Glamorgan's Gareth Rees aims for more success at St Helen's
CRICKETERS are often a superstitious breed, and Gareth Rees might feel like this could be his lucky week.
Glamorgan begin their LV = County Championship Division Two clash against Leicestershire at St Helen's tomorrow, the first instalment of the county's Swansea Cricket Festival double-header.
The annual event has proved to be popular among the area's cricket supporters and, for players as relatively local as Llanelli's Rees, it is a chance to impress a crowd closer to home than usual.
What might make St Helen more appealing for Rees, however, is his batting record at the ground.
The 28-year-old scored his maiden first-class century for Glamorgan in Swansea, a determined six-hour knock against Essex in 2007.
He also struck a run-a-ball 90 in a one-day encounter with Nottinghamshire at Swansea two years ago.
The two innings were an indication of how Rees can switch from obdurate four-day mode to a freer style in the shortened formats, and he has done so this summer too.
Having been frozen out of the side at the beginning of the season, Rees marked his return with a gutsy 271-ball knock of 112 against Hampshire last month.
If that innings was built on patience and prudence, his 83 in Sunday's narrow Yorkshire Bank40 defeat to Gloucestershire was an altogether swifter affair.
"It would've meant a lot more if we'd won the game," Rees says.
"I've always had belief in my own ability, and hopefully I can make some contributions to more wins between now and the end of the season.
"People talk about proving a point, but I'm not sure if that was the case for me — I just wanted to make a lot of runs."
It is a simple mantra, and one that has served Rees well so far this summer.
The opener averages 57.83 in the County Championship this season and, although Glamorgan's hopes of promotion from division two are all but gone, there will be no shortage of incentives against Leicestershire.
"Promotion is probably just out of our limits but a strong finish can turn around your fortunes for the next season," Rees adds.
"A lot of our results have been touch and go this year. We've played well at times but just not quite got over the line.
"There's definitely been progress from last year, in all forms of the game.
"Hopefully we can kick on and end this season on a high."
While the four-day game has been a little disappointing this year, Glamorgan have thrived in the YB40 and victory against Leicestershire on Sunday could be a significant boost to their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
"It's been a few years since Glamorgan had games of real meaning towards the back end of a competition," says Rees.
"We were very disappointed to lose against Gloucestershire. If we'd won that, we would have been in a really strong position.
"But we've still got our fate in our own hands and, if anyone would have offered us this situation at the start of the season, we would have taken it."
If Glamorgan are to qualify for the last four, they'll need all the support they can get — and Rees is sure there will be plenty in Swansea.
"All the Glamorgan players look forward to the week at Swansea but, as someone from that part of the world, it's particularly special for me," he says.
"The support in the west is great, so we always look forward to playing there."
Meanwhile, Ammanford spinner Andrew Salter has been included in Glamorgan's 13-man squad for their four-day match against Leicestershire.
Glamorgan: (from) G. Rees, W. Bragg, M. Goodwin, M. North, C. Cooke, J. Allenby, M. Wallace, G. Wagg, J. Glover, A. Salter, D. Cosker, M. Hogan, M. Reed.