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Ben Stokes calm, relaxed and in control before alleged affray – Jake Ball

The cricketer’s statement was read to Bristol Crown Court as part of Ben Stokes’s defence case.

England cricketer Jake Ball has described his teammate Ben Stokes as “in a good mood” before he allegedly knocked two men unconscious.

A statement by the 27-year-old, who also represents Nottinghamshire, was read to Bristol Crown Court by Stokes’ barrister Gordon Cole QC.

Mr Ball said he was in Bristol in September last year as part of the one-day international England squad against the West Indies.

He did not play but watched the game and described how Stokes had done well in it.

“After the game, Ben was in a good mood,” Mr Ball’s statement said.

“The whole squad was in good spirits and it was business as usual after the game.”

Some members of the squad who lived locally and in London returned home but others stayed in Bristol.

“In the early evening, a few of us including Ben went to the hotel bar for drinks,” Mr Ball said.

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Ben Stokes denies affray (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Some of the team had a meal. We all had two to three drinks in the hotel.”

Mr Ball, along with Stokes, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and James Anderson left the hotel at 11.25pm to celebrate the win.

They arrived at Mbargo a short time later and were “chatting about cricket and the match”, Mr Ball said.

“It wasn’t a wild night out,” his statement said.

At 12.45am, Stokes, Mr Hales, Mr Anderson and Mr Ball left Mbargo and went to another club called Pryzm.

About 10 minutes later, Mr Ball returned to his hotel on his own as he was tired.

“When I left Ben, I seem to recall he was sat in a booth with Alex and James, still chatting about the cricket and the match earlier in the day,” Mr Ball said.

“He was chilled out. I would not say that Ben was drunk, he was calm, relaxed and controlled. He certainly was not looking for trouble.

“He was in good spirits after the win, we all were.”

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