A talented netball player from Bury is shooting through hoops to represent her country in South Africa this summer.
Lauren Doughty, aged 20, will represent England in the Under-21's indoor netball team at the Women’s Indoor Netball Association World Cup, and now has to raise £3,000 to help fund her trip.
She has been playing netball since the age of eight, and is set to follow in the footsteps of Tracy Neville, the sister of footballers Gary and Phil, who represented England in the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games. However, indoor netball is a twist on the original format of the sport.
It is played in netted courts, which means the ball never leaves the field of play, and as a result it is a more fast and furious version of the game. Lauren heard about trials for the national team through a friend at YMCA Bury, where she also plays, and travelled down to London in January.
Despite it being the first time that she had played the version of the sport, she did enough to grab the attention of the coaches and earn herself a place on the plane to South Africa in May.
Lauren, a former pupil at St Gabriel’s High School, said: “I was quite shocked, because I had never played that type of netball before. It is quite fast paced, it is a lot faster and a bit different from what I am used to.”
Currently there are only indoor netball courts in London and Bristol, and Lauren will complete 10 weekends of training there with her teammates before the summer.
England will compete against Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica in the competition, and first took part in the World Cup in 2007.
Indoor netball is still being established in this country, but has been running for over 30 years in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with around 90,000 people playing the sport every month. Lauren, who is also studying for a degree in sport event management at Leeds Metropolitan University, now has to find £3,000 to help fund the trip and is currently planning fundraising events to help reach her target. She added: “It is really exciting, I am really looking forward to going out there.”