BARROWFORD’S Natalie Haythornthwaite is focusing on more success after an amazing year.
In the summer, the 19-year-old wing attack captained Great Britain to victory in the University World Championships in Cape Town, before leading England Under 21s to a 2-1 Test series victory over South Africa.
The former Fisher-More pupil then helped England finish third in the Constellation Cup Under 21 International Netball Series in Ballarat, Victoria behind hosts Australia and New Zealand.
And she and her England teammates are deep in preparations for the World Youth Championships, as the best players at under 21 level from 20 countries across the world do battle at the Commonwealth Arena in Glasgow in August.
Natalie, originally from Salterforth, is studying speech therapy at Leeds Metropolitan University in a Linguistics and Phonetics BA, balancing her studies with playing for the Yorkshire Jets - formerly Leeds Carnegie - in the FIAT Netball Superleague, as well as her international career, and she said: “Training has intensified since we got back from Australia, and everything is geared to the World Youth Championships now.
“It’s what we’ve been building for for the last four years, and it’s coming around so fast! We saw first hand against Australian and New Zealand the level we want to get to, and we’re working harder than ever, with camps in Sheffield, Loughborough and Bath.
“It’s been a shock to the system, up to 20 hours a week, but it’ll be worth it.”
The Under 21s will also take on the senior squad as part of their preparations next Saturday.
Natalie was back playing at the weekend after 10 weeks out with an Achilles problem, making a return in Leeds Athletic’s 55-43 Premier League 1 win over Team Bath Toucans.