Wasps Netball star Natalie Haythornthwaite hopes to celebrate her inclusion in England’s Commonwealth Games squad with a third successive Superleague win with her club.
The 25-year-old was last week selected by England Roses coach Tracey Neville for Brisbane 2018 – her first involvement in netball’s blue-riband event.
But with the Games still two months away, Haythornthwaite’s focus remains firmly on domestic matters in the meantime, starting with Sirens’ visit to Coventry on Thursday evening (7.00pm centre-pass).
Haythornthwaite, who has been joined by Wasps centre Jade Clarke in the England squad, hopes to bring the confidence from her selection onto court against this week’s Glasgow-based opponents.
“It’s just incredible to be honest,” she said. “To get into the squad was so hard to do because the England set-up has so much talent, I was over the moon and I couldn’t stop crying.
“It’s the pinnacle of our sport, it’s the very top-level and I can’t believe I’m actually going, I’m so excited to be part of it.
“It definitely gives you more confidence. I want to be able to perform for Wasps week-in week-out, the talent we have in our squad is incredible.
“As a team we feel even closer this year. Everyone wants to come and win against the defending champions, it’s a very exciting position to be in, it brings that extra pressure but we want to thrive on that.”
Although Wasps claimed a seasonal double over Sirens on their way to last year’s title, Haythornthwaite expects another tough contest five days on from her team’s battling win over Severn Stars.
“The first game for Wasps against Sirens was so exciting last season. It was the day Wasps made history, it was the start of a new team and the beginning of a brilliant season,” Haythornthwaite said.
“If we think back to where we were a year ago and to where we are now, we have come so far and are still building as a team.
“A lot of the Sirens girls are heading to the Commonwealth Games to represent Scotland. They have the added players like Sara Bayman, who is a top player and will provide a big challenge in the mid-court.”
Fans can enjoy a range of netball activities at Wasps Fan Village before Thursday’s game, with the Ericsson Indoor Arena opening from 6:00pm.
Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Sirens on 22 February are available from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/ tickets.