As the Diggers Rest township thrives with booming housing developments, Diggers Rest Bulla Village Cricket Club is reaping the benefits.

The Burras have seen an influx of players both at junior and senior level from people who have moved to the area. AVID Property Group, which is responsible for the Bloomdale development in Diggers Rest, is the club’s major sponsor and has played a big part in helping the club’s development in recent years.

More recently, one of the town’s newest resident’s Rasika Batepola has come on board as playing coach.

Batepola comes to the Burras after six seasons as player and coach with PEGS in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association. Previously he played 130-odd first class games in Sri Lanka and played 14 years of English minor county cricket. He also coached during his time in England.

A chance meeting between Burras all-rounder Lindon Dowsett and one of Batepola’s friends set the wheels in motion.

“My friend met Lindon while on a train,” Batepola said.

“Lindon told my friend that they were looking for an experienced coach for the club and then my friend told him about me. Within a week I met the president and committee and then put pen to paper after a couple of weeks.”

Batepola said the proximity of the club to his new home was what first attracted him to the role and the players and committee had been more than welcoming.

The new coach said he was keen to share his extensive cricket knowledge with the community. He said he brings a positive mind-set and tools to help handle important situations to help get wins.

“I’ve got so much to offer,” he said.

“Hopefully we can develop cricket in the area and produce a few top class cricketers.”

The club’s top side finished fifth in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup last season. Players started pre-season training last week and the club plans to add a couple more batsmen before the opening game.

In another plus for the Burras, they will look at fielding a girls’ side for the first time in 2017-18.