Natalie makes cut for World Cup long squad

Yorkshire Jets netball star Natalie Haythornthwaite at her flat in Headingley. Natalie has just been named player of the year for the whole of Super League. '30th April 2015.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Yorkshire Jets netball star Natalie Haythornthwaite at her flat in Headingley. Natalie has just been named player of the year for the whole of Super League. '30th April 2015.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Natalie Haythornthwaite has been named in England interim head coach Tracey Neville’s long squad for this summer’s netball World Cup in Sydney.

Neville handed the Netball Superleague player of the season her first three senior caps in the Test series win over Trinidad and Tobago.

And the Barrowford ace has made the cut for the 19-strong squad for Australia in August, which will be whittled down to 12 in June.

Natalie has enjoyed a whirlwind few weeks – in the middle of exams at the end of her first year of three studying speech therapy at Leeds Beckett University!

She said: “It’s been absolutely amazing – I was saying the other week about hopefully getting on court for England, and when I started the first Test, my heart was pounding. It was crazy, and very emotional – I’m so lucky and very grateful to get the opportunity.

“I wanted to enjoy it as it could have been my first and last game, but I stuck to the game plan and really enjoyed myself – it was just about playing netball.

“I was fortunate to get three caps, and to find out I was in the long squad for the World Cup as well, oh my god!

“When I found out on Monday I was so excited, but I had an exam, and had to focus on that.

“The hard work starts now. I have to enjoy the fact I’m in the squad and get stuck in.”