Laura Rudland is pinching herself after being selected to represent her country on the biggest stage.
The 19-year-old has been picked to play for England’s under-21 side in the bi-annual Indoor Netball World Championships (INWC) in South Africa in May.
The former Fareham Fireflys talent, who is on the prestigious high-performance programme at the University of Bath, has prior international experience at college level.
But the chance to test herself against the world’s best on the next stage is a ‘thrilling’ prospect.
Rudland said: ‘When I first heard I had earned the call-up I was really excited.
‘I represented the British colleges side for two years, so have played against Scotland and Ireland.
‘But this is the furthest my netball has ever taken me.
‘The prospect of being able to go to South Africa and play against Australia – who have the best netball set-up in the world – and the hosts is thrilling.
‘It’s a big honour to be able to test myself among girls who are at a really good standard.’
Indoor netball is the fastest and most furious form of netball played today.
Played exclusively indoors, the court is surrounded on each side and overhead by a net, preventing the ball from leaving the playing area and reducing the number of stoppages.
And in order to stay competitive with the world’s elite in both formats of the game – six and seven-a-side – Rudland & Co now face a rigorous schedule ahead of their trip to Johannesburg’s Fourways Arena.
Rudland explained: ‘I’m training every other week, either in Bristol or London.
‘That’s alongside university netball commitments.
‘In May, when we get there, we’ve got a three-day six-a-side championship, where you have one less player on court than you normally would in netball.
‘And then we have another three-day tournament which is a seven-a-side format, like normal.’
Rudland is hoping to impress in South Africa, in order to follow in the footsteps of fellow Crofton School pupil Yasmin Parsons.
The 20-year-old progressed through the same high-performance programme at the University of Bath and into the Superleague – the elite netball competition in the country – for Team Bath.
Rudland, who plays in the Premier League – the highest level of club netball – for the Team Bath franchise is keen to make the step up.
She said: ‘I went to the same school as Yas, so I know her quite well.
‘She plays in the Superleague for Team Bath and I train with the prem team.
‘And at the moment we are training alongside each other.
‘Hopefully, though, in my time at uni and with being on the high-performance programme, I will be able to make the transition into Superleague.’
As indoor netball is a relatively new sport, the INWC trip is only part-funded by the All England Netball Association (AENA).
Rudland is now looking for sponsors to help with travel and competition costs.