SERENA GUTHRIE announced yesterday that she is pregnant and will retire from elite netball.
The England captain and Team Bath Netball athlete, widely regarded as one of the best mid-court players in the game, is expecting her first baby with partner Bob Kersten.
‘Being a mum is an amazing new chapter in my life and I’m really excited about what that’s going to bring to me,’ she said.
She will now miss the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, but pledged to part of the netball family willing on the Roses this summer and remain the biggest cheerleader for Bath.
‘It’s been an absolute pleasure and honour to have been able to play netball domestically and internationally for so long, working and playing alongside the most incredible group of athletes and staff along the way,’ said Guthrie.
‘It’s been a real privilege to be the Vitality Roses captain for as long as I have and want to thank everyone for their support in helping to make my journey in netball so special.’
Guthrie first went to Team Bath from Jersey as a talented 13-year-old.
She has gone on to win 110 international caps and four Superleague titles, and was a driving force behind England’s historic Commonwealth Games success in 2018.
Guthrie helped England take bronze at the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Netball World Cups, captaining the Roses at the latter tournament in Liverpool.
In all, she captained England 28 times.
Guthrie also enjoyed a successful spell in New Zealand and Australia from 2015 to 2018, playing for Northern Mystics and Sydney-based Giants Netball.
She said her pregnancy ‘came as a bit of a surprise, but an amazing surprise’.
‘I’d always planned to go through to the Commonwealth Games this year but Bob and I were also planning to start a family as well. It’s a little bit earlier than expected but we’re both really excited and super happy about moving into parenthood and parent life.
‘I’d always intended to retire after the Commonwealths, so I have made the decision to roll that retirement forward and I will be stepping away from the elite game and international game this year. This was a big decision for me to make and I’ve definitely not taken it lightly but it’s one that is one hundred per cent right for me.’
The 32-year-old first played Superleague when she was 16.
‘My biggest standout memory probably has to be one of the first titles we managed to win and playing with the likes of Pamela Cookey, Tamsin Greenway and Rachel Dunn. It was just such an incredible team to be a part of and those players had a huge influence on me moving forward into the England team as well. I had such a good start to be around such amazing athletes, so those are memories that I’ll definitely cherish forever.’
Her last match for Team Bath was the 2021 Grand Final against Loughborough Lightning.
Bath head coach Anna Stembridge said: ‘ I know fans will be disappointed not to see Serena on the court again, but I also know how happy everyone in the netball community and beyond will be for her.’
The Team Bath fans will still see Guthrie.
‘We are navigating what that will look and feel like but it’s great that we’ll still have her off-court leadership, her knowledge and her insight into the Team Bath way.’
Current Team Bath captain Imogen Allison, a fellow mid-courter and team-mate of Guthrie for club and country, said: ‘Serena is an incredible team-mate, you wouldn’t want anyone else on your side. She’s amazing at leadership, hard work, everything about the sport but off the court she is such a great friend too. She is always there to support you, have fun, have a laugh.’
Roses head coach Jess Thirlby said that not only was Guthrie one of the most well-respected netballers across the globe, but she was much loved by the fans and her teammates.
‘It has always been her character, charisma and free spirited outlook on life that has translated onto the court in how she performs which has drawn so many people into the game.
‘Serena is the ultimate team player, always putting the needs of the team above herself. Whilst we will miss her hugely it is a time to celebrate all that Serena has contributed not only to the Vitality Roses but to the sport overall. Her legacy will continue to live on in generations of players to come, such is the impact she has had on and beyond the court.’