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Hannah Knights has loved every second back on the netball court

Taken during the Netball Super League Grand Final at the Copper Box Arena, London, England on 11th June 2023.

From retirement to yet another top-four finish, Hannah Knights knows how to make a statement return to netball.

The four-time Netball Super League champion retired from the sport in 2020 after a stunning 15-year career which saw her captain both Surrey Storm and Wasps to back-to-back titles before making a surprise return to the top in 2023.

The defender has never been too far away from a duck egg blue homecoming, living just a stone’s throw from Surrey Sports Park and keeping in close contact with long-time friends and Storm counterparts Amy Flanagan and Sophia Candappa.

So, when the netball bug came back calling, a coffee catch-up with Mikki Austin was all it took for Knights to return to the court as a training partner before joining the official squad just one week out from the 2023 Season Opener.

“Unexpected is definitely the phrase I would use to describe my return to netball,” she said.

“I had a wonderful career and was very happy with where I left it in terms of my retirement and then following the birth of my daughter and Covid happening, I really missed the in-person connection you get from training and being in the netball environment.

“I was extremely fortunate that Mikki let me get involved in some training and pre-season bits with Storm and when the opportunity came to be part of the 12 this season, I was really excited to take it and it was such an unexpected surprise.

“I was really conscious as to how I would fit and how fit I was, I had no idea where I would be at and had no expectations.

“I was just happy to offer my experience, and it was really nice to just step in and not step on anyone’s toes. To just enjoy myself.”

Part of the first-ever NSL season back in 2005, Knights lost four Grand Finals before her first taste of victory in 2015, the first of four titles in four years.

This season, the Storm legend was instrumental in their return to the top four for the first time in seven years, catapulting her side into the semi-finals and missing out 55-38 to Manchester Thunder in the third-place playoff.

And despite the loss, Knights has proved that she really is one of the world’s leading experts on how to secure a top-four finish.

“I always think that the semi-final is the hardest game of the season,” she said.

“But you have to take comfort that you’ve got there through hard work throughout the season and have confidence in your team and you need to know that the other team are nervous too, experience tells you that.

“Win, lose or draw, you just have to enjoy the journey. I wouldn’t have played this many seasons or even come back to netball if I didn’t do that.

“You should enjoy the time with your team and the time on the court and be satisfied that after every game, when the final whistle blows, you’ve done what you can.”

Knights spent her retirement raising her daughter Mila and trekking into the wide outdoors alongside close friend Flanagan.

Now, content with all she has achieved in her return to action on the netball court, the defender is now looking ahead to new adventures with her family.

 

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A post shared by Hannah Knights (@haitchare)

But one thing is for sure, 2023 was a homecoming to remember.

“Being back at Storm has been amazing and it’s given me a confidence back in myself that I can actually still do it,” she reflected.

“I can still play and that’s been really affirming.

“I’ve loved coming to play with some new players that I’ve never played with before.

“I think I’ve played with Amy at every final I’ve been in, but to play with new people like Layla [Guscoth] and Peace [Proscovia] is brilliant.

“To be on the same team rather than playing against them is a great experience.

“It’s been a new environment, but it still felt really familiar, it felt a little bit like home.”

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