A University darts competition in Sheffield had to be abandoned after a drunken mass brawl broke out between students of rival universities on Saturday evening. Sheffield University were taking on their rivals Sheffield Hallam at the ‘Sheffield Dartsity’ event over the weekend, until violence saw the event descend into chaos.
The incident occurred at Sheffield University’s Octagon Centre, and South Yorkshire Police were called to the scene just before 10pm as the brawl spiralled out of control. Sheffield University were leading 4-1 before the mass brawl ensued during the sixth game, and organisers were subsequently forced to abandon the competition.
Chairs, drinks and punches were reportedly thrown and videos were posted on social media which shows staff desperately trying to intervene and stop the melee. Tim Adams, a member of Sheffield University’s darts team provided his account of the incident.
“One person I saw chucked beer at one of the university’s fans and then at least ten of them started to fist fight. I also saw a chair whistle past a cleaner’s head. I spoke to grandparents of families who were disgusted by what happened, and a lot of them just walked out in disbelief. There were a few tears in the player’s room afterwards as well.”
Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented: “People were just too drunk and started throwing pints at each other and it all escalated very quickly. As soon as one fight started between students, loads more happened. The event had to be cancelled because of the fighting.”
“Chairs were thrown and punches were thrown. The police were called. It really was a shame that it happened, because it was a top event before it kicked off. The union handled it really well, it wasn’t their fault – purely a minority of drunken idiots who ruined it.”
The event was meant to be raising money for ‘Roundabout’; a charity organisation in Sheffield designed to help homeless and vulnerable individuals in the city. Also, the ‘Dartsity’ itself was being sponsored by Target Darts, who manage the likes of Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall.
The Sheffield University Darts Society released a statement criticising the ‘disgraceful’ scenes that took place. “The players who took part all threw great darts in the spirit of the game. It has always been that way between University of Sheffield Darts and Hallam Darts – we play together as friends.”
“We cannot condemn strongly enough the disgraceful behaviour of those who refused to respect the two teams and the staff. As a society we have strived to shed the negative image of darts and make the sport something everyone can enjoy. We will not stop trying in spite of the events last night.”
The Universities also released a joint statement, insisting that they will continue to collaborate and promote their shared values. “The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University are extremely proud of how our students regularly collaborate.”
“Our teams always work hard to demonstrate and promote their shared values of pride, respect, fair play and sportsmanship. Incidents like those seen at ‘Dartsity’ on Saturday are incredibly rare and we utterly condemn this type of behaviour.
“We know that both our darts societies worked hard to organise the event on Saturday night and have expressed deep regret about the incident and the impact it had on the vast majority of supporters,” the statement read.
South Yorkshire Police confirmed that they were called to the event and helped disperse crowds at the request of the universities, although no arrests were made. However, the Universities claimed that they will work together to identify those involved and “take appropriate action to prevent similar incidents taking place in the future”.