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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Hannah Knights of Wasps lifts the trophy during the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final between Loughborough Lightning and Wasps at Copper Box Arena on July 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Wasps Netball captain Hannah Knights has announced her retirement from netball – calling time on a decorated career.

Knights has competed in all 15 Vitality Netball Superleague seasons and has been a title-winning captain on four occasions.

She debuted in the 2005 season for Loughborough Lightning, joining Storm four seasons later and went on to become Wasps’ first ever signing in 2016.

Knights lifted her first VNSL title with Storm in 2014 and proceeded to lift the coveted trophy in four successive seasons, including leading Wasps’ to back-to-back league titles in the two seasons after their formation.

The 35-year-old has also represented England at under-21 level and counts a silver medal at the World Youth Championships among her honours.

“I’m so thankful for the support I have received from my family and friends through the years and now felt like the right time to call it a day and enjoy life away from netball,” said Knights.

“I’ve built my life around netball and have so much to thank the sport for. I’ve made some great friends and will certainly still be supporting them from the stands.

“Winning my first league title with Storm was really special, then to go and win two with Wasps was brilliant too, and I’ll always treasure those memories. To be the first ever Wasps player was an honour and we’re like a family now.

“I’d like to thank the teachers that encouraged me to give netball a try, even if I wanted to be a ballerina, and the coaches who saw potential in me even if I didn’t see it in myself.

“So many people have had a huge impact on my career. From my England under-21 coach Colette Thomson, to Tamsin Greenway who really helped my development as a player, to Wasps’ current coach Mel Mansfield who has guided me along the way.

“I’ve played with some incredible players and it will be strange not sharing a court with Amy Flanagan and Rachel Dunn, who I’ve played with for so many years and we’re the best of friends away from the court.

“It’s been a privilege to play netball at the highest level for so long and to see the sport move up the national agenda in that time – the future is very bright.”

Knights was named Wasps Player of the Season in 2017 and franchise manager Sarah Taylor says she has been crucial to the success of the club.

“Hannah’s been integral to our success at every step. You can’t underestimate the impact of such an influential captain and she is valued immeasurably by both players and management,” said Taylor.

“She leads by example on and off the court, is a phenomenal athlete and represents everything Wasps stands for. Hannah will be sorely missed and we would like to thank her for everything she has done for the club over the last four years.”

Wasps head coach Mel Mansfield added: “Hannah’s netball career has been quite incredible. She is an athlete that is fiercely respected with physical ability unlike any I’ve seen before.

“Her dedication to training and fitness has been unrivalled throughout her career, which is quite an incredible feat alongside a separate full-time demanding career.

“I have known Hannah for 12 years and she has grown into one of my dearest friends. Her career has been nothing short of amazing and will always be remembered in the sport.”

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