England co-captain Natalie Haythornthwaite was thankful for the test the Vitality Netball Superleague All Stars provided after the Vitality Roses clinched their third victory.
The hosts claimed a 55-43 win in the third match of the Vitality Netball Legends Series and lifted the Jean Hornsby Cup.
England made a fast start to be eight goals ahead after the first quarter but the All Stars brought it back and reduced the deficit to 26-21 at the break before the Roses pulled ahead in the third quarter and sealed victory.
Haythornthwaite, who was awarded Sky Sports Player of the Series, was appreciative that the series was still able to go ahead in some capacity and believes the team showed improvement throughout.
“The All Stars really brought it to us and credit to them, we are so grateful that they came out and came out so strong across all three games,” Haythornthwaite said.
“It’s a privilege to be part of this squad. In our preparation, we wanted to improve game to game and I think we started our game much better today in our third match and that’s something we’ve wanted to be able to work on.
“Who knows when the next time will be but we’re just really grateful for this opportunity.
“I’m still learning on the job, learning as I go and I’m so fortunate I’ve still got Serena [Guthrie] alongside me as well.
“Our team is such a good team and we’ve got leaders throughout the squad, so it’s a pleasure to be able to co-captain alongside Serena.”
With Helen Housby, Layla Guscoth and Beth Cobden all returning to the squad for this series, England head coach Jess Thirlby had the opportunity to try many different combinations.
Goal keeper Razia Quashie impressed throughout picking up two Player of the Match awards, while goal attack Sophie Drakeford-Lewis was rewarded with a start in the final match of the series and the 22-year-old relished the opportunity.
Drakeford-Lewis said: “For me it was a special moment to be able to start, it comes with different challenges and you have a different role to play within the squad.
“I was really excited about being able to start and get out there from the first whistle and be able to experience the physicality from the start.
“We’ve grown in confidence throughout the series as a squad and really looking forward to that continuing in the next couple of internationals.”