A Falmouth Eagles rugby player was forced to wait nine hours for an ambulance after he suffered a neck injury which led to their match against Bideford being abandoned.

Ben Ullmer, who plays at flanker for Falmouth, sustained the injury in their Tribute One Western Counties West match on Saturday at the Recreation Ground but due to the pressures on the Ambulance service had to wait an extraordinary amount of time to receive treatment.

While he led in the middle of the pitch, Ben was treated by physio Nev Curnow and a supporting parent from the clubs' academy Dr Rachael Wilson who supported him for the duration of the wait.

When he eventually was transported to hospital it was revealed that he had sustained a sprain to his neck as well as ligament damage but fortunately there were no broken bones in the incident.

In an update posted on Falmouth's Facebook page the following morning the player said: "Just wanted to give you an update on yesterday. I’m finally home after a long wait on the pitch and scans at the hospital.

"Thankfully my neck is sprained with ligament damage but no broken bones which is great news.

"I’m dosed up on the painkillers and am in pain but it should pass.

"Thank you so much to everyone who supported my neck for all the hours and kept me sane and everyone else who wished me well.

"You’re all amazing, thank you so much!

"What a team, what a club."

It is unknown at this stage whether the game will be rescheduled. Falmouth's next game in the league is away to Pirates Amateurs this Saturday. 

Falmouth's captain Tom Spiller was grateful for everyone who pitched in and showed their support in the unprecedented event, he said: "I cannot praise and thank our club medical staff and volunteers who provided warmth, shelter and warm drinks for everybody in support of Ben.

"To everybody who helped and supported Ben in his time of need... thank you." 

A spokesperson for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said: “We are sorry for the experience this patient endured. Our ambulance clinicians strive every day to give their best to patients.

“The whole health and social care system has been under sustained pressure for many months now, this means that some patients are having to wait longer for an ambulance than they would expect.

“Our performance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, partly due to handover delays at emergency departments.  

“We are working with our partners to ensure our ambulance clinicians can get back out on the road as quickly as possible, to respond to other 999 calls within the community."