Bridgeman to make England bow at Cardiff Arms Park

Tom Bridgeman

Tom Bridgeman

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The allegiances of a proud Welshman will be with England tomorrow - even in a clash with the land of his fathers.

Doug Bridgeman will be at Cardiff Arms Park cheering on his son Tom as he makes his debut for the England Deaf side.

Although Bridgeman senior is not 100 per cent certain about how things have panned out.

“I’m not sure where I went wrong,” he laughed.

“First Tom moves from Rothwell to Desborough and now he is playing for England!

“He might not be in a red shirt but it will be a proud moment.”

The tale of how Bridgeman junior came to be selected as one of 11 new caps included for the international clash – where he will line up in the centre – actually lies remarkably close to home.

He has suffered with a rare disorder called Meniere’s Disease for eight or nine years.

It is a complaint that affects the inner ear causing, among other things, tinnitis, vertigo and hearing loss.

The impact it has on Tom, while not as dramatic now as it once was, is sufficient to qualify him for the side – something one of the coaches at Kettering picked up on.

“At first he was suffering quite frequently but now it is happening less and less,” dad Doug explained.

“It is controlled with medication which dampens it down these days.

“It’s a disease that can burn itself out but can also lead to deafness.

“It was our backs coach, Aldam Mills, who said Tom should go for a spot in the national side.

“Aldam has been involved with the England Deaf team for a long time.

“He asked Tom that, because what he suffers from qualifies him, would he be interested? And, of course, he was.

“Aldam also wanted a trial game and because I’m involved with the University of Northampton, we set up a game with them.

“Tom played in that and now he has been selected.”