defendant to take advantage of all the rehabilitation programs offered.

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