LOCAL Barrowford girl Natalie Haythornthwaite has led her team to victory in the final of the inaugural World University Netball Championships in Cape Town.
A nerve-wracking final saw Great Britain triumph 53-49 over South Africa after the game had gone to extra time.
Natalie, captain of the Great British team, said: “I think the team performed brilliantly over the World Championships. I think we stuck as a team together really well and our experience and motivation showed when we won in extra time against South Africa in the final.”
The final didn’t get off to the perfect start with South Africa grabbing the first goal but Britain’s goal shooter Steffi Burt was in top form and helped keep it together for the girls.
Natalie said: ”I would definitely rank the final as one of the best moments of my whole life- netball or non netball related! Winning in extra time was an immense feeling.”
Britain had had a tough game with Uganda to qualify for the finals, winning by only one point, but a combination of nerves, adrenaline rush, hard work, pure gut netball and determination to win brought home the prize for Britain.
Natalie added: “I am happy with my performances. As an elite athlete I am always looking to improve and aim for perfection so I still have things to work on. Being only 19 I think there is still room for improvement.
“I’d just like to thank everyone for all the support and messages we received throughout the championships. You were the eighth player on that court and it was greatly appreciated.”
Natalie will now go on to Bath for a summer camp in August and will then travel to Australia on another tour with the England Under 21 squad to play in a four-way test series across the world.