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Old friends lie in wait for Wasps star

Wasps Netball’s Natalie Haythornthwaite is relishing the challenge of taking on her old Manchester Thunder teammates in the Vitality Netball Superleague on Friday.

The fixture will see Tamsin Greenway’s team return to the Ricoh Arena, following a successful away trip to Severn Stars, to face last season’s Superleague finalists Manchester Thunder on Friday, 24 March (8.00pm centre-pass).

Wasps Netball have won four of their opening five games this season, with Thunder experiencing a mixed start to the season, winning three of their first five.

England international Haythornthwaite made the switch from Thunder to Wasps in September 2016 – following a season where she was honoured as Superleague Player of the Year.

The 24-year-old has operated at wing attack and goal attack so far this season for Wasps Netball and says she is looking forward to facing her old team.

She said: “They’re a great group of girls, I’m still in touch with them off the court but as soon as the whistle goes it’s game on and the only thing that matters is getting the win.

“It’s always tough to leave a team, I had a great year at Thunder but when the opportunity arose to play for Wasps and work with Tamsin, I just couldn’t turn it down.

“I’ve loved it here at Wasps so far. We’ve still got so much more potential, we know we’re not playing at our best yet, and I can’t wait to see what our best is when we get there.

“It will be a very well contested match but hopefully we’ll come out on top.”

Wasps bounced back from their first defeat with a convincing 44-65 away victory at Severn Stars last weekend.

Greenway has a full-squad at her disposal ahead of the visit of Thunder and says the Manchester team will be a good test for her team.

She was also in charge of the Surrey Storm side who broke Thunder hearts last season by beating them in the Superleague Grand Final in May.

She said: “Thunder are always a well-drilled, well-organised unit. They’ve given a lot of teams a good run for their money so far this season.

“I will be expecting a really tough, physical and confident side coming to play us. We know we will have our fans behind us at the Ricoh Arena, and they will push the team to play to the best of their ability and match any challenge Thunder bring.

“We’ve got to take it to them right from the start and really stamp our authority on the game from the first whistle.”

Once again, the Wasps Fan Village will be open pre-match, with a special Mum Zone available to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with free prosecco, a cupcake and head and shoulder massages available on a first come first served basis.

Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Manchester Thunder on 24 March start from £10 for adults while under-10s go free, can be purchased from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets.