A THUMB injury shattered an Ellesmere Port youngster’s dream of becoming national champion.
Eden Richardson, 11, made light of a tough draw to reach the semi-finals of the British Junior National Championships in Bournemouth.
The Stanney Oaks youngster was pitted against her regular doubles partner, Hampshire’s Gabriella Taylor, in the last four of the singles event for girls aged 12 and under. But after taking the first set 6-3, fifth seed Eden injured her thumb early in the second and Gabriella took full advantage, levelling the match at 1-1.
Unable to hit backhand shots due to the pain, Eden was forced to retire early in the third set – sending top seed Gabriella through to the final, which she won. Eden’s mum, Lesley Jones, said: “She was completely gutted – in fact, she still is.”
Eden had her injured hand strapped up but she had stretched ligaments in her thumb and had to pull out of the doubles event as well.
On a brighter note, she has been selected to represent England, at 12 and under level, for their Four Nations clash in Cardiff next month. There are two girls and two boys on each team, and Eden hopes she will have fully recovered from her injury in time to represent her country.
The former Capenhurst Primary School pupil, who starts at Whitby High in September, began playing tennis when she was three and is now a member of Wrexham Tennis Centre and Ellesmere Port Tennis Club and is ranked third in Britain for her age group.
She has been helped this year by funding from the Cheshire Oaks outlet village.