Norfolk opener Rogers goes from strength to strength

Norfolk opener Carl Rogers puts his purple patch this season down to time in the middle after crafting a Minor Counties championship career-best knock in the opening drawn game at Northumberland.

The former county skipper made 173 in Norfolk's second innings at Jesmond earlier this week, but George Walker's side fell agonisingly short of claiming the hosts' final wicket as they chased a victory target of 355.

Rogers went into the game with two centuries in the East Anglian Premier League already this season for Great Witchingham – but the 40-year-old right-hander downplays any suggestion his scintillating form is linked to relinquishing the county captaincy.

'To be honest, I haven't really given that too much thought,' he said. 'I enjoyed being captain but I just felt it was perhaps time that someone else had a go.

'I suppose you could look at it and say I haven't had the pressure of captaincy when I have gone out to bat but my form just hasn't been for the county, but for my club as well, so I don't think that has made that much difference.

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'The wickets have been good. I think that is the main thing. Normally during the first six weeks or so of the season you are playing on wet, greenish pitches. We've had a lot of dry weather so the pitches have been good.

'You are playing every week, you don't miss games and it's easier to get yourself into form. In other years, you can have a couple of games rained off and you don't play for a fortnight but this season there has been a lot of continuity.'

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Rogers paid tribute to Norfolk's top and middle order for helping him eclipse his county three-day best.

'I think my previous highest was 151,' he said. 'It was just one of those games when it was set up for me really. I was 57 not out overnight so for the first part of the morning session it was really about just staying in.

'Then we got ourselves into a position where we had to score quickly, the wicket got very flat and it worked out quite nicely for me.

'It was just a shame that we couldn't go on and get a win. Whenever you are trying to get a big score you need partnerships, without a doubt, especially in the three-day game.

'Wardy (Trevor Ward) got a 50 and Matthew Warnes played very well and you do need that to get yourselves far enough ahead to try and win games.'

Northumberland's final wicket pair survived five testing overs to scupper Norfolk's bid for a maiden Minor Counties win of the season.

'Like I say, the wicket got very flat and they started very well and at one stage it looked like we had our backs against the wall,' said Rogers. 'With them chasing a big score we knew if we could get just a couple of key wickets we'd be in the game and luckily enough we did.

'I thought Browny (Chris Brown) and the spinners bowled really well in that second innings and we managed to build enough pressure to take wickets and probably in the end we should have really bowled them out. I thought as a unit we bowled as well as we had done for two or three years – especially in the first innings when there was a bit in the wicket and Michael Eccles bowled as well as anybody over the whole three days. Then when the wicket calmed down in the second innings our three spinners really tightened the screw.'

Rogers believes Norfolk can now take plenty of momentum into their next Minor Counties Championship game away to Hertfordshire on July 10-12 before the Horsford Festival begins against Cumberland on July 24..

'Several people managed to spend time at the wicket which was good,' he said. 'The bowling was as good as it has been for a couple of years as well, so that is all a confidence booster going into the next game.

'We can't look too far ahead because the pitch at Hertfordshire might be different to Jesmond, although it's usually flat, and we might get some bad weather in between.'

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