Wong and Bell debut for England

Image Credit: ECB/Getty

Lauren Bell and Issy Wong have today (Monday 27th June) become the first full Chance to Shine participants to play for England.

The duo have been named in the starting XI as England Women take on South Africa at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton.

Both players were part of the full Chance to Shine programme in primary school, with Lauren picking up a bat and ball at Hungerford Primary in Berkshire and Issy joining sessions at Bentley Heath School in Solihull.

“I’m really proud to be one of the first two people to represent England having gone through Chance to Shine,” said 20-year-old Wong. “I remember it well, especially a festival at Knowle Village Cricket Club where I got out stood on my stumps! Chance to Shine do really good things for English cricket and I’m sure there will be other Chance to Shine graduates after Belly and me.”

Fast bowler Bell, who also represents Southern Vipers and Southern Brave, said: “It’s very cool to be out playing for England with Wongy knowing we’ve both done Chance to Shine. It feels pretty special to be the first people to have been a part of that pathway, hopefully we’re the first of many.”

The debuts came on an apt occasion, as over 1,000 Chance to Shine participants from around the South West descended on Taunton to celebrate the start of National Cricket Week.

The week is an opportunity to celebrate the sport, inspire children to take part in cricketing activities and to showcase the work that Chance to Shine does in bringing the game to hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Chance to Shine Chief Executive Laura Cordingley said: “We were tremendously proud to see both Lauren and Issy receive their England caps this morning and it was made extra special by the fact that thousands of pupils from the local area who have been part of Chance to Shine programmes were watching from the stands.

“Our aim as a charity is to help children to develop as people and to support them in fulfilling their potential, whatever that might be. Whether those children at the ground want to be a professional cricketer, a doctor or maybe even Prime Minister – there’s no doubt today will prove the inspirational power of cricket.”


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