Key members of the Chance to Shine network were celebrated for their commitment to inspiring young people through cricket during an emotional evening hosted by Elleanor Oldroyd at Lord’s in November.  

Read below to find out about our winners and runners up in more detail:

County Board of the Year - Northumberland Cricket Board

Northumberland Cricket Board have excelled in connecting programmes, with evidence of the impact of their work in Newcastle, which is home to six Street Projects that have benefitted from delivery across the city in Primary Schools with a higher-than-average proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals. In Secondary Schools they have built on the award-winning success of 2022 and continued to develop cohorts of female leaders to support cricket opportunities both in and outside of schools. 

The Runners up:

Somerset Cricket Foundation

Another year of exceptional performance with 62 primary schools receiving the whole school programme to reach over 7000 children, with substantial secondary school activity across 16 schools. The four Street projects have developed this year with growing attendances - a real achievement of perseverance and collective buy in. Highlights this year include, hosting regional Chance to Compete festivals and the SCF ‘Stumpy’ programme linking classroom activity focusing personal development to professional cricketers.

Hampshire Cricket Board

Delivery has been exceptional this year and especially noteworthy has been the effort to take cricket to different communities reaching nearly 100 primary schools and 11,000 children. Street projects have grown within the Portsmouth and Basingstoke areas with a real attention to pastoral care and working in partnership with local agencies and youth services. The wish to understand and work with children effectively is demonstrated by the training support offered to the coaching team around Adverse Childhood Experiences. 

Primary School of the Year - Monkton Academy Durham

Monkton Academy, ensures cricket access for all with a focus on inclusivity. With around 70% of children eligible for free school meals,, the school collaborates with South Shields CC, fostering a growing girls’ section and supporting young carers. Positive transformations are seen in social interactions and teamwork, reflecting cricket’s influence beyond the school premises 

The Runners Up:

Weston Hills C of E Primary School (Lincolnshire): 

Weston Hills, a rural village school in south Lincolnshire, embraced cricket through Chance to Shine. With delivery across all years in the school cricket has been a hit. The programme not only improved cricket skills but also empowered teachers. Positive impacts were evident as children became more confident, actively engaged in activities, and showcased leadership skills. 

Penbridge Junior School (Hampshire): 

Penbridge Junior School has undergone a cricketing revolution with Chance to Shine, engaging over 180 pupils across six classes. Located in Portsmouth’s Fratton area, the school, promotes equitable opportunities to be involved in sports. The impact has been profound, extending beyond the school with Dynamos Cricket and pupils visiting Lord’s. 

Community Cricket Award - Sacha Lee (Shropshire)

Sacha Lee’s impactful community project targeted the urban area of Telford, addressing deprivation and cultural diversity. Sacha spearheaded community links, significantly increasing schools’ delivery. Her initiative extended to introducing four Street projects, inspiring South Asian Women’s and Interfaith groups. Sacha’s dedication led to participant success stories, pathways to district squads, and enhanced community cohesion.

The Runners Up:

Ibrahim Mosque Girls (Essex):

Jusnara Khanom and Shanaz Parvin established a transformative Street cricket programme with the Ibrahim Mosque, providing a safe and nurturing environment for Muslim hijabi girls aged 10-12. The sessions fostered confidence, teamwork, and active participation. Participants embraced cricket, learned new skills, and appreciated the opportunity to be physically active.

YAV Sunderland (Durham):

Young Asian Voices (YAV) in Sunderland showcases inclusive cricket initiatives. Over 250 young people of diverse backgrounds and ages and 150 adults engage in cricket through various programmes. YAV adapted its delivery for inclusivity, introducing female-only sessions and walking cricket. The success extended to league games, volunteer involvement, and national recognition at the CTS Street Finals, helping to foster confidence and teamwork. 

Street Coach of the Year

Nafeesa Katib, coaching on Oadby’s Chance to Shine Street project for over five years, has demonstrated unparalleled commitment and passion. Leading a diverse Youth session, Nafeesa’s dedication has increased participation to 76 young people in 2022-23. She goes beyond cricket, contributing to mental health awareness and extending cricket opportunities in her community. 

The Runners Up:

Tariq Ali MBE (Staffordshire): 

Tariq Ali, the lead coach for the Chance to Shine Street Project in Wolverhampton, stands out for his remarkable dedication and positive influence on the community. Despite facing personal challenges, Tariq continues to be a community hero, engaging children and parents in cricket. His MBE recognition reflects his commitment to both cricket and community service. 

Shahzana Aslam (Durham): 

Shahzana Aslam, an inspirational coach at the Young Asian Voices Street projects in Sunderland, leads with compassion, hard work, and goal-oriented behaviour. Despite not having a background in cricket, she has become a role model, particularly for women and girls. Shahzana’s achievements include winning the National Street competition, developing women and girls-only sessions, and being recognised regionally for engaging women and girls in sports. 

Secondary School of the Year

Giles Academy in Old Leake earns recognition for their dedication to cricket. In a small rural village, the school has introduced the sport to 138 girls from year 7 to year 10, with a further 15 becoming Cricket Leaders. The Leadership Programme transformed these girls’ skills and confidence, culminating in running a skills session on the Trent Bridge outfield during the Women’s Ashes, marking a cultural shift in the school’s approach to cricket.

