FREYA Bythell’s fantastic form for Pendle Forest has been rewarded with a call-up to the England Under 18s Development Squad.

The 17-year-old helped award winning Forest to back-to-back league titles and then went on to represent Pennine Pumas in the Futures Cup - the pinnacle of of England Hockey’s Single System.

And while the Pumas missed out in the bronze medal match against Caledonian Cougars, a match they lost 1-0, Bythell did enough to impress the national selectors to earn a call up in to the Under 18s Development Squad.

Bythell will now be invited to attend national camps later this month and in October before training squads are established.

Meanwhile, Forest have continued their preparation for life in the North Premier Division with warm-up matches against Fylde Hockey Club and Ben Rhydding.

Despite losing 3-1 to National League outfit Fylde, Forest produced an outstanding performance.

Pendle dominated the first quarter with Lisa Crewe and Charlotte Hartley combining to go close before the same combination resulted in Hartley taking on the Fylde goalkeeper to put Forest 1-0 up.

Bythell also went close in the first quarter drawing a good save from the keeper.

Fylde came out stronger in the second quarter and although they had more possession they rarely troubled the Forest goal with the backbone of the team - Olivia Bythell, Deb Bythell and Jan Cormack - remaining strong and snuffing out any threats from the Fylde attack.

Right at the end of the third quarter Fylde were awarded a short corner which they tucked away to level the game with one quarter still to play.

Forest were caught napping at the start of the last quarter and quickly conceded two goals to go 3-1 down.

Forest did not give up and Hartley carved herself three one-on-one opportunities but the Fylde keeper was ready for the challenge and made some excellent saves.

Karen Wignall and Bythell both had late chances but just couldn’t find the net.

Forest travelled to Ilkley to take on a Ben Rhydding side who they played twice last season on their way to promotion.

Once again the East Lancs side started well and Hartley put Forest 1-0 up inside 10 minutes when she finished off a flowing move.

Forest took their foot off the gas and were soon punished when a ball into the D to a Ben Rhydding forward was finished incredibly well into the bottom left corner, giving Forest keeper Laura Kendall no chance.

Forest hit back and dominated the remainder of the half and regained the lead when Crewe dribbled along the back line before crossing the ball across the face of goal for Hayley Baines to finish.

Crewe then missed a penalty stroke to leave the score 2-1 at half time.

Forest upped the tempo in the second half but Ben Rhydding equalised, somewhat against the run of play. But they took the lead for a third time when, following several short corners, a shot from Crewe from the left side of the D was touched over the line by Baines for her second of the match.

With less than five minutes remaining, Forest thought they had the game sewn up but Ben Rhydding had other ideas and a stunning individual effort secured the draw.

Forest first team begin their league campaign away at Liverpool Sefton on Saturday, September 22.