Having successfully defended their title at the Netball Europe Open earlier this month, the England Roses must now put their loyalties aside as they each bid to be selected for the team at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Speaking after her inspired performances for England at the Europe Open, Natalie Haythornthwaite is one such hopeful who hopes to make her first Commonwealth Games appearance at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, but faces stiff competition from up and coming teammates.
She said: “It was a tough start to the tournament. Scotland brought it to us but we had four new caps out there and we kept it close before finishing with a good win.
“Those girls making their Roses debut did really well, so to play with them and see them get their first cap is exciting.”
With under six months to go now until the Games begin, Natalie can feel the clock ticking down and the all-important preparation step up.
“The Commonwealth Games is a huge challenge but it’s so exciting. It would be an absolute dream to go and represent Team England.
“That’s why it’s so important that we use these opportunities where we can play for the Roses.
“Every camp that we get together it’s getting closer and closer to the Gold Coast now, and personally for me I’ve never done a Commonwealth Games before so it would be such an honour to go.
“That’s why it’s so important now that during events like the Netball Europe Open we work on our combinations, on our team, all in preparation for the Games.”
She may not have performed at a Commonwealth Games before, but having watched Team England go so close in the netball four years ago, Natalie is doing everything she can to make the trip Down Under.
She said: “The amount of talent that we have within the ranks at the Roses programme is incredible.
“It’s great to have competition for places and everyone wanting to make that final 12 and having that competitive nature within the squad.
"I watched the last Commonwealth Games four years ago and it was absolutely incredible just to watch it and 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.”