Haythornthwaite’s focus quickly turns to the World Cup after an unbelievable year

England Netball head coach Tracey Neville (right) on stage after England Netball win the Team of the Year Award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at Birmingham Genting Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 16, 2018. See PA story SPORT Personality. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
England Netball head coach Tracey Neville (right) on stage after England Netball win the Team of the Year Award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at Birmingham Genting Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 16, 2018. See PA story SPORT Personality. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire
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Natalie Haythornthwaite barely had time to digest one of the best nights of her life before returning to the day job.

And the focus is now on topping a quite magnificent 2018.

The Barrowford star joined her England Netball teammates on stage at BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena on Sunday night, as the The Commonwealth gold medal-winning squad won both Team of the Year and Moment of the Year awards.

The 26-year-old jokes that the story would make a scarcely believable film, as she said: “It was really overwhelming just to be there, they got us up on stage, and we were so shocked and amazed to be given the award.

“And then we were just told ‘can you just wait here?’, and we started looking at each other wondering what was going on, and we got another award.

“It was unbelievable.

“To see who we were up against for Team of the Year, it was just crazy.

“To be recognised with the nomination was amazing, so to actually win it, and the Moment of the Year as well - everything else was a bonus!

“We have always wanted to get netball some recognition, and some people were saying we should be the team of the year, but the girls are all grounded, we’ve never been in this position, we’ve never won it before, and didn’t know how to react to be honest.

“Our coach Tracey was crying, and no one could look in case she set us all off.

“You couldn’t write it - someone needs to make a film! It’s absolutely crazy.

“We were all there saying, ‘look, it’s Mo Farah, Harry Kane’, and people were saying ‘it’s the England netball team. It’s unreal.

“It’s a major time for the sport, and hopefully we can take it on now.”

The following day, Natalie was back with the squad at Loughborough, training ahead of next month’s Quad Series, with a home World Cup in Liverpool in July to prepare for: “We’ll get a few days off for Christmas now, but we’ll be back in January for the Quad Series, then we have the World Cup in July, in England.

“The margins are so slim, no one can call it, we just want to follow up the Commonwealth Games gold, but it will be really tough.

“The last World Cup in England was the first in 1963, so we’ll have the country behind us and hopefully we can do everyone proud again.”