Two more milestones but team comes first – Rogers
Carl Rogers has achieved two more magnificent milestones during the best season of his lengthy career – but he insists that doing his utmost for the team rather than compiling records for himself is all that matters.
The veteran opener, who in August joined the elite trio with 10,000 Minor Counties Championship runs for Norfolk, rounded off his golden summer by becoming the first non-overseas player to score more than 1,000 EAPL runs during a season.
But the distinguished veteran, who at 40 seems to be improving with age like a fine wine, insists that there is no I in teamwork.
'Obviously to get to 1,000 runs is nice but it's the match on the day that comes first.You have to play it relative to how the game is progressing. I never make any targets at the start of the season, it's a team game and you have to play it accordingly,' he said.
Rogers is especially delighted to have played his part in helping his boyhood club, Great Witchingham, to achieve second place in their best season since joining the EAPL in 2007.
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'We are all chuffed. Although I scored 1,000 runs, Sam Arthurton scored 859 and captain James Spelman 656 and our overseas player, Ryan McCone, took 54 wickets. We have been very much reliant on the same 11 or 12 players so it feels like a real team effort'.
The New Zealand paceman won't be figuring next season as he is off to study for a law degree, but he has agreed to help in the search for a replacement. Getting the right man will be key if the Witches are to challenge for the title next term.
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'It's an important decision and you never really know how they will perform until the season starts,' said Rogers, who aims to keep doing his bit for club and county as long as he can.
'I'll just play it by ear. There is no time limit. You learn more about the game as time goes on.'
He said he had been grateful for hard, batting-friendly pitches at the start of the season which helped him to build up momentum.
'If you get a few runs at the start it can set you up for the rest of the season. Maybe the bowling attacks aren't quite as good as they used to be as well. I would say it has probably been my best season,' said Rogers, who was delighted to join Michael Falcon and Stephen Plumb in the elite trio of Norfolk players with 10,000 Minor Counties Championship runs in the book.
Innings of 39 and 10 against Buckinghamshire at Slough last month took him to third place with 10,023 behind Plumb (10,067) and Michael Falcon (11,538).
'It was great to get there but I have just been trying to support the new captain, George Walker, as much as I can,' said Rogers, who made his county debut against Cumberland at Barrow in 1990 – and took his tally to 19 centuries with two this season, his first since handing over the captaincy to Walker. Rogers' achievements come despite a worrying time which saw cricket pale into insignificance after his daughter Olivia, 14, sustained serious head injuries in a horse riding accident in August. But when her condition improved, he was able to return to action and it has been pretty much service as normal since – culminating in Saturday's history-making 56, which saw him join Cambridge and Godmanchester's South African former overseas player, Steven Pope, as the only player with 1,000 league runs in a season under his belt. Pope made 1,353 runs in 2002.
Rogers admitted that cricket was the last thing on his mind after his daughter's accident, caused when her horse collapsed and fell on her.
'She is doing well now. She is back at school and hopefully everything will be fine. She is still quite tired at times but we are hoping that everything will be back to normal,' he said.
Although 2011 will go down as a vintage season for Rogers, it has also been a memorable year for his son William, 12, who scored a century for Norfolk Under-12s against Suffolk and picked up the Norfolk League's July young player of the month award for performances with Witchingham's third team. As to whether Rogers junior will prove to be a chip off the old block, only time will tell.
'I don't put pressure on him. I know what it's like, it's a big learning curve. I practise with him quite a lot and give him some coaching. Hopefully he will make more progress over the winter.'