[caption id="attachment_733619" align="alignnone" width="628"]<a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ben-stokes4.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-733619" alt="ben-stokes" src="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ben-stokes4.jpg" width="628" height="355" /></a> Ben Stokes (AFP Photo)[/caption] <p></p> <p></p>England cricketer Ben Stokes claimed he punched a man for abusing another individual "for being gay", his trial heard on Wednesday. <p></p> <p></p>Stokes, 27, is accused at Bristol Crown Court in southwest England for alleged affray, along with 27-year-old Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, 28. <p></p> <p></p>Stokes, jurors heard, told police in a statement that he felt forced to defend himself because it was "two on to one" in the brawl with Ali and Hale. <p></p> <p></p>The two gay men Stokes claimed he was defending, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, "thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up", the cricketer told police. <p></p> <p></p>But off-duty police community support officer Mark Spure, who tried to break up the fight, told the court that Stokes "seemed to be the main aggressor". <p></p> <p></p>Jurors have seen footage of Stokes talking to O'Connor and Barry outside the Bristol nightclub Mbargo in the early hours of September 25 last year. <p></p> <p></p>The court has also been shown footage of Stokes brawling with Ali and Hale -- who are friends -- after walking away from the club. <p></p> <p></p>Stokes allegedly knocked Hale unconscious, and then Ali. <p></p> <p></p>- 'Groin grab' - <p></p>On Wednesday, the third day of the trial, the court saw footage of Ali and Hale holding beer bottles and walking up a road with Barry and O'Connor -- described by the prosecution as "openly gay" Mbargo regulars. <p></p> <p></p>The jury was shown security camera footage of Barry allegedly grabbing Ali's groin shortly before the brawl erupted. <p></p> <p></p>Detective Constable Daniel Adams, the officer in the case, told jurors: "Ryan Ali and Kai Barry appear to be having a disagreement. Mr Barry grabs Mr Ali around the groin area. <p></p> <p></p>"Mr Barry appears to link arms with Mr Ali and is shrugged off and pushed away." <p></p> <p></p>Further CCTV footage showed Stokes approaching a retreating Ali, Adams said. <p></p> <p></p>Hale is then shown collapsing to the floor but picking himself up after 20 seconds and disappearing before returning with, Adams said, "what appears to be a metal pole". <p></p> <p></p>Police constable Stacey Alway, who arrested Stokes at the scene, said he was calm and compliant when she dealt with him. <p></p> <p></p>"As I approached the group I could see the male wearing the green T-shirt, Mr Stokes, squaring up to the other males," she told jurors. <p></p> <p></p>Footage from her body camera, played to the jury, showed she said to Stokes: "A guy over there was covered in blood and I've been told you punched him." <p></p> <p></p>Stokes replied: "Because he was abusing my two friends for being gay." <p></p> <p></p>- 'I was worried': Stokes - <p></p>In a later statement, Stokes told officers: "These men were speaking to the gay guys in what I would call a harsh and abusive way. <p></p> <p></p>"It was homophobic in nature. I took exception and said 'leave it out'. <p></p> <p></p>"One of the guys responded -- he said 'shut up or I'll bottle you'." <p></p> <p></p>Stokes told police that Ali came towards him, holding a bottle. He said the pair "scuffled" on the floor, before Hale grabbed him from behind. <p></p> <p></p>"I was worried it might be two on to one and I knew one had had a bottle," Stokes told police. <p></p> <p></p>"I didn't feel I had an option. <p></p> <p></p>"I am clear that I felt under threat of immediate attack from both these men and I did what I did only in order to defend myself." <p></p> <p></p>The trial, expected to last five to seven days, continues on Thursday.