BARROWFORD’S Natalie Haythornthwaite helped England create history on Saturday.
The 20-year-old (pictured, second right) was part of the 15-strong squad which whitewashed world champions Australia in the three-Test series, sealing a third victory at the NIA in Birmingham.
And although she didn’t get on court against the Diamonds after stepping up from Under 21 level, the Yorkshire Jets wing attack came away from the two-week camp with good feedback from Anna Mayes’ set-up.
Natalie said: “It’s just been amazing. They said I’d done very well - it was my first senior call-up, and I was bound to be nervous.
“But I was told I’d taken the opportunity with both hands, and I’ve certainly learned lots from the experience.
“Hopefully I can be involved again, maybe on the tour to Jamaica in April, but my main team is still the Under 21s and we’re building up to the World Youth Championships in Glasgow in August.”
And Natalie is convinced that the future looks bright for the national team after their success: “It just goes to show that all the hard work that has been going on over the past how many years is starting to pay off now - Angland had only beaten Australia twice before this series, and after beating them in 2010, for the last three years it has been about closing the gap, which I think they have.
“Now we’ve taken the lead, and shown we can compete with some of the best players in the world.”
The whole experience, of playing in front of sell out arenas, live on Sky Sports, has been one to relish: “The fact the games were all sold out says it all, we wanted to make everyone that turned up, and everyone watching at home, proud, and that gives you a real buzz.
“We were desperate to beat Australia, and it was our time.
“Hopefully we can build on this now with the Under 21s as well - we’ve been inspired to match these achievements.”