Today (24/04/21), we celebrate the birthday of Imogen Allison as the Vitality Rose turns 23!
2020 was a difficult year for the Netball Family from grassroots up to the elite level where the Vitality Netball Superleague season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, there was still a massive positive to take from a challenging period for Imogen.
In October she stepped out on court in New Zealand for the first time as a senior international.
She faced the Silver Ferns twice during the Cadbury Netball Series to continue to establish herself as one of the country’s most promising talents.
Imogen was co-captain of the England A side selected during the Vitality Netball Nations Cup at the start of the year before landing a place on the Roses full-time programme for 2020/21.
Her two international caps then followed in the winter and she spoke ahead of making her debut about the excitement at that prospect: “Potentially getting my first senior cap means so much to me.
“My whole netball career has been essentially driven towards getting an international senior cap and playing at this level. So I’m very excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that under my belt.”
Of course, that special moment did arrive and Imogen later reflected on her achievement.
“When I started playing, I was just playing for fun and just to be with my friends,” she said.
“I loved being active and being the sporty kid. As I progressed, I saw how good the Vitality Roses team were on TV and realised that’s where I wanted to be.
“I didn’t think I’d reach this point and it’s such an honour to be here. As I progressed through academies, I probably thought if I worked hard enough I could probably do it.”
The 23-year-old was set to potentially add some more caps to her total in January’s Vitality Netball Legends Series before restrictions prevented opponents Jamaica from travelling to the UK.
What an amazing experience! Extremely grateful for this opportunity, here’s to the next one👊🏽🌹 https://t.co/BDcnPI7YdO
— Imogen Allison (@imoallison) October 28, 2020
Fortunately, a team comprised of Vitality Netball Superleague All Stars were swiftly assembled allowing Imogen to secure some invaluable court time in the three-match series
She lined up alongside Team Bath Netball teammates Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Layla Guscoth and England centurion Serena Guthrie, who was one of two inspirational figures for her as a young player.
“When I was growing up, Serena Guthrie was a role model of mine, it’s been so good getting to know her and now playing with her!” she said.
“Now, I’d also say Gabby Simpson. What she’s done in Super Netball over the last few seasons has been amazing. The way she plays is just incredible. She gets the ball like nobody else.”
Team Bath lead the Superleague table at the halfway stage with just a single defeat and the defensive barricade formed by Serena, Layla, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Eboni Usoro-Brown and Imogen has been a significant part of that success.
And we can’t wait to see her progress with the Vitality Roses!