Kathryn Turner hangs up her netball trainers to concentrate on her family as she officially announces her retirement from netball

Kathryn Turner retires from Manchester Thunder

Kathryn Turner has been a shooting sensation for Manchester Thunder since her first cap aged just fifteen years old. Arguably one of the Superleague’s best players in her position (a fact backed up by her being named in the Superleague’s 2017 All Star IIV), Turner announced she was unable to sign for the 2021 season due to her being pregnant.

Speaking with presenter Lindsey Chapman, Lindsey said, “I asked you on the Thunder podcast [Thundercast] if you would be back for the 2022 season, and you said ‘watch this space.’ Are you coming back for the 2022 season?”

Twenty-eight-year-old Turner replied:

“Unfortunately I’ve decided not to come back. I did feel it was kind of my time to step away from the sport and I’ve entered a new chapter in my life now, especially with Rosie [daughter] coming along. I think the focus for me now is going to be family moving forward.”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a little while, and I felt my netball career was naturally coming to an end. I’ve been playing netball for so long now, and last season it was my eleventh season at Thunder, so I just thought the time was right.”

“I started netball in primary school, and then I joined a club, and from there really I just progressed through the pathway back then, and then the opportunity came to play for Northern Thunder, as Manchester Thunder was known back then, and that is where it all started.”

“My first game feels like a life time ago now, when I was sixteen-years-old. I just remember being really excited and really nervous being on live TV, and also it being down at Bath which is always a really tough venue to go to anyway. I just tried to hook in with teammates around me, and they supported me through that. Mike Greenwood, who was the coach at the time, he was always really supportive and really keen to push me, and I will forever be grateful to Mike for pushing me really hard and giving me that opportunity.”

Throughout Turner’s career, she has won the Netball Superleague three times, in 2012, 2014 and 2019. However, her journey hasn’t always been a positive one, and there were quite a few times along the way where she almost quit the sport all together.

“I’ve had a really long career, and I’ve had some really high highs, but also some really low lows as-well. There have been countless times where I’ve been on the phone to my mum, or Tom, my husband, just crying my eyes out on the way home from training, just saying ‘I don’t want to do it anymore,’ or ‘I don’t know why I’m doing it, I’m not getting picked,’ so there were some times where it was really difficult and really frustrating. I think I just took a step back and tried to focus on what I needed to do in order to get that court time, and really just tried to put that in to practice.”

“One of my best memories would probably be that [2019] final. It was an up and down game from the start, and we went six down I think it was. After a bumpy start, we got in to it and it was a really good game, and in the end, we came out with the win, and it’s a memory I will never forget. All the Thunder fans were there in the Copper Box Arena, and I had a lot of family there that day as-well, so it was really special.”

Karen Greig, former teammate and current Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said:

“Kathryn has been a stalwart for Manchester Thunder for as long as I can remember. To see how far she has come, along as lifting three titles for Thunder is absolutely outstanding. She was a valuable asset of the squad, always super calm in attack and dependable under the post. When she told us last year that she couldn’t sign for us for last season because she was pregnant with baby Rosie, we were obviously a bit gutted to lose her, but super excited that she was able to become a mum, and that is something that Kathryn really wanted. We did try and entice her back this year, but she’s loving being a mum far too much, so that is completely understandable. We want to thank Kathryn for all of her time with Manchester Thunder, and wish her the best of luck in family life. We know we will see you at the courts of Belle Vue soon.”