Young cricket leader wins two community cricket awards
A Hampshire Cricket Board (HCB) young leader from Southampton has picked up two prestigious awards for service to cricket.
Sara Yasin was presented with the Game Changer Award at the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) Cricket Collective Awards this year and was recently awarded the ECB Young Coach of the Year for Hampshire.
The 17-year-old was recognised for her efforts in the community to drive participation and engagement in cricket locally and nationally.
Sara, from Bitterne Park, Southampton, initially got into cricket through our Wicketz programme in Southampton, run by the HCB team operating out of The Ageas Bowl, but has since gone on to coach, score, officiate and drive positive change particularly for young women in the sport.
Wicketz is funded by the charity and delivered locally by the Hampshire Cricket Board, the recreational arm of Hampshire Cricket. Wicketz is aimed at young people aged between eight and nineteen who live in urban areas where participation in the sport is traditionally low. It provides free year-round weekly cricket sessions run by qualified coaches who also deliver regular workshops which help participants learn important life skills.
The Southampton Wicketz programme has engaged a wide variety of young people across its city centre hubs with Sara becoming one of the first regularly engaged females and is now paving the way for other girls and members of the Muslim community in and around Southampton to experience the benefits of cricket.
In less than three years of being involved in the programme, Sara has demonstrated determination to develop within the sport and enhance her skillsets and opportunities. She has taken every opportunity to come her way and is the first Southampton Wicketz participant to hold an ECB Core Coach qualification as well as an ECBACO Stage Two umpire. This has allowed her to coach in communities and on talent pathways across Southampton, now coaching herself on the Wicketz and Southampton MCC Foundation Hub programmes.
Sara has also made an impact at Peter Symonds College, where she studies, by single-handedly starting a girl’s cricket session which she set up and now delivers.
As well as her coaching, Sara sits on youth advisory boards for Hampshire Cricket Board, Take Her Lead and Chance to Shine. She has also gained further umpiring, scoring and coaching qualifications by enrolling on the HCB Girls’ Champions programme.
Sara has been involved with delivering the HCB’s women and girls’ programme over the two years. Sara played for the Hampshire Select XI in the annual fixture against the England VI Women squad in 2022 and 2023, captaining in 2023. She has also supported development programmes and women’s and girl’s festivals and in 2023 was part of the umpiring team for the first ever women’s Hampshire Slam Finals at The Ageas Bowl.
Sara Yasin said: “Wicketz gives me opportunities and role models that I would not have had otherwise. I’ve met lots of people and made friends I wouldn’t have made. Having that across the country builds a really nice network of people who like cricket and we do things together, improve together and hopefully reach our dreams and goals.
“It has been incredible to be recognised for my achievements. I’m very grateful to the Wicketz programme for supporting me to develop as an individual. My award inspires me to continue to work hard in helping provide young people with opportunities in sport.”
The Southampton Wicketz programme was shortlisted for a national award for Youth Development in 2023. Sara nominated the programme, wanting to recognise its impact on her and other young people in the city.
Sam Moss, Urban Cricket Development Manager at The Ageas Bowl added: “Sara’s journey is a remarkable one. From a young girl who could have been lost to the game at 15, to now driving women and girls cricket nationally, she is a credit to the Southampton Wicketz programme. We are proud to support Sara in her development as a young person and will be following her journey in the game.
“Her involvement in Wicketz and cricket as a young Muslim woman makes her journey even more impressive, as she is not only progressing women and girls cricket locally and nationally, but is breaking down cultural barriers for women from faith groups to participate in sports in their local community. Recently, 38 women and girls, many from South Asian heritage took part in a Wicketz community engagement event in Southampton. This success wouldn’t have been achieved without Sara leading the way.”