Dereham rugby player fined for attack on opponent

Christine CunninghamA judge said that rugby and football players are not above the law after he ordered a Dereham rugby player to pay �400 compensation for fracturing the nose of an opponent during a match.Christine Cunningham

A judge said that rugby and football players are not above the law after he ordered a Dereham rugby player to pay �400 compensation for fracturing the nose of an opponent during a match.

The incident happened in front of dozens of witnesses watching the game between Dereham Rugby Club and Little Melton-based Crusaders Rugby Club, a court heard on Monday.

Prop forward Nigel Brown, 36, was seen to use the palm of his hand to strike Crusaders' centre Derek Bowman, fracturing his nose during a match in November last year.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Brown was sent off following the incident and Nick Methold, prosecuting, said that, as well as his court appearance, he could face a further disciplinary hearing by the rugby authorities.


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Brown, of Lime Tree Close, Dereham, admitted common assault on Mr Bowman.

Judge Peter Jacobs ordered him to pay �400 compensation to Mr Bowman and pay �250 towards costs.

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He also ordered Brown to do 160 hours' unpaid work and made him subject to a 12-month community order.

He told Brown: 'People who do this on a football or rugby field are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.'

Judge Jacobs said that people who played rugby or football were quite willing to take the risk of getting injuries while playing, but not to be injured in this way.

'You are a large person and it was quite deliberate.'

After the case, John Langford, the Norfolk representative of Eastern Counties Rugby Union, said that any player involved in an incident like this would face the Eastern Counties disciplinary committee and any punishment, which could include a ban, would be within the Rugby Football Union guidelines.

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