The annual Dartsity event at the Octagon had to be abandoned due to crowd trouble, bringing a conclusion to the 2017 Varsity proceedings.
Dartsity is a showpiece event held between the University and Sheffield Hallam, but this year’s event was unable to finish thanks to disturbances from both sets of fans at the Octagon.
Trouble began to unfold during the sixth and final match of the evening, as Uni of captain Adam Warner was celebrating the unassailable 4-1 lead for the hosts when Hallam fans allegedly threw beer over him.
Warner, who had come from behind to win his match by three sets to one, then became involved with the scuffle in the crowd.
The event descended into chaos as a minority of fans from both sides threw punches at each other, as well as chairs and beer, soaking other spectators as well as those involved.
Security tried their best to deal with the perpetrators, but made it clear they wanted the event to be abandoned, which it was following the suspension of play in the final match.
Fighting continued as fans left the Octagon, and police soon arrived to help restore some order to the night.
The crowd for this year’s event is more than double the 400 which watched 2016’s edition, presenting new challenges for those involved in the organisation of the event.
Head of University of Sheffield Darts, Ed McCosh, released a statement thanking those who took part in and helped organise the event from both universities, as well as all the staff and security who worked on the night, particularly the cleaning staff who “went above and beyond the call of duty”. McCosh went on to condemn the “disgraceful behaviour” and apologise for those who were unable to play as a result. McCosh also stated additional fundraising efforts would be made for the charities involved “by way of an apology”.
Some of those who attended Dartsity 2017 suggested that the security team was understaffed for the size of the crowd, making it difficult to control the trouble which ensued.
Despite the trouble, the University claimed the trophy for the year, thanks to the lead they had gained in the first five matches of the night.