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Man claims he tried to stop Stokes attacking his friend

By Rod Minchin

One of the two men knocked unconscious by Ben Stokes has told a jury how the England cricketer “was very angry and looking for someone to pick on”.

Ryan Ali (28) said he was defending himself when he raised an upturned beer bottle and moved towards Stokes’s international team-mate Alex Hales before taking a swipe at a reveller with the bottle.

Ali, who is on trial at Bristol Crown Court, said that on the night of the alleged affray in Bristol last September he had been out with his friend Ryan Hale (27).

He told jurors that his memory of the evening was “incomplete” because of the head injury he suffered when he was knocked out by Stokes.

Ali said after leaving the nightclub there was “banter” between him, Mr Hale and two gay men, William O’Connor and Kai Barry.

“I remember walking down that street and someone saying ‘We are going home with them tonight’,” Ali said.

He said that he recalled a “tall blonde man” charging towards him and he backed away and he recalled trying to calm down Mr Stokes.

“He then turned his attention away from me and turns to Ryan Hale who is unconscious on the floor,” he added.

“I saw that as an opportunity to try to restrain Mr Stokes from attacking my friend, who couldn’t defend himself.”

Ali said he did not know why Stokes would have ran at him from across the other side of the road that night.

Stokes denies affray and says he acted in self defence.

“I can get my own perception from watching the evidence,” Ali said.

“All the CCTV put together... I have my own idea... he was very angry and looking for someone to pick on.”

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