Chance to Shine Street is a fast-paced form of cricket that is being used all over the country to support those from some of the most diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged areas.
Six a side. Just twenty balls per innings. Played with a tapeball (a tennis ball encased in electrical tape to make it fly off the bat).
Young people can come along to free sessions that are designed to bring cricket to those who would never normally get the chance to play. Held in sports halls, community centres, youth clubs or parks, all equipment is provided and attendees can wear what they like.
Here in Yorkshire, its success is growing and in this feature with the Yorkshire Cricket Board, we’ll look at the impact of Chance to Shine Street for girls in South Yorkshire.
Johnny Younis is one of the YCB’s Club & Community Development Managers for South Yorkshire and shared how the momentum is building.
Apparently, the Chance to Shine Street sessions began for girls several years ago after mixed sessions proved popular.
The girls-only Chance to Shine Street sessions started off with having three or four girls attending per week. Parents would watch, just to keep an eye on their girls and gain some confidence in the coach.
There were cultural and religious barriers that have been overcome to show the potential of the game for girls in communities where it’s not always common for them to play sports.
But, attitudes can change and momentum can build.
The Chance to Shine Street programme in Nether Edge, Sheffield has gone from strength to strength with 15 to 20 girls now coming on a Saturday morning.
Johnny tells me: “We let the girls decide when they were ready to start playing games outside of the sessions. Shahid Ali (Allama Iqbal Cricket Club) heads this and there is a female lead coach now delivering too.”
Zoeya Ahmed (see video above) is an example of how Chance to Shine Street can empower girls and in her case aged just 16, she went on to become a Support Coach and then Lead coach.
Meanwhile, the YCB’s Johnny Younis shared how the popularity of cricket for girls continued from humble beginnings:
“Eventually, from these very few parents that we had, the word got out that these were fun and safe sessions. It took a while to gain the confidence of the parents but they now fully trust both Shahid and the lead female coach. The girls love the sessions.”
Once that trust was there, it was a case of seeing how far the girls wanted to take their cricket.
They were placed in an Allama Iqbal CC team and entered the local junior league competition on a festival basis. The best bit was the mums ran the team as they were gathering interest in cricket too.
It turns out they were very good too.
In 2023, the squad was entered into the Chance to Shine Girls Street competition and ended up being crowned national U15 champions, beating Blackburn in the last over.
Some of these girls have also played in the open-age Allama Iqbal CC matches and done well. For good measure, whilst being part of the Allama Iqbal girls U13’s team, they won the junior league in conjunction with Hallam CC.
There are inspiring projects all over Yorkshire bringing the game we all love to those of all ages and backgrounds.
In the case of Chance to Shine Street in Sheffield, it has lit a fire for these girls and their connection to cricket; one that looks as if it’s just begun.
Explore more about Chance to Shine Street, including teacher training and the sessions running in Yorkshire in 2024.
The YCB Website gives background, coaches working across the region, teacher training and the venues for sessions in 2024.
This is a sponsored article for Yorkshire Cricket Board – if the mood takes you, click to read Cricket Yorkshire’s policy on sponsored content*
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