Badminton: Injury thwarts Muggeridge: England No 1 withdraws from grand slam

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THE ENGLAND No 1 Joanne Muggeridge was forced to miss the opening tournament of the pounds 30,000 Friends Provident British grand slam, which started in Belfast yesterday, after she was struck in the eye by a shuttlecock in practice, writes James Leigh.

Muggeridge, a key member of England's Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning team, has been told to rest as a precaution. Another leading player who unexpectedly withdrew from the opening event of the inaugural domestic circuit was the England No 2 Peter Knowles, who was said to be exhausted. Knowles, reprimanded for his behaviour during the Thomas Cup in Glasgow in February, now faces further disciplinary action, because no medical certificate was produced at the time of his withdrawal.

However, Darren Hall, the English national champion, successfully came through his first competitive match for three months, reaching the last eight with a victory over Stephen Bish of Durham. Hall appeared to be protecting the bad back which has bothered him for most of the year, but he gained in confidence in the second game and his 15-11, 15-6 win earned him a meeting with Craig Robertson of Scotland.