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St George's fast bowler George O'Brien is out of Cup Match.

O'Brien was assaulted in the Mount Road area of the town on Monday night, and was taken to Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre before being transfered to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Sources within St George's Cricket Club confirmed that the serious nature of O'Brien's injuries, which are believed to involve him being struck on the arm with a machete, had ruled him out of the annual classic. And one insider suggested the bowler was lucky not to have lost his arm.

"I would just hope that George recovers from this injury," said St George's club president Neil Paynter. "That's my main concern. As far as Cup Match is concerned, I think that will take care of itself. I just wish George well and hope that he makes a speedy recovery."

The loss of O'Brien, who is still regarded as one of the best fast bowlers on the Island, is a big blow for the East Enders. And it comes on the back of the loss of two other fast bowlers, Stefan Kelly and Greg Foggo.

Kelly is out for four to five weeks with a knee injury he first picked up during Bermuda's recent matches against United Arab Emirates, while Foggo has a hamstring injury.

"It's very unfortunate for George," said St George's Cup Match coach Clay Smith, "and it's very unfortunate because he looked really sharp in the trial match last week against St David's, and he is definitely somebody that we were looking at to come in and add some firepower to our bowling attack.

"But, from the fast bowling aspects it opens the door for Rudell Pitcher, and for people like Ryan Steede, and also the youngster David Bedard. He's been down training with us. It opens up the door for these guys, and even Alan Douglas Jnr, I'll put his name in the hat.

"These guys have been down training extremely hard over the last two weeks, so it's just a matter of can they produce the goods in the final trial, when it counts the most."

The attack on O'Brien, and the serious nature of it, has come as a big shock to the St George's team, and while Smith said the players would think about their injured team-mate, they could not let it distract them from the task at hand.

"Obviously our hearts will go out to George but we will have to try and put that behind us really and not let that be the forefront of our focus, you know," he said. "It's a very sad situation but we still have to go ahead and plan as normal without him now, and obviously with him not being there our game plan may have to change somewhat, how our approach would have been."

O'Brien's loss provides others with the opportunity to write their name into the Cup Match history books, and Smith hopes the rest of the players recognise that.

"It gives someone else an opportunity to make a mark for themselves," he said. "It's just a matter of whether or not there is a player out there who wants to grab the opportunity and make the limelight theirs."