Warwickshire were named County Cricket Board of the Year at the Chance to Shine Awards on Thursday 25 November at a ceremony at Lord’s.

The team were recognised as part of an event run by the national cricket charity Chance to Shine to celebrate the great and the good of grassroots cricket.

Warwickshire Cricket Board (WCB), represented on the evening by Eaton Gordon and Danny Maskell, took the headline accolade in reward for many years of consistent excellence in providing opportunities for young people in the county.

In the last academic year, WCB delivered Chance to Shine programmes to over 18,000 primary school children in 172 schools. They also ran 17 Chance to Shine Street cricket projects, that run out of school hours in the most disadvantaged areas of the county.

WCB were able to react and respond to the challenges in school caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, providing the children with an amazing opportunity to get active in a fun and exciting way through cricket. Once lockdown was lifted in March 2021, WCB were one of the first of the 39 County Cricket Boards across the country to get back into schools, delivering fantastic coaching to help young people to play the sport.

Led by Eaton Gordon, WCB have run a fantastic Chance to Shine Street programme for over a decade. Street cricket is a fast, fun and free format of the game that requires no expensive specialist equipment and can be played anywhere. In April 2021, determined to provide opportunities for young people, WCB ran a special Chance to Shine Street Ramadan League late in the evenings during the holy month of Islam.

Young people aged 16-18 would arrive at the Indoor School at Edgbaston after sunset, once they had broken their fast, to take part in a regular Street cricket league. Representing their local areas, cricketers from Nechells, Saltley, Sparkhill and Aston took on each other to battle it out to be named the best in Birmingham.

“I’m hugely grateful to Danny Maskell and Eaton Gordon for their hard work and commitment to junior cricket and the Chance to Shine programme over many years. We’ve engaged nearly 200 schools in our region over the last 12 months whilst Chance to Shine Street now has 19 programmes across Birmingham and Coventry with 300 youths taking part.

Ed McCabe, General Manager of WCB,

“Alongside Danny and Eaton we have such a passionate team full time and sessional Chance to Shine coaches who inspire kids day in day out, namely: Zak Sinkinson, Shozair Ali, Andy Turnbull, Imran Majid, Aasim Aziz, Khalid Sadiq, Waqas Khan, Fareed Mohammed, Mohammed Arif, Simran Panesar, Raja Shahzeb, Leron Barker, Siraj Ali, Khyber Khan, Minahil Zahoor, Sam Wyles, Tom Jenkins, Emily Farmer, Mike Brooks and the team at Complete Cricket. These people are great coaches and we are very fortunate to have them in Warwickshire.”

The Chance to Shine Annual Awards, supported by NatWest, celebrates schools, projects and individuals from across the charity’s programmes who help to spread the power of cricket. Chance to Shine gives children and young people a chance to play cricket and uses the sport to help them learn valuable skills like teamwork, communication and resilience to support them throughout their lives. Working across England, Wales and Scotland, in a typical year the charity supports over 500,000 young people to play cricket.

Speaking at the event, Chance to Shine Chief Executive Laura Cordingley said “Warwickshire Cricket Board have a brilliant team of coaching staff who really get to know the young people they work with and make a difference to their development. Their management team do a terrific job working with schools across the county and engaging many of those in disadvantaged communities who would not normally get a chance to play the game.”

For information on how to get involved in Chance to Shine cricket in Birmingham and Warwickshire please contact Schools Manager Danny on dannymaskell@edgbaston.com or Community Participation Manager Eaton on eatongordon@edgbaston.com.