SADDLEWORTH pair Kerry Almond and Yasmin Roebuck have landed new deals by Manchester Thunder for the 2023 Vitality Superleague season.
The pair are at opposite ends of the experience spectrum with 36-year-old Almond preparing for a record 14th season at the club.
Roebuck, 20, meanwhile, enjoyed a successful break out season in 2022 in which she featured in all 22 fixtures.
With the success of the 2022 season and four Superleague titles under her belt, Almond has re-signed for the 2023 season.
After winning the Superleague title for the third time in 2019, Almond announced her retirement from netball. However, this was short lived after the late withdrawal of Loreen Ngwira just before the start of the 2021 season.
Almond, who lives on the Lees/Waterhead border, explained: “Debbie [Hallas] accosted me one Tuesday morning in the Netball UK office, where I work, and asked whether I fancied coming out of retirement.
“I was a bit unsure as I hadn’t done any running so I told her I would see. However, it was great to be back involved and seeing all the girls’ faces. It was brilliant decision for me to come out of retirement.”
Almond, who plays goal keeper, was a permanent presence in the starting seven for Thunder throughout the 2022 season, appearing in 21 games and only missing out on one due to concussion protocols.
Her stats were impressive, in second position in the league for the most deflections with 99 and coming in ninth for the most interceptions with 41.
Almond said: “Last season was incredible. It was amazing to be back out in front of the Thunder fans at Belle Vue and phenomenal to go 22 games unbeaten.
“I’m really proud of what we put out on court last year, and hopefully we can do the same job again in the 2023 season.”
Karen Greig, Thunder head coach and director of netball, said: “Just when everyone had her retired again, I’m so happy Kerry has decided to sign for another season.
“Kerry really is in her prime and playing some of her best netball. She is a key member of our squad and is invaluable with the partnership she has formed with Shadine van der Merwe, as well as the experience and knowledge she brings to our youngsters which sees them thrive.”
Grasscroft-based Roebuck, 20, the former Friezland Primary and Saddleworth School pupil, has gone from strength-to-strength in her netball career playing a key role in Thunder lifting the Superleague trophy for the fourth time.
A versatile mid-courter offering both wing defense and centre, Roebuck has cemented her place in an exciting squad bursting with pathway products for the new season.
Formerly part of the England Roses Academy squad, Roebuck has traveled on tours to Australia and New Zealand with the Roses U19 side, before starting all three games in Worcester for the Netball Europe U21 Championships, helping to secure a gold medal.
She said: “Last season was incredible to be a part of. To be surrounded by such experienced players and coaches was a great learning opportunity for me, and a chance to develop as a player in my first Superleague season.
“I loved how the training environment and team morale really reflected on court, which meant we were able to bring home the trophy to Manchester and say we were undefeated all season.”
Greig added: “I’m really happy to re-sign Yasmin. In her breakthrough season last year, she was a crucial member of our squad impacting on many occasions.
“She was almost stealth like in her defense and able to nullify threats and win the ball when you need it. I am looking forward to working with her this season and seeing her step up once again.”