The Runners Up:

The Bishops Blue Coat High School (Cheshire):

At The Bishops’ Blue Coat High School, staff members Amy O’Brien and Cheryl Foster and pupils Niamh and Evie Reay play pivotal roles in championing cricket. These individuals bridge their love of sport from the community to the school and back, creating sustainable opportunities. Inspired by their experiences, the Reay sisters championed the leadership programme, influencing curriculum sustainability and community links.

Teign School (Devon):

Teign School is a shining example of embracing the Chance to Shine programme. Staff and students fully embraced the opportunity to run a girls’ leadership programme, creating and transforming a new cricketing culture in the school. Students, including those new to cricket, expressed a newfound love for the game. Teign School fully embraced the initiative, providing staff CPD and creating an after-school club.

Project of the Year - Haringey Youth (Middlesex)

In Haringey, a youth project at Chestnuts Park gained momentum after a successful Dynamos programme. Strategically using community resources to grow and engage participants by partnering with local schools, the project empowers youth and engages parents. It marks the beginning of a cricket legacy in the community. 

The Runners Up:

DESA Street Project (Yorkshire): 

DESA’s Street Project, launched in 2021, thrives as a cricket hub in Darnall, Sheffield. It engages 30-50 participants every week, breaking down cultural barriers. The project promotes leadership, boosts community involvement, and transforms lives through cricket. 

NUFC Youth (Northumberland): 

NUFC Street offers a stable, year-round opportunity to play cricket at NUcastle, a stones throw from St James’ Park. Bridging communities, it’s a trusted venue enhancing social and cricket skills. With both a girls and mixed session, participants are encouraged to develop and progress in cricket whilst fostering inclusivity. 

Schools Coach of the Year - Sean Fitzgerald (Somerset)

Sean Fitzgerald, a cricket coach in Somerset and previously Dorset, exemplifies exceptional coaching. His passion, professionalism, and inclusive approach inspire both children and teachers. Sean goes beyond the basics, ensuring every child feels valued and successful. His impact extends to teachers, fostering cricket in schools even after his sessions.

The Runners Up:

Calum Bickerton (Northumberland):

As Northumberland Cricket Board’s Urban Development Officer, Calum stands out for his phenomenal impact in urban Newcastle. Delivering in schools where over 40% of children are eligible for free school meals, Calum seamlessly connects school programmes to community-based Street projects. With over 130 participants in Street sessions, Calum’s high standards, infectious enthusiasm, and role model approach transform cricket in Newcastle.

Sharon Butcher (Yorkshire):

Sharon Butcher, a Chance to Shine coach for Yorkshire, has made an unparalleled impact in just one year. With a passion for cricket and a focus on participation, Sharon has transformed attitudes toward sport in diverse schools whose pupils face economic challenges. Her engaging sessions, child empowerment, and meticulous planning have improved cricket skills and inspired teachers to continue cricket programmes in schools. 

Participant of the Year - Bilal Raja (Gloucestershire)

Bilal’s cricketing journey started with Chance to Shine in Year 5, evolving into a passionate, organised leader at the heart of Bristol’s Easton Street project. A respected figure, Bilal fosters community cohesion, organises events, and advocates for cricket’s positive impact. He’s transitioned from a player to a coach, embodying the transformative influence of Chance to Shine. 

The Runners Up:

Frank Seagar 

(Suffolk): 

Frank’s five-year journey with Chance to Shine Street transformed a quiet and shy participant into a confident leader. Overcoming initial hesitations, he embraced cricket, excelled, and even became a runner-up for ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at the Suffolk Cricket Board Awards. Frank, now a role model, contributes by leading coaching aspects of sessions. 

Izzy Pugh 

(Dorset): 

Izzy is a talented cricketer and inspirational leader. Now in Year 10, she has been playing cricket with Chance to Shine since Year 7. Having reached the regional development level, she still remains committed to coaching and captaining school teams. Izzy’s vibrant, knowledgeable coaching style elevated the profile of cricket in her school, inspiring other girls to join the lunchtime cricket club - a true ambassador for the sport. 

Outstanding Contribution Award - Phil Mellons

For 16 years Phil has been an ever present member of Durham's CTS delivery team – leading the way as a coach on their programme since its inception in the county until moving on to a new role at the end of last academic year.

The skill of Phil's work lies in the immense quality with which he has delivered over these many years. The number of children who have had smiles put on their faces through their passionate work is incredible. He has inspired thousands of children to connect with the game and find their own love for it – and the volume who have made the choice to choose cricket beyond the boundaries of the school playing fields and into local community clubs is testament to how he has lit a spark within the hearts and minds of those children, their teachers and their parents.
 
A stand out from Phil's time as a CTS coach was when we ran a national children’s survey in 2015/16 and part of this, children were asked to state who their ‘most influential cricketer’ was. Children could pick anyone they liked from the international game – and of course Joe Root & Alistair Cook appeared at the top of the list, given their achievements and profile. What we didn’t expect though was to see who came number 3… Phil Mellons! What bigger compliment to Phil’s work and skills could you have, where children around the country in a national survey have pinpointed him as their cricketing role model.