Bowling cheat who changed identity to play as novice banned for two years

A Canterbury representative and champion bowls player has had a five year ban reduced to two despite using her new name ...
Scott Hammond/Fairfax NZ

A Canterbury representative and champion bowls player has had a five year ban reduced to two despite using her new name to re-enter the junior ranks.

An experienced bowler changed her identity, claimed to be a novice, then blitzed the sport's junior ranks.

Over the two and a bit years she cheated the system, Liz Hayton swindled her way into the Canterbury Development representative teams and won various local centre titles, including the 2015 Champion of Champions junior singles crown.

She was caught out when a visiting player recognised her at a Christchurch tournament. She has been banished from the greens for two years. 

Hayton is understood to be an experienced player of around 15 years, but deceived her playing colleagues when she claimed to be a novice to the sport to enable her to play in the junior ranks.

She signed on at the Beckenham Bowling Club about three years ago under her new name after moving to Canterbury.

Hayton claimed to be a novice having only played socially, but was a vastly experienced player under her previous name.

Stuff understands she changed her name by deed poll.

Players that are new to the sport have five years in the junior ranks.

Hayton was caught out early in 2015 when a visiting player recognised her at a regional tournament in Christchurch.

At the time she claimed her previous name, which cannot be identified for legal reasons, was in fact a relation who had moved overseas.

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Hayton was initially suspended from all bowls by the Bowls Canterbury Disciplinary Panel for five years in October.

She appealed to the national body. Last week, the Bowls NZ South Island Judiciary Committee reduced her ban to two years.

Details of the written decision are not yet public.

Members of the bowls community are angry Hayton's deception cost other junior players titles and spots in representative teams.

Hayton has released a statement via her lawyer, Andrew Marsh.

"Liz is extremely sorry for the situation that arose.  She did not intend for this to occur," it read.

"At the time she was suffering from serious personal health issues and she had also been subjected to ongoing harassment over a significant period of time. This unfortunately impacted on her decision making. 

"She certainly did not intend for her name change to have such serious consequences. She hopes now that the matter has been finalised everyone in the bowls community can move on."

Bowls NZ chief executive Kerry Clark OBE would not comment on why the ban was reduced. He said he knew very little about the appeal hearing.

Clark said he could not put a timeframe on when the chairman of the the judiciary committee would sign off a written decision. There was no guarantee the details would be made public.

Bowls Canterbury chief executive officer Adrian Robins refused to comment on the decision because the appeal had gone through the national body, but said any dishonest play would not be accepted.

"If we do find anyone cheating we'll come down hard on them. We don't want cheating in the great game of bowls and we won't tolerate it," Robins said.

"It's a sport where the level of sportsmanship is very high."

 - Stuff

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