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How Amy Flanagan found her way home to Surrey Storm

From the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ to the netball court, Amy Flanagan is finally back in the duck egg blue following her wild year away from the Netball Super League.

The 29-year-old first joined Surrey Storm back in 2012 and helped them to two successive Super League titles in 2015 and 2016 before joining Wasps.

She continued to collect medals in black and yellow, winning a further two titles under Tasmin Greenway in 2017 and 2018.

But following a year out to pursue other adventures during the 2022 season, Flanagan is back to her roots at the Surrey Sports Park.

“Storm have always held a really special place for me because it was where I first started,” she said.

“Whilst I really loved my time at Wasps, it was a longer commute for me and other challenges with work-life balance, so I needed time off to refresh.

“I didn’t think I missed netball until I went to go and watch a game at Surrey Sports Park as a supporter rather than a player and I realised how much fun it was.

“For me that was part of the reason that I was compelled to come back.

“And when Mikki [Austin] started talking about the squad that she was going to put together it was just too big of an opportunity for me to say no.

“I had such a fun time training with the squad last year as a training partner, it just seemed right to come back.

β€œSophie [Drakeford-Lewis] and Layla [Guscoth], these are two players that everyone wants on their team.

“The level of training has definitely been raised; I think when you do have those England players, you see everybody else also step up at training which really helps us as a squad.”

During her time away from the court, Flanagan continued her work as Director of Netball at Wellington College but also enjoyed sport away from netball, including a 20-mile-long distance walking race around the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ in Surrey, alongside Storm teammate and long-time friend Hannah Knights. It was a memorable experience if you ignore the aching legs and long hours.

“I really love running but I’m not very fast so have never been competitive in it,” she said.

“It was just nice to do something where I didn’t have to be good at it. I could just do it for me.

“So, I did a lot of running with Hannah and we actually entered an orienteering race where we had to follow written directions and it was 20 miles long.

“It was lovely to be able to enjoy another hobby and passion away from netball and it have that refreshing headspace that has made me more excited to come back.

“It was very much old school ramblers and we decided to just do the 20 and not the 30 miles but it was really good fun.

“I did leave her at the end because I just couldn’t stop as my legs hurt so much but I made her a cup of tea for the finish to make it up to her!”

 

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Pulling on the duck egg blue for the first time since 2016, Flanagan has been flooded with memories of her early years in the dress.

Whether that was being star-struck by netball legends or holding onto the highs and lows that come behind the scenes of competitive sport, it all lead her to a return home and the continuation of her netball legacy.

“I remember the first session that Rachel Dunn ever came to when I first started Storm and I was just so star struck. I think I stood there for the whole session with my mouth open.

“One of the first ever trials I went to for a county programme, Rachel came and spoke to us about nutrition and little 11-year-old me was amazed listening to her.

“Cut to a few years later and I’m at training stood alongside one of the greatest netball players in the country.

“I remember chanting ‘don’t embarrass yourself’ to myself.

“Now having been on the winning and losing end of finals and leagues, I know that not everything goes smoothly.

“It’s important to look back on the bad bits, you have to go through that to get to the highs. It’s good to have a rational perspective.”

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