Commonwealth trip is off for injured star Bloomfield

Norfolk tennis player Richard Bloomfield has pulled out of the England team for the Commonwealth Games after failing to recover from a back injury.

The 27-year-old from Alpington, who will be replaced by Josh Goodall, aggravated a long-term injury at a tournament in France earlier this month and will not be fit in time for the competition, which begins a week today.

Bloomfield said: 'I'm so disappointed to miss out on the Commonwealth Games. I was really looking forward to representing my country, particularly given this is the first time tennis has been part of the Games. But I've been advised that my back injury will take another two or three weeks to heal, so the event has unfortunately come just that bit too soon.'

Bloomfield hit the headlines this summer when he unexpectedly reached the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Championships in Rhode Island after coming through qualifying.

Goodall, the British number seven, said: 'I'm so excited to have been selected.


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'It's always the greatest honour to represent your country and I can't wait to get out there.'

Bloomfield's withdrawal follows that of Scottish star Elena Baltacha, who announced that she would not be competing because of health worries.

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Meanwhile, the Aegon British Tour comes to Norwich next month as Easton College Tennis Centre plays host to some of Britain's aspiring professional players for the first time.

The tour traditionally provides quality competition for up and coming players with a view to progressing them towards world ranking events.

This year the tour has been restructured with greater prize money and an increased number of tournaments in order to attract a higher standard of entry, with established professionals also able to use the tournaments as an income boost to support their playing careers.

There is limited Norfolk interest with members of the men's county team unable to compete due to work and university commitments, however two members of the ladies' team will be pitting their wits against some strong opposition. Olivia Nicholls and Amy Partridge, both key figures in the promotion-winning Norfolk side from the summer's County Cup, will look to progress through the draw at the venue where they train.

Harry Weeds, the Norfolk 16-and-under champion, enters a British Tour for the first time and he is joined by local player James Armstrong in a men's draw packed with quality.

The two Norfolk men will be forced to qualify for the main draw, which features players such as Matt Pearce, from Essex, and Attila Balogh of Lancashire who, as a 1.2, is the highest rated player to enter the event.

Qualifying begins on Monday, October 11, with the main draw set to start on Wednesday. Play begins 10am daily and there will be viewing for spectators in the new indoor centre's excellent gallery.

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