Image Credit: Jaggery

Chair ‘chucked’ by Oxford hockey player at students in Wetherspoons

On Sunday, the 18th of February, the much-anticipated ‘Best Day of the Year (BDoTY)’ quickly became one of the worst for Oxford and Cambridge University Hockey teams. Post-match celebrations quickly took a turn after a student flung a chair from the top floor of The Four Candles, striking two hockey players down below.

As reported by Varsity, Cambridge’s student paper, a hockey player from Lady Margaret Hall hurtled the chair over the top-floor railings of Wetherspoons in a shocking outburst of violence. The actions of the student, dressed as a traffic cone, led to an Oxford Men’s 4s player being taken to hospital and receiving stitches for a head injury.

One of them [hockey players] “dressed as a traffic cone” picked up a chair and chucked it over to the bottom floor

The meeting between hockey players came as part of one of the many varsity swaps taking place between Oxbridge sports clubs at this time of the year. The long-standing BDoTY sees the 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths Cambridge and Oxford Hockey Teams come head-to-head every year. However, this year’s celebrations looked quite different after everyone was escorted out of The Four Candles because of the incident.

An eyewitness reported to Varsity 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”. Another said that the incident would make “great chat” in the future. 

Varsity also reported that the Men’s team had “closed ranks” refusing to tell the Wetherspoons staff who had thrown the chair. The student had to be identified using CCTV footage. Reportedly, the suspect still attended the club night at Spirit Bar later that night. 

Since the incident, Oxford University’s Hockey Club has instructed its members to avoid commenting on or discussing the incident at all. The story made national news yesterday despite attempts to maintain such “closed ranks”.

It took mere hours for The Telegraph and BNN Breaking to pick up on Varsity’s article. The event, described as a ‘brawl’ by The Telegraph, clearly strikes the chord of what BNN Breaking deemed ‘a pattern of behaviour’ by Oxbridge students ‘at social events’.

BNN Breaking noted that the ‘reckless’ act ‘raises questions about the culture surrounding university sports teams and their social activities’. The Oxbridge Crew date is often the most called-upon symbol of the sporting and drinking culture bred at both universities.

However, hockey is also often labelled as having its own problematic culture. An article published by The Hockey Paper in April 2023 titled ‘Will hockey in England always be an independent school sport?’ delved into the disproportionate number of private school students who play hockey. 

The article highlighted England Hockey’s announcement that ‘80% of the under-16 boys and girls squads selected to be part of this programme attended independent schools’. Perhaps, this imbalance lends itself at times to an imbalanced, entitled sporting culture. 

Whilst the event highlights some of the problems with sporting and university cultures, it was the actions of one reckless individual that tainted the post-match celebrations on the 18th of February. They are currently involved in an internal investigation by the University of Oxford Hockey Club.

The Oxford University Hockey Club has since stated that ‘the player who did it is currently suspended from the club whilst the investigation continues’.

On top of this, the incident ‘has been referred to The Proctors of the University’, meaning it is no longer just a ‘club internal investigation’.

Image Credit: Jaggery

Image Description: The Four Candles pub