Mark Wallace became Glamorgan`s youngest ever wicket-keeper in Championship cricket when he made his first-class debut against Somerset at Taunton in 1999, at the tender age of 17 years and 287 days.
The left-handed batsman and wicket-keeper had made his debut for the county`s 2nd XI in 1997, and for the past few years has been the first choice behind the stumps in the England Under-19 side. Indeed, he won representative honours against Pakistan in 1998, New Zealand in 1998/99, and Australia in 1999, besides appearing in the 1999/2000 Youth World Cup in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
He has impressed many good judges with his deft glovework and sound batting. Indeed, the Crickhowell schoolboy has already a Championship half-century to his credit, as well as 101* against the Yorkshire 2nd XI at Pontardulais in 1999.
After completing his A-level studies, Wallace was appointed in July 2000 as the captain of the England U-19 side for their three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. A hand injury forced him to stand down as leader, but he was fit enough to take his place behind the stumps for Glamorgan in the closing stages of the season when Adrian Shaw was sidelined with injury.
The winter of 2000/01 saw Wallace in action once again with the England U-19 team, this time in India, and in 2001 he became Glamorgan`s regular 1st XI wicket-keeper. He then spent the winter of 2001/02 with the ECB Academy in Australia, and led the Academy side in several matches.
In 2002 Mark made his maiden first-class century with a composed hundred against Derbyshire in Glamorgan`s opening Championship match of the summer. He finished the summer with 61 dismissals, and was a member of the Glamorgan side that won the Norwich Union League title. His outstanding promise was recognised with selection for the ECB Academy in Australia in 2002/03, as well being Glamorgan`s Young Player of the Year for 2002.
For the past couple of summers, he has continued to mix his wicket-keeping duties with being Glamorgan`s opening batsman in Championship matches, and his century against Derbyshire in 2004 at Cardiff meant that mark has scored more hundreds for Glamorgan than any other wicket-keeper.
His alert glovework and deft catching behind the stumps helped Glamorgan to the totesport title in 2004, and a place in Division One of the County Championship as the Welsh county won promotion.
(Article: Copyright © 2002 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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