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Star bat rues missed chance

PUBLISHED: 09:36 16 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

KEITH PEEL

Carl Rogers is a batsman noted for his splendid timing. But the 35-year-old Norfolk opener believes bad timing may have cost him the chance of playing first-class cricket.

KEITH PEEL

Carl Rogers is a batsman noted for his splendid timing. But the 35-year-old Norfolk opener believes bad timing may have cost him the chance of playing first-class cricket.

Rogers thinks he could have achieved his dream if, earlier in his career, he had met Tim Boon, the former Leicestershire player who had three seasons with Norfolk en route to coaching England Under-19s and 17s, then becoming a key member of England's management team before returning to Grace Road this year as senior coach.

“I was 26 when Tim joined Norfolk,” explained Rogers, who was recently appointed the county team's vice-captain and a selector. “He had outstanding technique, I learned an awful lot from him and I just wish he had come along a few years earlier.

“Perhaps if I had been able to benefit from his advice and guidance when I was 16 or 17, I might just have made it over the line for playing first-class cricket.”

Rogers had trials with several counties between the ages of 16 and 23, a period which also saw him spend three years on the Lord's ground staff.

“I think my biggest chance came when I was 23," revealed Rogers, who is now playing his club cricket for Great Witchingham, to whom he has returned after spells with Horsford, Ingham (later Norwich CC) and Swardeston.

“Out of the blue, Essex invited me back after I'd had a good season for Norfolk. I played a few games, scored a few runs and thought they were going to sign me,” but unfortunately they changed their minds at the last minute.

Rogers, who made his debut in 1990, has since missed only three or four Norfolk matches, when away on trials.

He said: “I still get as excited as ever about playing for the county.

“I'm as keen as ever, I still work at my game as much as anybody and I still look forward to batting as much as anybody. I think that's what keeps me going.”

Remarkably, he has had only four opening partners, short stints with Quorn Handley, then coming towards the end of his career, Stephen Plumb and Boon being followed by an enduring alliance with Carl Amos.

“I think we complement each other well,” he said. “Carl attacks the ball a little bit more than me and we present bowlers with a left-hander, right-hander combination problem, which is always useful.”

Rogers scored 133 as Great Witchingham extended their Lovewell Blake Norfolk Alliance Premier Division lead last weekend with a winning draw against second-placed North Runcton. Witchingham go to Topcroft tomorrow, while Runcton entertain third-placed Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers.

Match of the day in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League is at Swardeston, where Mark Thomas and his third-placed team entertain Vauxhall Mallards, who are second in the table.

Fakenham take on Cambridge Granta at Highfield Lawn, Horsford play Clacton at Manor Park, Norwich meet Mildenhall at Ingham and Bury St Edmunds play Godmanchester at the Victory Ground.

Stan Biss Trophy semi-finals take centre stage on Sunday at 1pm, with Horsford playing Swardeston at Manor Park and Norwich & Coltishall Wanderers taking on Great Witchingham at Barton Turf.


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