One of New Zealand's leading bowlers is fighting to stay in the sport after he exposed himself at an Easter tournament in Gisborne.
David File admits he "flopped out my old fella" when he returned from the toilet to illustrate to his losing fours team that they were "playing like dicks" on the middle day of the Easter Burton Cup tournament at Kahutia Bowling Club.
The 43-year-old Gisborne painter told The Dominion Post last night that he regretted his actions and maintained few saw his act and no one was offended at the time.
But Bowls Gisborne East Coast took the matter into its own hands and hammered the former New Zealand representative with a 10-year ban.
"You don't even get that for murder these days," File said.
"I didn't hurt anybody. I just made a dick of myself. I've been around bowls quite a while, I've seen a lot of punishments for various misdemeanours and I have never seen anything like this for a lot more serious offences."
File is talking to a lawyer and plans to appeal to Bowls New Zealand.
He took up bowls as a 13-year-old, represented New Zealand during the 1990s and is regularly to the fore at national events.
If the ban stands, he cannot step on to the premises of any New Zealand club for 10 years.
File said he was genuinely disappointed with himself and put the incident down to a combination of a few drinks earlier in the day and his team playing poorly in the three-day tournament.
"We weren't going very well and we'd had a few beers and we were playing like dickheads.
"I went for a piss and when I returned I flopped it out and said to the boys, `That is what we are playing like.'
"It was only a bit of a joke. Everyone thought it was a bit of a joke at the time, that is what was intended.
"You do silly things and it now has surfaced afterwards. I regret it now, but I didn't think it was a big deal, it was a bit of joke."
Bowls Gisborne East Coast president Robin Jefferson confirmed its judicial committee heard the matter and imposed the ban and that File was notified, but could not attend the hearing.
File said he was painting out of town at the time of the hearing and returned home only at weekends so any mail to his letterbox could go unopened for several days.
Jefferson issued one statement yesterday. "It is out of our hands and now with Bowls New Zealand. I can't, nor would it be appropriate for me to, say anything further."
No date has yet been set for the appeal to be heard.
As for File, he can't comprehend the thought of not being able to have a roll-up at the start of summer.
"I don't know what I'll do if I can't play.
"I've been playing bowls since I was 13.
"Hopefully, it gets sorted out because the bowls season starts soon."
- © Fairfax NZ News