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Oxbridge hockey tournament ends in chair-throwing ruckus at pub

The incident took place last month at The Four Candles pub in Oxford
The incident took place last month at The Four Candles pub in Oxford

An annual event between Oxbridge hockey players dating back over a century ended in a brawl after a student dressed as a traffic cone hurled a chair off a pub balcony.

Sportsmen and women were celebrating after varsity matches between Oxford and Cambridge when a student in fancy dress picked up the chair and launched it from the upper floor of a Wetherspoon pub.

An Oxford men’s player was taken to A&E after being struck in the head and received stitches for the injury, while a Cambridge women’s player suffered minor injuries to her face, it was reported.

The incident took place last month at The Four Candles pub.

The varsity matches, known as the “Best Day of the Year”, date back to 1890 and are known as the “pinnacle” of the two side’s hockey calendars.

Pub celebrations this year drew hundreds before an Oxford student in a traffic cone costume threw the chair on to revellers below, according to Varsity, Cambridge’s student newspaper.

Venue staff intervened and attempted to identify what had happened but the other members of the Oxford men’s team “closed ranks”, witnesses said. The managers eventually ordered everyone to leave, it is understood.

A student told Varsity that Oxford players were overheard discussing how the incident would make “great chat”. One student told the newspaper that they were “all just drinking really and I don’t know why but one of them picked up a chair and chucked it over to the bottom floor.”

“Everyone was just quite confused”, a Cambridge student said. “There was just a lot of smashed glass all over the floor and the chair.”

Individual made his escape

Security later identified and singled out the individual believed to have thrown the chair and followed him down the road, until they were said to have disappeared from sight. However, sources said the suspect was believed to have been seen later that evening at a club night at Spirit Bar in Oxford.

A spokesman for The Four Candles said: “Wetherspoon are aware of the incident. Members of hockey teams from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities were using The Four Candles at the time after what we believe was a hockey tournament earlier in the day.

“The individual who threw the chair was identified from the pub’s CCTV coverage. We understand that he was from Oxford University and that his name is now known by the university authorities so the appropriate action can be taken.”

The spokesman added the company was not aware of anyone being injured.

The chair-thrower has been suspended pending an internal investigation by Oxford University Hockey Club, according to Varsity.

Cambridge University Hockey Club is also holding an internal investigation, it is understood.

The incident is not the first time that a so-called “swap” between Oxbridge students has ended in punishment. Last month, the Cambridge student newspaper reported that sports teams at St John’s College had amassed over 130 hours of community service for their behaviour at a sports day swap that reportedly involved verbal abuse, urine, and beer spills.

A spokesman for the college said: “Members of St John’s are expected to abide by the code of conduct which is detailed in the student handbook. Anyone who does not meet those expectations may be subject to the college’s disciplinary process which is available online.”

Oxford University was approached for comment.