By Alesha Capone
United Tarneit Sports Club has grown in leaps and bounds since being established nine years ago and is continuing to bring players from diverse backgrounds together to enjoy cricket.
The UTSC is affiliated to Cricket Victoria under the Western Suburbs Churches & Community Cricket Association, Mid Year Cricket Association (MYCA) and Western Region Junior Cricket Association (WRJCA) for young players.
President and founding member Devan Ranaweera said that in May 2012, when the UTSC started out as a group of friends playing cricket together, they struggled to put together one team.
But the next year they grew to three teams, and last year the club boasted 10 teams – four senior sides and six junior sides.
“We are very multicultural, we have players from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia, which was the aim of our name – as United Tarneit Sports Club, we want to unite people from all cultures – and we have had a lot of success in that way,” Ranaweera said.
“On any given day on a Saturday, there are more than 120 people representing the club in some way – whether it is playing, volunteering or helping the kids.
“We are going from strength to strength.”
Two UTSC players, Indika Massalage and Rajitha Mendis, have been selected to play for MYCA state team this year.
Last month, two junior players, Seth and Barghav, received WRJCA awards.
Ranaweera said Wyndham council has also provided UTSC with “a great facility” on Wootten Road. “Council have been great and the whole recreational team have been great,” he said.
Ranaweera said UTSC has a good relationship with Tarneit Titans Football Club, with whom they share the Wootten Road facility.
He said UTSC hopes to in the future play turf cricket and have more professional training, including for junior players.
“One day, you never know, perhaps one of our juniors will play high-level cricket,” he said.
Ranaweera is one of the club’s committee members including vice presidents Jag Mangat and Gary Bandara, secretary Chathura Chandrasena, treasurer Pradeep Jayasunghe, junior cricket administrator Suman Adirala, Dr Sarath Abeywardena, Chathura Sendanayake, Yasasa Weerasinghe, Udara Kodithuwakkuand Indrajith Ranaweera.