JUST over a year ago Luton’s Hannah Botterman was one setback away from quitting rugby altogether – now she’s fighting tooth and nail to make it her livelihood.

Botterman was born into a cradle of rugby – auntie Jane Everett and uncle Gregg Botterman were both capped by England – and she first played at Datchworth RUFC aged four.

But a move to prestigious rugby college Hartpury in Gloucestershire at 16 fell flat and the prop forward returned to the home counties just wanting to be a normal teenager for a while.

It’s a good job the rugby bug didn’t stay away with Botterman now a vital part of the front row at Saracens, reigning champions in Tyrrells Premier 15s, and a fully-fledged international.

Her cause has now been boosted further with a nomination for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award, launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist Tom Daley the inaugural winner.

Paralympic champion Hollie Arnold MBE claimed the accolade in 2008 with para-athlete Sally Brown, hockey player Harry Martin, heptathlete Morgan Lake and sprinter Jodie Williams among the previous victors.

Botterman is now in line to join such illustrious company as one of ten nominees selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports.

Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic champion Natasha Baker are among the panel of judges for the annual award.

Nomination is part of the completion of a remarkable turnaround for Botterman, who feels her fine form on the field is a product of her a more settled outlook.

“It’s a real honour to be put forward because it’s not from within rugby – it’s all athletes over any sport,” she said.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the graft and how it’s all come together for me.

“Hartpury didn’t bring out the best in me and when I came back home I thought I’d made my mind up to give up rugby.

“I just started training casually with Saracens as I knew (head coach) Alex Austerberry and he went and put me in the team for the opening game of the 2017/18 season.

“I feel very settled at the moment and I have a nice routine and structure I follow. I’ve know a lot of the girls I play with at Sarries for many years and it’s good to feel I’m where I belong.”

Botterman was a title-winner in just her first season of senior rugby – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed at the very highest echelons of the game on these shores.

She was drafted in to Simon Middleton’s Red Roses side for last summer’s Autumn Internationals and made a rousing debut as a replacement against Canada.

The Bedfordshire product’s consistency has once again been rewarded with a place in the senior squad for November matches against USA, Canada and Ireland.

With professional contracts for England’s 15-a-side female team re-introduced last month, Botterman knows she’s a handful of good games away from becoming a professional.

“I’m hoping I’ll get some game time next month and it’s just about performing when I get my chance – there’s a lot of competition in my position at the moment,” she said.

“My aim is to get one of the pro contracts and that’s what I’m striving for.

“I’ve got to stay consistent and hopefully the end result will be some more caps under my belt.”

Botterman's bid is being helped by SportsAid, who offer funding and recognition to young athletes at a crucial, early stage in their careers.

“I’ve been receiving funding from SportsAid for two years now and it's nice that they to show their faith in your ability to go to the top of your sport," Botterman, who receives her SportsAid support from RPC, added.

"The financial support is massive because it’s an incredible amount of petrol money travelling to training, games and the gym.

"There’s a lot of equipment involved and not having to actually worry about having to fund those essential things. It takes the stress away."

The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s annual SportsBall, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Thursday 15 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.