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Serena Guthrie: England captain announces pregnancy and retirement from netball

The 32-year-old is retiring from all forms of international and elite domestic netball; she will not play in July's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham; Serena Guthrie: "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"

England netball captain Serena Guthrie has announced her pregnancy and retirement
Image: Serena Guthrie is expecting her first child with her partner Bob and has decided to retire from netball

Serena Guthrie has announced that she is pregnant and has made the decision to retire from international and elite-level netball, meaning she will miss this summer's Commonwealth Games.

The England captain and Team Bath Netball athlete is widely regarded as one of the best mid-court players in the game. She won the first of her 110 senior England caps back in 2008 when she was just 18 years old.

Guthrie has represented her country at three Vitality Netball World Cups (2011, 2015 and 2019) and at two Commonwealth Games competitions (2014 and 2018).

She was an instrumental part of the England squad that won a historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and was selected to lead her country as captain during the 2019 Netball World Cup.

The 32-year-old played her domestic netball in England, New Zealand and Australia during her illustrious career and was a Superleague title winner with Team Bath Netball.

Guthrie was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for 2020 for services to netball.

She shared the news of her pregnancy and decision to retire from the sport with the England and Team Bath squads earlier this week.

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"Bob and I are thrilled to be expecting our first child together," Guthrie said. "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.

"I cannot wait to be part of the netball family willing on the Vitality Roses in the Commonwealth Games this summer in Birmingham and being the biggest cheerleader for Team Bath for the rest of the Vitality Netball Superleague season.

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. It’s been a real privilege to be the Vitality Roses captain for as long as I have and I want to thank everyone for their support in helping to make my journey in netball so special.
Serena Guthrie

Guthrie's England head coach shared her delight for her captain and said that the mid-courter's imprints would be left on the national squad, as England aim to defend the title they won on the Gold Coast.

"I'm overjoyed for both Serena, Bob and their families at the news of Serena's pregnancy," Jess Thirlby said.

"There is nothing more important in life than life itself and to be fortunate enough to begin the journey of parenthood is always such a special moment. Serena has long been a part of her own Vitality Roses family and has led them as captain in her own maternal way, invested in each and every person and wanting the best for them and out of them.

"As Serena embarks on the next chapter of her life she leaves her DNA across this exciting Vitality Roses team and in her own, very special way, has helped to ready the team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.

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.
Jess Thirlby

"Not only is Serena one of the most well-respected netballers across the global landscape but she is much loved by the fans and her team-mates.

"It has always been her character, charisma and free-spirited outlook on life that has translated on court in how she performs, and that has drawn so many people into the game."

England's Vitality Roses will now prepare for a home Commonwealth Games without their captain, while Team Bath Netball will endeavour to win a Vitality Netball Superleague title without her.

England's Commonwealth Games campaign starts on July 29 at the NEC Arena in Birmingham and the team will be first on court at the NEC Arena.

The Roses' opening match will be against Trinidad and Tobago. Then, they will take on the Malawi Queens on July 30, before partaking in successive contests on August 1 and 2 against Northern Ireland and Uganda.

The outfit's final group match will be a showdown against the reigning world champions, New Zealand on August 4.

England's mid-court energy and stalwart

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Serena Guthrie had an exceptional career and was one of England's finest

Guthrie first represented England as a teenager. The Jersey-born centre made her debut against Malawi in 2008 and she very quickly established herself as one of the sport's best.

The mid-courter's exceptional fitness and ability to read the game at the highest level, enabled her to become one of the the sport's leaders. She was hailed by coaches, peers and competitors alike and her performances during January's Netball Quad Series, showed that Guthrie is stepping away from the sport while she's still at the very top of her game.

Guthrie was one of the many internationals who started out at Team Bath Netball. She first went to the club as a prodigiously-talented 13-year-old and describes herself as "Team Bath through and through".

Team Bath Netball in Vitality Netball Superleague action (Image Credit - Morgan Harlow)
Image: Team Bath Netball in Vitality Netball Superleague action (Image Credit - Morgan Harlow)

Guthrie first wore the famous Blue & Gold colours in the Superleague in 2006 aged 16 and is one of the many exceptional athletes who learned an enormous amount from Lyn Gunson and Jan Crabtree. She won four domestic titles.

Also a domestic level, Guthrie expanded her knowledge and challenged her skills by travelling further afield to New Zealand and Australia.

In New Zealand, she was named ANZ Championship's Rookie of the Year while playing for the Northern Mystics and then made the switch to the GIANTS in 2017, where she was their MVP during a runners-up season.

While excelling on the domestic stage against some of the world's toughest opponents, Guthrie also drove England's work.

Guthrie's importance to the national side is displayed by the fact she played at three Vitality Netball World Cups (2011, 2015 and 2019) and two Commonwealth Games (2014 and 2018).

Whenever any of her teams needed a lift, Guthrie would also provide it. Her competitive nature combined perfectly with her fitness and natural abilities. If a game needed changing, Guthrie would be the person to do it.

The Vitality Roses' victory on the Gold Coast was an exceptional moment for the team
Image: The Vitality Roses' victory on the Gold Coast was an exceptional moment for the team

Guthrie was at the very heart of England's greatest triumph to date, a gold medal-winning campaign on the Gold Coast at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She then stepped up as captain in the years after, and led the team at a home Netball World Cup in Liverpool in 2019.

It was a mark of Guthrie's leadership that she was able steer them through adversity during that World Cup.

After setting out to win gold on home soil, they suffered a heartbreaking semi-final defeat against New Zealand. With the shortest of turnarounds, Guthrie helped the team recover and then directed them forwards to secure the bronze medal.

Guthrie has inspired a countless number of women and girls to take up the game and she runs her own coaching brand, Legacy Netball.

As England's head coach said, Guthrie's imprint will be left on the Vitality Roses team but this summer, they must go for Commonwealth gold without her and have one of netball's greatest of all-time cheering them on from the stands.

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