Norwich rugby players heave ambulance out of mud

If you're going to break your leg in the middle of a rain-sodden field, it's good to know you're surrounded by doctors while you wait for an ambulance - and a large number of hulking men to push it out of the mud when it gets stuck.

That's what happened to city rugby player Hywel Rawlins, of Unthank Road, when he came a cropper on Saturday during an away match in north Norfolk between his Norwich Medics team and Holt.

'It was an incredibly muddy day after a lot of rain and unfortunately he went into a tackle that was a little bit slippery and sustained a spiral fracture of the tibia and fibula,' said Duncan Watt, club captain of the medics' team which is made up of UEA health-profession students, and staff from those schools and from local NHS hospitals and units.

The accident halted the match but trainee doctor Mr Rawlins, 20, who could not be moved, gamely called for play to continue on a neighbouring pitch while he waited for the ambulance, which took about 50 minutes to arrive.

The drama still wasn't over. With Mr Rawlins safely aboard, the crew tried to set off and found that the vehicle had become bogged down in the mud and wasn't going anywhere.

Once again the match was halted as the chunky forwards from each team joined their considerable forces and applied their scrummaging skills to heave-ho-ing several tonnes of ambulance out of the muddy field and off on its journey.

Mr Rawlins, a second year medical student at UEA, had been expertly tended and comforted while waiting for the ambulance by a number of people, including team mate Chris Miller, a junior doctor at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, according to Mr Watt.

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He added: 'The club is not in any way disappointed in the ambulance service. It was just one of those things.'

A spokesman for the ambulance service said they aimed to respond to 75pc of life-threatening calls within eight minutes. The service had responded to 309 emergency calls in Norfolk on Saturday. The call from the rugby club had been to a young man with a suspected broken ankle caused by a sports injury and the nearest available ambulance had been despatched straight away.

Mr Rawlins is now recovering at the hospital and is due to have his broken right leg pinned and plated. Speaking from his hospital bed yesterday evening, he said: 'I'm OK at the moment, just waiting for the swelling to go down so I can have the operation, hopefully tomorrow.' To add insult to his injury, Holt won the game 29-7.

Have you had an unusual experience in a sports match? Contact David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email