England cricketer Ben Stokes has pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray in connection with an incident outside a Bristol nightclub.
The 26-year-old Durham all-rounder – who missed the 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia after being suspended by England – appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for the first time since being charged following a fight in the Clifton Triangle area of the city on 25 September.
It is alleged that a 27-year-old man suffered a fractured eye socket during the incident, which happened several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies at Bristol’s Brightside Ground.
Stokes was accused of affray – which effectively amounts to public fighting – alongside Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 26, who also pleaded not guilty.
The charge states that their “conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety”.
The case will be heard at Bristol Crown Court on 12 March, with all three men on bail until then.
If found guilty by a jury, the offence carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
In a statement posted on Twitter last month, Stokes said he was “keen to have an opportunity to clear my name”.