Barrowford netballer Natalie returns Down Under

Natalie is pictured, second right, celebrating England's series win over Australia
Natalie is pictured, second right, celebrating England's series win over Australia

LESS than a month after being part of the senior England netball squad that recorded an historic Test series win over Australia, Barrowford’s Natalie Haythornthwaite is preparing for a trip Down Under with the Under 21s.

The 20-year-old was part of the 15-strong squad that earned a 3-0 whitewash against the travelling Australians at Bath University, Wembley Arena and the NIA in Birmingham.

The Yorkshire Jets ace didn’t make the final 12 in the series after stepping up from Under 21 level, but revelled in the experience, which she hopes will hold her in good stead as preparations continues apace for the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow in August.

Natalie said earlier this month: “I was just glad to be part of the squad. It was an amazing couple of weeks, but now it’s about preparing for the World Youth Championships with the Under 21s.

“If I get asked back to the full squad, I’ll take it with both hands, but it’s about getting ready for August in Glasgow.”

With the Commonwealth Games, also in Glasgow, next year a long-term goal for Natalie, the World Youth Games is the immediate priority, and the Under 21s will be touring Australia in late March.

There will be five fixtures played over an ultra-competitive week of action, which will allow the team to experience playing against high-class opposition and various styles of play.

The squad selected for the tour is: Rosie Allison, Sophia Candappa, Eleanor Cardwell, Beth Cobden, Sam Cook, Layla Guscoth, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Yasmin Parsons, Jess Shaw, Alice Travis, Georgie Webster.

Last summer, Natalie captained the England Under 21s to a Test series victory over South Africa, fresh from winning the University World Championships in Cape Town with Great Britain.

And she is no stranger to Australia either, having also featured in last year’s four-way series with the Under 21s, the former Fisher-More pupil helped England finish third in the Constellation Cup in Ballarat, Victoria behind hosts Australia and New Zealand.

Natalie celebrated a first win of the Netball Superleague season with the Yorkshire Jets on Sunday, beating Team Northumbria 64-42 after losing their first two games of the campaign against Manchester Thunder and Hertfordshire Mavericks.