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Mayhem on the pitch as violence erupts during Reading YMCA FC and Reading City under 23s match and James Bozarth wields corner pole as weapon

ALL hell broke loose at a football match, with players brawling and a bat being wielded on the pitch.

And some players had to subdue a teammate who was brandishing a corner flag pole, Reading magistrates heard.

Reading Magistrates Courts
Reading Magistrates Courts

In the dock at Wednesday, March 27, was James Bozarth.

The 28-year-old, who was living at West End Road, Mortimer Common, had been playing for Reading YMCA in a match against Reading City under 23s at the Padworth pitch.

Louisa Rose, prosecuting, said: “A tackle took place between Mr Bozarth and a player from the other team which resulted in punches being thrown – not only by the defendant but from others who were joining in.

“A number of players got involved in a fight.”

Mr Bozarth, who told the court he was currently “sofa surfing” and of no fixed address, was shouting: “I’ll f****** kill you – if you want to fight, let’s do it properly.”

Mr Bozarth was given a red card and was led from the pitch, said Ms Rose – but he picked up a corner flag pole and started waving it around like a weapon.

Ms Rose added: “He was still shouting about fighting.

“He was again removed from the pitch and he threw the flag pole to another player.”

The match resumed – but not for long, because Mr Bozarth was not finished.

Ms Rose said: “In minutes he returned again with a bat.”

Teammates tackled him to the ground but struggled for up to 15 minutes to subdue him and get the weapon off him, the court heard.

Ms Rose described the scene as one of “serious disorder” with spectators in fear.

Mr Bozarth admitted two charges of possessing an offensive weapon – the corner flag pole and cricket bat respectively – and one of using threatening behaviour towards Luke Donvil, all on the same occasion at the Padworth Village Hall pitch on August 28 last year.

He has four previous convictions for offences including public disorder, criminal damage and harassment, the court heard.

Mason Waker, defending, said he would postpone his mitigation on Mr Bozarth’s behalf if magistrates were minded to order pre-sentence reports.

They indicated that they would, indeed require reports.

Sentencing was therefore adjourned and Mr Bozarth was meanwhile released on unconditional bail.

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