Natalie Haythornthwaite has played her part as the Vitality England Roses powered towards the World Cup semi-finals in Liverpool over the week.
The 26-year-old New South Wales Swifts star was involved throughout as Tracey Neville’s hosts claimed three wins out of three to top their group, before holding off a stern test from World number two Jamaica in the first game of the second stage.
That win effectively guaranteed England a last four berth, ahead of games with Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, and South Africa yesterday, which decided the top two placed teams to progress through to the semi-finals.
England opened the tournament and their account with a 64-32 win against Uganda last Friday, backed up with a comprehensive 70-34 victory over Scotland on Saturday, in which Haythornthwaite started.
The games continued to come thick and fast, with England taking on Samoa, ranked eleven places below them, on Sunday, with the Roses equalling the highest score of the tournament, with 90 points on the board, to Samoa’s 24.
On Monday, the second phase opened against Jamaica, where the Roses powered home 56-48 thanks to an impressive third quarter.
England led 28-26 at half-time, before stretching their lead out to eight at the end of the third quarter – a lead they would not relinquish.
The play-offs and placing games start today, running through to Sunday, with England expected to be in semi-final action tomorrow night.
The winners of each semi-final will compete for gold in Sunday’s final, with the losers playing for bronze.