Barrowford’s Natalie Haythornthwaite has been voted the SkySports Sportswoman of the Month for June.
With 54% of the vote, the Wasps Netball and England star saw off opposition from England, Kent and Surrey Stars cricketer Tammy_Beaumont, Dee Caffari MBE – the first woman to have sailed single-handedly and non-stop around the world in both directions – and KPMG Women’s PGA winner Sung Hyun Park.
The accolade comes in a week where England, on the back of their Commonwealth Games gold medal success on the Gold Coast, climbed to second in the world rankings for the first time.
And at the weekend, Natalie and her Wasps teammates will attempt to defend their Netball Superleague title in the Grand Final tomorrow at the Copper Box Arena against Loughborough Lightning.
The England Roses climbed above New Zealand in the world rankings, but remain behind world number one side Australia – who they beat in a heart-stopping Commonwealths final on their own court.
It is the first time since the rankings began in 2008 that Australia and New Zealand have not been in the top two.
England Netball chief Joanna Adams said: “This is a monumental moment.
“There is now a new world order.
“For years, Australia and New Zealand have dominated both the top of the rankings and the major finals.”
Head coach Tracey Neville added: “It’s such a historic moment for us, the fact we’re up there now is brilliant.
“We’re becoming far more consistent against those top teams.
“It really shows all the fantastic work that the players and staff have been putting in over the last few years. I am so proud.”
Natalie said on her twitter page @nataliesymone: “Wooowwwww! How incredible is it to see this!
“A moment history will never forget... so proud & lucky to be a part of it! England Roses 2nd in the world!”
She was named player of the match as Wasps earned their place in the Grand Final with a 54-39 win over Team Bath at the University of Worcester, and said: “We wanted the chance to defend our title and we are looking forward to that.”