DOING the hard yards has paid off for Heytesbury Rebels batsman Simon Harkness.
The opener has wielded an impressive willow in a season that has seen 564 runs flow from his bat at the average of 51.27.
Harkness has also shown he can go on and get the big runs having scored two centuries in this, his golden summer.
This brilliant form is no fluke with Harkness having worked hard to give himself the best chance to succeed.
“This is the first time I have done a pre-season and got myself fit,” Harkness said.
“I did a lot of work on my own and also with the club — I had a couple of ordinary seasons and at 23 I thought it was at the make or break stage with my cricket.
“Having that extra fitness base means you don’t get as tired when you play long innings which means you are less likely to play a stupid shot.”
Harkness has been part of the Heytesbury Rebels since its formation three years ago.
He said enthusiasm was never an issue.
“We are all local blokes and that creates a fair bit of pride in the club,’’ he said. “When we are playing well there is a real buzz and it lifts everyone.”
The Rebels sense of enjoyment will be tested today against Noorat.
It is the second last round of the season and a must win game if the Rebels are to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Rebels currently sit in fifth place on the ladder, 12 points outside the top four.
Harkness said defeating third-placed Noorat would be difficult.
“They are very aggressive and I think in the past we have just tried to contain them so maybe we have to attack a bit more with the ball,’’ he said.
In other games, Bookaar is the favourite against Cobden, while third-placed Mortlake will need to upset top-of-the-ladder Pomborneit to strengthen its place in the upper echelon.
Terang and Boorcan will play on the turf wicket at Terang while Woorndoo hosts Simpson.