Lucky number 13 for the retiree who’s not so retired
Rumours have been flying around the netball community around whether seasoned Thunder legend Kerry Almond would be returning for the 2022 season, or whether she would go back in to retirement as she did after the 2019 season.
As Almond herself said, “despite what everyone has been saying about me on social media, I am back for the 2022 season, which will be my thirteenth season for Manchester Thunder, and I couldn’t be happier.”
The three-times Netball Superleague winner came out of retirement after the late withdrawal of Loreen Ngwira just before the start of the 2021 season. Almond explained, “Debbie [Hallas] accosted me one Tuesday morning in the Netball UK office where I work, and asked whether I fancied coming out of retirement. I was a bit unsure as I hadn’t done any running so I told her I would see, however it was great to be back involved and seeing all the girl’s faces. It was brilliant decision for me to come out of retirement.”
“There’s a lot more contesting now and the umpires are letting a lot more go which is great as I really enjoy that side of the game. The shooting circles are becoming a lot more congested, with bigger bodies in there as the girls are taller and stronger, so there is a lot more bodying up and a few more bruises, but it makes it more of a spectacle and is just one of those aspects you need to get to grips with. As a defender, if you don’t like the physical stuff then you’re in the wrong position.”
“The ultimate aim next season is always to win the Superleague, but obviously you’ve got to take it one game at a time, with a top four finish being the first aim and then anything can happen from there. Personally, I just want to carry on with what I thought was pretty good form for myself, and build in some new connections in and around the circle and the defensive third.”
Karen Greig, Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said:
“Just when everyone thought she was going to re retire, I am delighted to have Kerry back. She came back firing last season and was in the best condition of her life which translated to her on court performances. It was key for us to re-sign Kerry again for this season as she provides stability to our squad especially in the defensive end, and her work with the upcoming young defenders is invaluable! I’m really looking forward to seeing how the connections will grow this season, especially with Shadine [van der Merwe.]”