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Batsman Geoff Roper gives himself out, aged 60

PUBLISHED: 16:04 05 September 2012

Geoff Roper is bowing out after scoring over 30 centuries in a 35-year career in Norfolk.

Geoff Roper is bowing out after scoring over 30 centuries in a 35-year career in Norfolk.

Archant © 2009

Hardy annual Geoff Roper has counted himself out after a marathon innings spanning 38 years.

The top-order batsman has been the scourge of many bowlers with his rock-like presence at the crease and his ability to compile big scores.

But the man with over 30 centuries under his belt has decided to bow out at the age of 60.

“The old knees are getting a bit rusty and I thought I would call it a day. I was 60 in August and I just felt I was getting to be a bit of a liability in the field. I still fancied myself with the bat for 20 or 30 but after that I was getting a bit tired,” said Geoff, who confirmed his decision at the end of the Norfolk Alliance Division Four campaign with Winterton.

“I shall always love cricket but you have to be sensible about it. It’s been a good crack and I’ve met a lot of nice people and made some good friends but at the level I was playing at I just wasn’t pulling my weight in the field and it was not fair on the bowlers or the team.”

Over the years, schoolteacher Roper has been one of the best known and most respected batsmen in the Yarmouth area.

He began playing for Yare in 1974, then had six seasons with Acle, reaching the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division and appearing in a Carter Cup semi-final. He captained Great Yarmouth Gorleston and Martham CC where he had six seasons before joining Winterton in 2000, helping them to win the Norfolk League Division One championship before their move into the Norfolk Alliance. After winning Division Five last season they finished mid-table in Division Four this term. “They have got ambitions to win Division Four and really they should be looking for someone younger than me,” said Geoff, who will continue in his role as club chairman and also hopes to turn out for Norfolk Over 60s as and when required.

Geoff, who once scored a double hundred in a game against Belton, estimates that he scored over 30 centuries during his career.

“I don’t really keep any records, so I can’t say exactly. I used to pride myself on getting at least one century a season,” he said.

Geoff’s son’s Tom and Jack are likely to keep the Roper name on club scoresheets when available.

He thanked his wife Gerry for her support. “I suppose I’ll be getting under my wife’s feet a bit more now. I might miss playing next season but you have got to be realistic and know when to take a backseat. I am looking forward to taking a deckchair down to the ground and hollering from the sidelines.”

• BUNGAY ARE SO BUBBLY

Free-scoring batsman Tom York may have been foiled in his bid to break the Norfolk Alliance individual run-scoring record but he still had plenty to celebrate as Bungay won Division Four in style.

Spurred on by a bet with captain Chris Fuller, York scored over 1100 runs, falling short of Carl Rogers’ 1437 all-time best milestone.

Bungay won the title by a massive 68 points after they beat Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers A by 109 runs.

It was Bungay’s 12th win in 16 completed matches out of 18 scheduled. This season George Mattocks enjoyed a haul of over 30 wickets.

Will Lewis contributed some decent scores and Mark Elden weighed in with runs and wickets.

Matthew Haines, bowling slow off-spin claimed vital wickets to help gain maximum points.

• RARE TON BRINGS A BONUS FOR CRAWLEY

Dan Crawley’s s first century in six years helped him to win the Lucas Fettes Norfolk League Player of the Month award for July.

In three innings for Winterton Dan amassed 184 runs at an average of 92.00, including 109 against Cringleford Lodge A and 79 not out against a previously unbeaten Hardingham A.

Dan said: “I am very pleased to win the Norfolk Cricket League player of the month and would like to thank all at Winterton CC for their help this season as well as Lucas Fettes & Partners for their kind sponsorship. My form this season has been very pleasing and it was nice to get a ton for the first time since 2006 to get that monkey off my back!”

Presenting the award on behalf of the sponsors, Gary Knights said: “In a season that has been so adversely affected by the weather it is very pleasing to see the award for July going to a batsman.

“So many wickets have been ‘bowler friendly’ this year due to the heavy rainfall so it is testimony to Dan’s skills that he has won this award.”

Other notable candidates were: Ankit Shah of Felthorpe A (D5): 33-11-55-9 including 12-7-8-3 against Colney; Jimmy Wright, Cringleford Lodge (D1): 158 runs at an average of 79.00, including a high score of 71 not out.

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