Beth Cobden: 'I knew within seconds my World Cup dream was over'

Beth Cobden of the Adelaide Thunderbirds
Adelaide Thunderbirds player Beth Cobden winces in pain after injuring her knee against West Coast Fever in the third game of the 2019 Super Netball season

"I knew when I went down my World Cup was over."

Beth Cobden is reflecting on the moment she ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) for the second time in a year.

In May, the 26-year-old England netballer was only three games into her debut season with the Adelaide Thunderbirds when she experienced a horribly familiar feeling.

Nine months earlier she had damaged the ACL in her left knee, playing for Loughborough Lightning in the Superleague final.

"It took a bit longer to sink in this time," she told BBC Sport as she talked for the first time about the injury that would rule her out of a home World Cup.

"Last time I got this feeling where your knee dislocates, and I expected to look down and see my knee on the side. I looked at it and it looked normal but I think that was the shock talking.

"After a couple of seconds I was like: 'Oh no, I've done it again…'"

Centre-courter Cobden, part of the Roses team that won Commonwealth gold in April 2018, said she had "no issues" during her first pre-season with her new team.

"I wasn't back to my best but I was getting there," Cobden added.

"In training I could feel myself getting my confidence built up, but I went from such a high the year before - winning the Commonwealth gold - to rock bottom."

Cobden, who is working for Netball South Australia organising school holiday training camps, believes fatigue may have been a factor in the initial problem as she was "exhausted" following a full Superleague campaign and the Commonwealth Games.

But she believes this year's injury was "a freak".

"I'd passed all the tests. I didn't rush back. I hadn't played for nine months and I felt fine, so it was a shock," she said.

Cobden, who was in Liverpool to watch her team-mates win bronze at the World Cup in July, has opted not to play competitive netball in 2020 to give herself extra time to recover.

This is her third ACL problem, having also injured her right knee when she was 17.

"I won't be back until 2021 but I want to play for England again and I hope a club will take me if my body still works," she said.

"I want to take my time. I don't want to risk anything as I've done three ACLs now. If I'm still playing at 30, I'll be pleased."

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