Leading Norfolk batsman Carl Rogers is joining Swardeston to head their 2004 East Anglian Premier League campaign.
The all-rounder is leaving Norwich after 15 years and will be proposed as the new Swardeston 1 XI captain at the club’s annual meeting in November.
Rogers, 33 next month, said: “I have made a lot of good friends at Norwich and I wish them well for the future. But, I personally felt a little bit stale and decided I needed a change. I like the shape that Swardeston are in as a club and felt that a new challenge was a good opportunity for me. I am also looking forward to being a captain again.”
Rogers was Norwich’s leading run scorer with 740 runs at an average of 41 in this year’s EAPL, also taking about 25 wickets. This followed another good season in 2002 when he finished top of both Norwich’s EAPL batting and bowling averages.
“The ambition is certainly there at Swardeston, and they just need to get the players together to compete with Vauxhall Mallards,” added Rogers. “They’re the main team we have to try to beat, and Swardeston have plans in place which may enable us to challenge them next season.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing at Swardeston, which has a good wicket, and it seemed the right option to me.”
The prospect of a return to captaincy is also appealing, with Rogers explaining: “I was skipper at Ingham for four or five years and really enjoyed it. When you play on the same pitches and against the same people regularly, it’s nice to have something different, and the captaincy will give me that little bit of extra incentive going into games.”
Rogers featured in two Howes Percival Norfolk Alliance records for Ingham prior to their 1999 merger with Norwich Barleycorns to form Norwich CC.
He posted the highest aggregate score in a season of 1082 runs in 1993. And the following year he and Nick Foster produced an unbroken 306-run opening partnership at Old Buckenham.
Swardeston chairman Mark Taylor said: “We are thrilled to have a player of Carl’s ability and proven track record joining the club. The club is in very good heart as shown by the 2 XI winning the Howes Percival Norfolk Alliance premier division and the 3 XI gaining promotion from Division 3. Our three junior teams have also done very well – with the Under 13s winning the Alliance trophy – and our schools coaching programme goes from strength to strength.
“We know we underperformed in the EAPL this summer when we finished seventh and Carl’s arrival will be a huge boost for next season. We are delighted that Carl has recognised the ambitious development plan we have for the club and he wants to help progress the work we have been doing over the past four-to-five years.”
Rogers started his club cricket as a 16-year-old with Great Witchingham before playing at Horsford for two years. He then joined Ingham as an 18-year-old and had a four-to-five-year spell as Ingham skipper during the 1990s. Ingham merged with Norwich Barleycorns to form Norwich Cricket Club in 1999.
Rogers made his Norfolk debut against Cumberland in 1990 under the captaincy of David Thomas, now Swardeston’s Director of Coaching. Thomas and Rogers have remained firm friends since then and Rogers’ move will reunite them on the cricket pitch.