Natalie helps Roses win the Test series

England netball star Natalie Haythornthwaite
England netball star Natalie Haythornthwaite
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Natalie Haythornthwaite helped the England Roses seal the Vitality Netball International Series against Malawi with a match to spare.

Barrowford’s Haythornthwaite started the 66-60 win in the first Test, and was again in the seven for the second Test, which the Roses won 61-53 at the Copper Box Arena.

After a scrappy start to the second Test, Malawi went 3-2 ahead, but World number three ranked England pulled it back to 4-4, before Haythornthwaite displayed her athleticism with a great take before finding Wasps Netball teammate Rachel Dunn under the post to score.

And an excellent Roses scoring streak put England 9-4 up.

Tracey Neville’s side continued to push on and displayed some solid defensive pressure.

The Roses led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, though they lead was cut to 31-25 at half-time.

Malawi reduced the lead to just three, before the Roses ended the third quarter 45-40 up.

The lead went out to 53-44 with eight minutes remaining, and the Roses moved away to win 61-53.

It is an important period for Haythornthwaite and England as coach Tracey Neville ponders who will make her squad for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April.

Haythornthaite helped England successfully defended their title at the Netball Europe Open last month, and she is hoping to make her first Commonwealth Games appearance.

She said: “The Commonwealth Games is a huge challenge but it’s so exciting. It would be an absolute dream to go and represent Team England. I’ve never done a Commonwealth Games before so it would be such an honour to go.

“I watched the last Commonwealth Games four years ago and it was absolutely incredible just to see how close England came to making that final, so I’ll work extremely hard over the next few months to give myself the best possible chance.”