Player’s days at darts club over after assault

Dale de Groot-Green has now been banned from Otago and Mosgiel darts clubs. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Dale de Groot-Green has now been banned from Otago and Mosgiel darts clubs. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The bad-boy of Dunedin darts is in double trouble after receiving a life ban from his second club.

Dale Linden de Groot-Green (42), one of the region’s top darting talents, called the situation - the result of a push - "completely ridiculous" and said he had not thrown his arrows since the incident that saw him hauled before the Dunedin District Court last week.

"I just feel like I’m going to be bullied everywhere I go," he said.

After being banned for life from the South Dunedin-based Otago Darts Association (ODA) in 2015 for his erratic behaviour, he took up playing in Mosgiel.

However, during a competition at the association’s Taieri Bowling Club headquarters on February 25, de Groot-Green’s rage again took flight.

Court documents state he was abusive to other players during the night and was confronted by committee members after they fielded an array of complaints.

"I asked him to quieten down and he told me to eff off," Mosgiel Darts Association president Bobby Ryder said.

"He just kept going and going and going."

De Groot-Green pushed the vice-president of the club - Mr Ryder’s father - in the chest before police were called.

Counsel Brian Kilkelly said his client reacted the way he did because he was "effectively cornered".

While Mr Kilkelly stressed his client’s remorse, Judge David Robinson was doubtful.

And his scepticism was well placed.

"The assault charge was a load of bull....," de Groot-Green said.

"I just went guilty to get it out of the way."

He conceded, however, he was not sober during the incident.

"I’m not a saint, and I’d had a bellyful that night, so I make no excuses for my actions. But sometimes you’ve just got to stick up for yourself," the defendant said.

The court heard the transgression came at a heavy cost - de Groot-Green was banned from the club for life.

Mr Ryder said he had no choice.

"We’re only small and we’re trying to grow the club ... We had members threatening not to come back," he said.

"I’ve stuck up for him in the past and it’s just been spat in my face."

It was a shame, Mr Ryder said, because de Groot-Green was such a talented darts player.

Eddie Girdler, a veteran of more than 50 years in the sport and a former president of the ODA, agreed.

"He’s an excellent darts player but he just can’t keep his bloody mouth shut," he said.

Mr Girdler said de Groot-Green was banned from his club in 2015 after a "serious altercation" at a prizegiving.

He had been allowed back to the King Edward St premises for "open" events since, and Mr Girdler said he seemed to have turned a corner.

He was, however, unsurprised to hear about de Groot-Green’s latest transgression.

"The general atmosphere [at competitions] is everybody’s there to play darts and have a good time.

"We stress the social side of it but we’ve never ever had any problems like we had with Dale," Mr Girdler said.

De Groot-Green, a former representative hockey and cricket player, said darts had become increasingly important in his life.

"I used to be a sporty guy before I got old and fat and got a broken back, but I’m still competitive," he said.

"[Darts] is about the only thing I can do without hurting myself."

He was fined $250 for the assault and ordered to pay $130 court costs.



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