Bay of Plenty Cricket women's development officer Rebecca Yee's efforts have been recognised twice in three years at the New Zealand Cricket Awards, but you get the feeling it is not individual accolades which give her the biggest thrill.

Speaking to Yee about cricket, and in particular girls being given the opportunity to play cricket, her passion for the sport is immediately obvious.

Her father was a cricketer and growing up in Auckland she started playing as an 8-year-old and fell in love with the game. Now, age 27, she is determined to help others enjoy similar experiences.

Late last year she was named the NZC Community Cricket's Cricket Development Officer of the Year, this on the back of winning Best Female Engagement Programme for the GoGirl programme which she has led with spectacular success in the Bay of Plenty.


Yee would receive her award at a function later this year.

"It felt really good [to be recognised]. Cricket has been part of my life for a long time and I love working with kids - passing on all my cricket knowledge and getting girls particularly to enjoy the sport of cricket, that's why I do it."

Yee has played a huge part in the revitalisation of the girls' and women's game since first being employed by the Bay of Plenty Cricket Association in the 2016 season.

"I think GoGirl gives the girls their own place to play cricket, it really gives them ownership of the game and they can leave all their anxiety about playing with the boys behind and just enjoy the game of cricket itself.

Bay of Plenty Cricket women's development officer Rebecca Yee works with 11-year-old Tauranga Primary School's Aahana Narang and others from the school as part of the GoGirl programme. Photo / File
Bay of Plenty Cricket women's development officer Rebecca Yee works with 11-year-old Tauranga Primary School's Aahana Narang and others from the school as part of the GoGirl programme. Photo / File

"It seems to work really well, the girls see it as a special thing that they can do - that's the main goal. Some girls do flourish playing with the boys, but most prefer playing with other girls."

She said the sport itself had not changed a lot since she was a child, but the number of girls playing had.

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"As we go on there are more and more girls playing, but it's still the same enjoyable game and girls get a lot of entertainment and good feelings out of it."

Her love for cricket was based on the team environment and strategic aspects.

"It requires a lot of intellects as well as physical capability, you have to really think about what you're doing. I used to captain a lot when I was a teenager and I enjoy the strategic side of it. It's just a great team game where you can play sport but hang out with your friends at the same time.

"We have quite a few big picture ideas for Bay of Cricket, particularly in the girls' sector. We'll continue to grow our Lakelands programme and also our junior premier league programmes in the Western Bay.

"Personally, I'm looking to continue developing my cricket administration skills and keep moving on the same path. Staying in the community and contributing to cricket in general."

Bay of Plenty Cricket pathways manager Tai Bridgman-Raison said Yee's efforts had produced "significant growth" in participation numbers in the Western Bay of Plenty and the programme was now being extended into Rotorua and Taupō.

"Rebecca's passion for what she does and her ability to develop strong relationships are two of her biggest strengths, she is a real people person.

"As players filter through the pathway, it is important we are able to offer development opportunities to those seeking to take their cricket to a higher level. Rebecca has grown our female representative programme to now include an off-season training programme and increased inter-district playing opportunities. Over time I expect we will see a number of players progressing to higher honours with Northern Districts and potentially New Zealand."