Ellie Steggles was heartbroken when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament and couldn’t take her spot with the England U14 rounders team.
But the County Upper student worked hard to rehabilitate and, three years later, has been offered a place on the England U21 rounders team — she’s delighted.
The 16-year-old had to undergo surgery to correct the torn ACL at just 13 years old.
She said: “It was really gutting to get hurt like that and be out of action for so long.
“I was selected for the U14 squad and even though I went with them to the competition on the Isle of Man, I couldn’t take part.
“I had to sit on the sidelines and watch them compete, it was quite depressing.
“I was out of sport for more than a year — it’s the only thing I really enjoy doing and it was so hard to be on the sidelines.
“And it took a long time to come back as well. I trialled for the U16 squad but didn’t make it.
“But I was still making my way back into sport.
“I think I was too scared of tearing my ACL again, especially running around the bases.
“Thinking back, I was being really careful and was quite scared of tearing it again. I feel much more confident now though.
“So I tried again for the U21 team and found out I got a spot last week, it was a really big surprise but I’m really excited.”
Steggles, from Norton, took part in a trial in Corby on Sunday, October 15.
She said it was a ‘really nerve-racking’ experience but finding out she had made the team made it worthwhile.
She said she will first link up with her new team-mates in November, with a small training session planned but won’t compete until some time next summer.
“We don’t have any dates yet,” she added. “It’s a summer sport so I doubt we’ll do much for a few months after the session in November. I cannot wait.”
Steggles has been a keen rounders player for as long as she can remember, and wants to stay involved in the sport for as long as she can. There is a senior England team, and that’s her end goal.
“I want to stay involved,” she said. “It would be amazing to keep playing for as long as possible and to make the senior team.”
International masters hockey player and former teacher at South Lee School, Katie Bedford, said: “England U21 rounders team, wow! I am so proud.
“As a teacher we can open the door, but every child has to choose to walk through.
“Ellie has run through that door and made me feel so delighted with her amazing achievements.”