Our Tara bowls English captain over

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 06 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Eoin Morgan and Tara Ridgway on Christmas Day 2013. Picture: Tara Ridgway — Twitter Source: Supplied

GLAMOROUS university student Tara Ridgway is the radiant Adelaide beauty who has captured the heart of England cricket captain Eoin Morgan.

And the Scotch College graduate and part-time model did it knowing very little, and caring even less, for the sport her boyfriend plays.

Only close friends and family know the enduring love affair between the 21-year-old daughter of David Ridgway, Liberal leader in South Australan Parliament's Legislative Council, and the dashing Irish-born captain of the England ODI team, began in an Adelaide bar over four years ago.

Despite a seven-year-age gap, the tyranny of distance, and some recent salacious tabloid headlines, friends and family say the couple's relationship has been "rock solid" and the expectation is for "wedding bells".

England captain Eoin Morgan says his side was way off the mark against Sri Lanka in their World Cup clash at Westpac Stadium.

After a globetrotting relationship on several continents, the devoted couple is this weekend together again in Adelaide, where the under-pressure Morgan will lead England against Bangladesh in a critical World Cup match on Monday.

The English Cricket Board has imposed a strict "no comment" policy on the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of its players as the team battles to make the World Cup quarterfinals.

Tara, the middle child of three for Mr Ridgway and his wife Meredith, was only 17 when she met her beau a few weeks before Christmas in 2010.

SA MP David Ridgway in a much earlier family image, flanked by his son Louis, daughters Ashleigh, Tara, and wife Meredith. Source: News Limited

A recent graduate from Scotch, one of South Australia's most expensive fee-charging schools, where she was a house captain and cox of a rowing four, the Tanya Powell model was out on the town with several girlfriends celebrating the end of school and an exciting future of leaving the family home in Mitcham and heading to Queensland to study at university.

Morgan, 24 at the time, was in Adelaide for the second Ashes test of the 2010/11 series.

Tara Ridgway modelling for Paradise Fashion Trends at the Glades Golf course at Robina on the Gold Coast. Source: News Limited

The Catholic-educated Dubliner, who played international cricket for Ireland before committing to England, was still to establish himself in the Test side and wasn't playing against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Who made the first move or what kickstarted the conversation — probably not cricket given Tara's initial indifference to the sport — is not known, but over a few hours at a lively city bar, a strong connection was forged.

Few of Eoin and Tara's family and friends believed that casual meeting would become more than a summertime fling and endure so long against such difficult circumstances.

While Tara headed to Bond University on the Gold Coast to study a double degree in law and international and public relations, her new boyfriend continued to tour Australia with England, playing in the one-day series that saw him travel coast to coast.

As love blossomed, Tara caught up with him when she could as she has done for the four years since.

Just this year, she holidayed on the Caribbean island of Barbados in March when her Twitter feed told about her growing excitement at seeing Eoin again.

"@TaraRidgway. March 3 — 2014 — The clock never ticks slower than when you're waiting to see that someone. @eoin16 hurry up and get in my arms! #countdown"

A four-month internship in London this year with international shoe company Rupert Sanderson, in a PR and marketing role, allowed the couple to live together as Morgan spent the English summer playing domestic cricket for Middlesex in the English capital.

They attended the biggest dress-up day in the UK at the Epsom Derby horse race in June, were courtside at the Wimbledon championships and visited the West End theatres.

It was a time of relative normality compared to the brief encounters snatched between Morgan's burgeoning cricket career and his girlfriend's demanding study schedule.

Tara, in the final year of her studies at Bond, where she has been a student ambassador and secretary of the women's society, returned to Australia in August last year.

They have since caught up in Sydney in October and Perth in January, as Morgan prepared for the World Cup now being played in Australia and New Zealand.

The couple has made a special point of being together at Christmas, often spending time with the Ridgway family, including older sister Ashleigh, 24, and younger brother Louis, 15.

The family sold up the farm at Bordertown in the South-East, where the children grew up a year after Ridgway became an MP in 2002.

It was a tough choice to move to the city after the freedoms of the country, but Tara entered Scotch College the same year and hasn't looked back.

She has a strong interest in politics, having worked on an election campaign for John-Paul Langbroek, currently the deputy leader of the Opposition in Queensland, who was Minister for Education, Training and Employment in the Sunshine State under Premier Campbell Newman.

And she was seen on the hustings at the South Australian election in March last year, campaigning with the rest of her family for Carolyn Habib, the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for the seat of Elder.

Tara may have known little about cricket five years ago, but today she is a passionate fan and number one cheerleader for Morgan, who has endured a recent rocky road of poor personal form, with four ducks in five innings, while England has been smashed by Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the World Cup with an only victory over minnows, Scotland.

Monday is make or break for the Poms and Tara — never slow to express her support on Twitter — will be sure to be pitch side to cheer Eoin on.

When Australia played England at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day last year Tara tweeted: "@TaraRidgway Perfect day for cricket! Proud to be an Aussie but even prouder to support @Eoin16 #AusDay #AUSvENG"

Her MP father is known to have less split loyalties and if England miraculously engineers a remarkable form turnaround and makes the World Cup Final against Australia at the MCG on March 29 his preferred result is: a hundred for the prospective son-in-law and a big win for the Aussies.

Morgan became the first Irishman to lead England when he replaced Alastair Cook as the ODI captain in December.

In January he made world headlines as the victim of an attempted blackmail by the new boyfriend of an Australian woman he had a brief fling with five years ago over supposedly 'embarrassing secrets'.

It was a testing time for Eoin and Tara's relationship, but the ECB intervened and the matter was settled with an apology from the perpetrator and no charges laid.

After the incident, the ECB is known to have "educated" Tara about her use of social media and how to increase her privacy settings.

Pictures of the lovebirds appearing around the world was one thing — but pictures of the entire Ridgway family caused consternation, mixed with amusement, that their private lives could be so easily exposed.

It was a rude reminder for Tara of the increased attention her partner faces as an England captain.

That spotlight is only likely to intensify, with Tara now regularly making the list of the cricketing world's most attractive 'WAGs'.

The term is possibly offensive for a girl who came top of her law studies and will complete a double degree this year but close friends are confident she will join the "wives" rather than the "girlfriends" soon enough.

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