England polo player Mark Tomlinson was today being operated on at Cheltenham hospital after cutting his right hand with a knife earlier this week.

Mark, 25, plays for both the England and Apes Hill teams, the latter the first all-English professional team. The 2007 season is his first as a seven-goal player — and he has only played one match so far at the level.

The injuries to Mark’s hand means he will miss the next six to eight weeks — and the remainder of the British polo season.

Mark made his debut for England two years ago, and last year enjoyed his best high-goal season to date, reaching the final of both the Queens and Gold Cup, as well as helping England to victory over New Zealand in the Cartier International.

Andrew Tucker, spokesman for both Apes Hill team and the England polo squad told H&H: “It’s a massive loss to both teams. We were very much looking forward to sending out the identical team that beat New Zealand at the Cartier International last year for the Williams de Broe Test match next Saturday. But we’re very lucky with the strength in depth within the England squad and are spoilt for choice.”

Apes Hill has not yet named a replacement for Mark.