Chance to Shine graduates Lauren Bell and Issy Wong are excited to continue to inspire

Chance to Shine graduates Lauren Bell and Issy Wong are eager to continue inspiring the next generation of cricketers during the second season of the Women’s Hundred.

The women’s edition of the domestic franchise league starts on Thursday, and England seamers Bell and Wong will be among the star players involved for the Southern Brave and Birmingham Phoenix respectively.

Both used last year’s tournament as a springboard to a memorable 2022, with the duo making international debuts in multiple formats this year.

It was back in June when England handed caps to Bell and Wong for the one-off Test with South Africa at Taunton, which not only created a special occasion for the bowling duo but also national charity Chance to Shine after it gave youngsters their first taste of cricket through their free sessions.

“It’s so exciting for any young player who might be doing Chance to Shine right now and hopefully gives them some role models to look up to and see that you can do it,” Bell told the PA news agency.

“The platform for kids playing cricket now is so much better than when we were playing. Hopefully there will be some good youngsters who can continue the fight.”

Since the charity celebrated Bell and Wong becoming the first participants to play for England in June, it has had another milestone to recognise.

Last month, Claremont Primary School pupil Dhanya Muralidharan had the honor of being the charity’s six millionth participant in a free session hosted at the Manchester school.

Chance to Shine has continuously sought to make the game of cricket more accessible up and down the country for free since its founding after the 2005 Ashes, and Wong feels that much will follow in her footsteps.

Wong told PA: “I guess for anyone who plays and loves the sport, one of the big reasons you do it is to give back and keep the passion going through the next generation.

“I watched Katherine (Brunt) when I was young and she and many others in this dressing room inspired me to love cricket. If I can do it for one or two people, it’s job done.

“Chance to Shine I loved as a kid, so it’s nice all these youngsters, six million of them now, they can look at me and Belly and see that we’ve made it to the international level.

“Hopefully we won’t have to wait another six million for the next two and I’ve seen some pretty handy cricketers in the Chance to Shine sessions I’ve been to across Warwickshire so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more soon.”

Wong’s first session took place at Bentley Heath School in Solihull while Bell’s involvement with the charity happened at Hungerford Primary School before years later they realized their England dreams.

After impressive displays in the recent multi-format series with South Africa, and in Wong’s case at the Commonwealth Games, the next focus for pace bowlers is the hundred.

The women’s competition was delayed by a week due to women’s cricket being involved in the Birmingham Games, but after Bell used the 2021 edition as a catalyst for international honors with 12 wickets, she is determined to help the Southern Brave improve on last year’s runner-up finish . .

“The build-up was big, but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how much it was really going to take off,” Bell said.

“The first game we had at Trent Bridge was full and it was the first time I played where I could feel that there was a big crowd, with lots of people watching.

It was fantastic and especially when we played at home at the Ageas Bowl, I felt the fans made a difference.

“It was honestly so much fun. The competition was fantastic and of course we would have liked to have gone one step further, but it was such a fun experience and I think this year will only get better because the pedigree of the players has improved.

“It will be tough competition, but yes, hopefully we can go one step further!”

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