MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Treasure County Championship and Glamorgan skipper
Updated 4:04pm Tuesday 15th April 2014 in Sport
YOU might be forgiven for thinking that cricket in England and Wales is something of a sore subject at the moment.
England are in disarray on the field, losing the Ashes 5-0, stinking out the T20 World Cup with an ignominious defeat to Holland the final kick to the nether regions in a horrible few months.
The popular with the public, seemingly loathed by the establishment maverick Kevin Pietersen is banished to the wilderness and in an act of sheer audacity from the ECB, seemingly absolutely impervious to the notion of appearing wildly arrogant and clandestine, they've decided no-one deserves to know why.
They still don't have a coach, other than the soon to be anointed Ashley Giles, but the King of Spain is the ultimate corporate choice, a clean cut Gareth Southgate presence who ticks boxes but probably doesn't inspire.
You might think that cricket is a sore subject. But you'd be wrong. Because glory be, the LV=County Championship is back and Glamorgan are flying.
If there is a better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon on if you tend to work weekends like me, a random Tuesday, sitting in the sunshine, or even the gloom, watching Glamorgan, then I've yet to find it in Cardiff.
County cricket remains the lifeblood of the national set-up and I'd like to pay a small tribute to Glamorgan's outstanding captain, Mark Wallace.
The Abergavenny product, who will follow in the footsteps of Argus scribe Chris Kirwan and become a rugby and cricket journalist when he hangs up his gloves, if he so chooses, has enjoyed a landmark week in a stellar county career.
A top class wicket keeper, and very decent batsman - alas, not quite international level good - Wallace has worked his way through the ranks at Glamorgan and has now added the description of progressive captain to his CV.
And that CV is stacking up recently. Wallace made his 200th successive County Championship appearance in the ten wicket opening day victory at the Oval, becoming the first player on the county beat to manage the feat since Middlesex's Clive Radley in 1976. He also claimed his 600th catch.
Wallace was the 30th person in championship cricket to hit the double-ton of appearances, and the first Glamorgan player since Haydn Davies in 1957. The wicket-keeper appeared in 282 consecutive championship matches from 1947.
Wallace was the fourth person to reach this milestone for Glamorgan following Emrys Davies who played in 216 consecutive games between 1931 and 1939.
The club record for consecutive appearances is held by Arnold Dyson, with the opening batsman playing in 305 successive games for the Welsh county between 1930 and 1947.
It might be asking too much to expect Wallace to get to 305, but what we can legitimately expect, I truly believe, is that he can preside over one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory for the Dragons.
Perhaps it's premature after only one win, but there is legitimate cause for optimism at Sophia Gardens.
The Swalec Stadium should be full of confidence with Graham Wagg and Michael Hogan a potent pair and openers Gareth Rees and Gwent's Will Bragg in nice touch.
Murray Goodwin is due a better campaign this time around, Jim Allenby is a huge player in county cricket and Jacques Rudolph, with 48 Test appearances for South Africa with six hundreds, 11 fifties, a top score of an unbeaten 222 and an average of nearly 36, arrives this week to begin a stint in Wales.
Glamorgan got to only a third ever Lords final last season in the Yorkshire Bank 40 and it's encouraging to think that after what has largely been a disappointing decade for the county, they could be set for big things.
Matthew Mott has set a good vision for Glamorgan in the past couple of years and fingers crossed, Toby Radford can continue that with the county starting the season with a clear spring in their step.
It would be fantastic if the county can achieve promotion this season or alternatively, land some silverware.
It would be a career high moment for their skipper and would further secure his legacy as a treasure of the county game.
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