A Dunedin cricketer who assaulted two opponents has been banned from taking the field for three and a-half years.
William John Campbell's ban was one of the most severe in New Zealand cricket history, the Otago Cricket Association (OCA) said, but it provided little comfort to his victim.
The 58-year-old, whose team had been playing Campbell's ''Mad Magpies'' on January 25 when the violent outburst took place, said he had expected a harsher penalty.
''Clouting another player's one thing but clouting an umpire's another,'' he said.
''It leaves me wondering what you'd have to do to get a life ban.''
Campbell did not attend the OCA code of conduct hearing last month and refused to engage in the disciplinary process at any stage, the association confirmed.
He was wicket-keeping at Bayfield Park when the incident took place.
Campbell argued with an umpire — a member of the opposing team — who called a wide, and continued the ''tirade'' when the player moved to square leg at the end of the over.
When urged by others to calm down, he instead confronted the 53-year-old umpire and demanded they ''sort the matter out, here and now''.
The victim, who was batting, intervened and told Campbell to get on with the game.
He responded by shoving the player in the lower face, then punching the umpire in the head.
The game was abandoned and Campbell later pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in the Dunedin District Court.
He was sentenced to 60 hours' community work and nine months' supervision.
But that was not the end of his legal woes.
Campbell has been charged with breaching his community-work sentence, allegedly failing to turn up to complete his hours, and is scheduled to be re-sentenced next month.
OCA general manager of community cricket Andrew Petrie defended the length of Campbell's stand-down.
''Cricket has zero tolerance for physical abuse in the game and we believe the penalty imposed reflects this,'' he said.
''The OCA continues to encourage participants to play within the spirit of the game, and is now working with other regional sports organisations and its own partners to promote positive behaviour.''
Despite the fiasco, the victim said he and his mates would again enter a team in this summer's competition, which is due to start in the coming weeks.
He had been assured his team would not be drawn against the Mad Magpies but he was sceptical Campbell would abide by the ban.
''The other thing I'm curious about is what [the OCA] do to enforce it. I have little doubt he'll turn up and play,'' he said.
Campbell's suspension was backdated to the time of the offence, meaning he could be back in whites by July 2024.
- Robb Kidd, ODT