Bridging the gap

Earlier this year, the Chance to Shine Street Development Pilot Programme was launched in partnership with Surrey Cricket Foundation. The programmes offered Street participants from across Surrey the opportunity to develop their hardball cricket skills, with the potential to access the Performance pathway. For most of the young people involved, this was their first experience of playing hardball cricket, as a variety of barriers prevented them from doing so previously. Over the course of eight weeks, 15 young people attended weekly winter training sessions focussing on developing their core skills, through specialist coaching. 

Chance to Shine’s Inclusive Programmes Manager Rohan Randhawa and Surrey Cricket Foundation coach Ryan Gregory explain why this programme is so important: 

“We know that there’s so much talent on our Street programmes across the country. These players, could be some of the best that come out of the game in the next few years. We make sure that we create the environment that they can prosper and improve their cricket skills and connect with the people that can help them get there on their journey.” - Rohan 

“They are the best of the best across all of our 18 projects and we wanted to give them this opportunity to help them up through the ranks and possibly open up doors that they wouldn’t have had elsewhere.” - Ryan 

Overcoming barriers  

“I coach on the performance pathway, so everything that I do there, I can mirror with these guys at their Development Programme sessions. It’s just giving them a taste of what a performance pathway session might look like so if they end up there, they already understand the level of requirement there is to play for a Surrey Junior team.” - Ryan 

Travel & Equipment  

“We have accounted for travel within the budget to make sure that all the participants in the Development squad can get to training and matches as well. We’ve actually created a good partnership with Gray Nicholls, who have provided us with lots of free equipment that the participants can use.” – Rohan  

A familiar environment

“A few of them have gone to County trials before and the environment for them was outside their comfort zone. If they’re in a group of young people that they’re already familiar with, in an environment they’re already familiar with, that makes it a lot easier for us to get the best out of them and to see their true potential.” – Rohan 

Future aims 

“To grow this initiative would be amazing! If we can do this in every single county in England, that would be the absolute dream. That way, no young person will miss out on the opportunity to progress through to elite level cricket.” - Rohan 

What do the participants think? 

“I’ve looked at nets prices here before and the prices were ridiculous. So I’m happy that now I have a whole team and I’m part of an academy and the best thing about it is it’s free.” – Ajmal, aged 14 

This is my first hardball session. I really enjoyed it because I get to play some of the boys at my level. They’ve involved fitness training to get us fitter for the season when we play against other teams. I have an aim for the future to become a professional cricketer. It is what I always wanted from when I was young. I try my hardest and best to do my best and achieve it.” – Naweed, aged 14 

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