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Optimistic Wallace excited for 2014

By Matthew Sherry

Skipper Mark Wallace believes Glamorgan are a side on the up.

The county overcame the odds this year to reach Yorkshire Bank 40 final, in which they were beaten by a strong Notts Outlaws.

If that meant Glamorgan’s season ended in disappointment, there has also been good news on and off the field. As well as Hugh Morris relinquishing his role with as Managing Director - England Cricket to become Glamorgan's chief executive, former South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph has been a high-profile addition.

The latter’s signature for the next two campaigns, in particular, is sure to add to their chances in the LV= County Championship, which Wallace maintains takes on the most importance.

"Jacques’ record in this country is outstanding," Wallace, who has just signed a new contract, told ecb.co.uk. "He is a ready-made player with the right experience.

"He will be able to come in and have a real effect on us. And a new guy coming in like that can just give you something extra.

"Hopefully he will be able to do that and get us to trophies rather than just the final. We are all really excited about next season."

Glamorgan can only hope that Rudolph is able to have the same impact as this season's high-profile recruit Murray Goodwin.

The Zimbabwean ended his long association with Sussex to move to the SWALEC Stadium and rolled back the years, striking 1,263 championship runs.

"One of the big things that attracted us to Murray, other than just his ability, was that he had been playing in such a successful Sussex side for 10 or so years," he said.

"He had been playing for a side that was used to winning and playing good cricket. That is something we had lacked.

"It was not necessarily the ability to win games but more that little thing to get you over the line. He came from a different culture and him bringing that in was great.

"He had a big influence on our meetings and was as major an influence off the field as he was on it."

While Glamorgan might have anticipated such returns from Goodwin, the performances of paceman Michael Hogan exceeded expectations.

He claimed 67 Division Two wickets at a superb average of just 20.53 and took 100 wickets across all competitions despite being an unknown quantity when the campaign began.

"It was a revelation to have him come in," enthused Wallace. "He has just signed a new long-term contract, as has Jim Allenby (another who enjoyed a fine year).

"We lost James Harris in the winter. It was disappointing to see a homegrown young lad leave but Michael has come in and led the attack superbly across all forms.

"I don't think too many people had him on their radar at the start of the year but I am sure there are plenty that will at the start of next season."

The beginning of the next campaign, too, will herald Wallace's attempt to play his 200th consecutive championship match, a feat that would be all the more remarkable given he is a wicketkeeper.

"I think it is just luck to be honest," he modestly said. "I've played 199 consecutive championship games and I've played a lot of one-day games in a row as well. But it's just luck."

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