Manchester Thunder strengthen Superleague squad with Performance Pathway talent

Manchester Thunder’s squad for the defence of their Vitality Netball Superleague title will be boosted by the promotion of talented training partners, Berri Neil and Lois Pearson to the first team.

Berri Neil has already achieved significant success in her short career largely due to her outstanding ability within the shooting circle. In addition to playing for Manchester Thunder, she has also demonstrated fantastic form since she was first selected for England Roses Academy in 2018 where she was part of the Netball Europe Championship winning U17 team. She has also played in the triumphant Netball Europe U21 Championships in 2019.

Lois Pearson, who is currently studying at University of Manchester, plays for YWCA Bury and has been part of the Academy since 2012. She has also recently enjoyed success at Manchester Thunder after having been named as Players’ Player of the Year in the 2019-2020 U21 Awards.

Manchester Thunder Head Coach and Director of Netball Karen said about Berri Neil, “ She is such exciting player for someone just 17 years old and following a solid few successful  years in our Pathway, she stepped into a Training Partner role last season. She is able to play effectively across three positions so gives us some real flexibility in the attacking end. She is fearless on the shot and her timing and understanding of the circle will cause real havoc for defenders.”

About Lois Pearson, she said, “I have worked with her for a number of years from my days working with the regional pathway, and her development as a player has really impressed me. She quietly goes about her business on the court with great effect and is able to play across GA, GS and WA positions which is a rare talent. Having been a part of the Thunder Pathway for a number of years and more recently a Training Partner, she has caused our defence end some real challenges in training and I feel the time is right to give her the opportunity to step up”

“The promotion of this emerging talent demonstrates in real terms the value and importance of Manchester Thunder’s Performance Pathway in identifying and nurturing young talented athletes. The Pathway is renowned for its unique ability of creating a supportive and structured environment where players can be developed and given the opportunity to realise their full potential from grassroots level all the way through the age groups to the first team.”

I can’t wait to see what Berri and Lois can achieve as part of our squad for the 2020-2021 season.”

Berri Neil says, “It means a lot to me because I have supported Thunder since I was a little girl mainly because of how amazing they are, and I have always respected the players. I want to make a really positive impact on our squad and am looking forward to learning from other players’ experience.”

Lois Pearson says, “This is my dream ever since I started on the Thunder Pathway. I can’t wait to start training and playing with the team and show that I deserve my place in the squad. I’m really looking to helping them defend their Superleague title.”

Manchester Thunder had won all of their four matches in the 2020 season before it was cut short by COVID-19 so they will be eagerly looking to carry forward their undefeated record into the next season and replicate their Superleague success.