Natalie is England’s Rose in final

Natalie Haythornthwaite
Natalie Haythornthwaite

Barrowford’s Natalie Haythornthwaite helped England retain their European Open Championships title as the Roses claimed a 72-50 victory over hosts Wales in the final.

The Wasps goal attack featured as England finished with a 100% record at the tournament, beating Scotland, Northern Ireland and Fiji on the way to the competition’s showpiece.

The Thistles threatened to be a thorn in England’s side but the new look side stood up to the challenge to win 61-48.

England faced their next opponents on the same day but showed no signs of fatigue as an impressive attacking display saw the Roses close the game against Northern Ireland with a well-deserved 75-44 victory.

Haythornthwaite and company moved on to the South Pacific nation of Fiji, currently ranked eighth in the world, but England’s prowess shone through in a 94-31 success.

Wales awaited in the final in Cardiff but the hosts struggled against England’s relentless defence as Haythornthwaite dominated their attack.

Led by captain Sasha Corbin, the Roses took a 40-26 advantage in to half-time before going on to clinch the championship and lift the trophy with a 72-50 triumph.

England now play a three-match series against Malawi in November before the four home nations compete at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in April 2018.