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Full name Neville Hamilton Rogers
Born March 9, 1918, Cowley, Oxford
Died October 8, 2003, Southampton (aged 85 years 213 days)
Major teams Hampshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Neville Hamilton Rogers was, in many ways, an unlucky player. It is often said that had he played in a stronger batting line up he would surely have appeared in Test cricket. The nearest he came to a Test cap was when he was selected as 12th man against South Africa at The Oval in 1951.
For many years he literally was Hampshire's batting. He was technically correct against pace and spin alike but more often than not had to subjugate his attacking gifts in the interest of his side. Nevertheless, he remained a most accomplished stroke player.
War delayed his debut until 1946 but he announced his arrival with an innings of 90 against Worcestershire at Southampton, sharing a fifth-wicket stand of 209 with Jim Bailey. A century eluded him until the following year. He was dismissed four times in the 90's before he made 103 not out against Cambridge University at Portsmouth. Once overcoming that psychological barrier, two further hundreds quickly ensued. Neville Rogers reached 1000 runs for the first time in 1947; when he was capped, and went on to complete that milestone in every season until his retirement in 1955.
His best year was in 1952 when he made 2,244 runs (avge.40.80). In Hampshire County Cricket Desmond Eagar wrote "that he made only two hundreds and for the first part of the season had no satisfactory opening partner makes his performance even more praiseworthy. His consistency was admirable and in match after match he carried our batting." His immense contribution to Hampshire's batting in one of its direst periods is illustrated by the fact that he carried his bat for the County three times (five in all first-class cricket). In 1954, in a dismally wet summer and on a succession of difficult wickets, he performed the feat on a remarkable four occasions, a record bettered only once in the history of first-class cricket.
He also scored a century before lunch against the West Indians at Southampton in 1950. It was during this game that Roy Marshall first played in Hampshire. It was hoped that, when he had qualified in 1955, Marshall and Rogers would form a potent force. It was not to be. They only played together in that year, when Rogers unselfishly dropped down the order to allow the flamboyant West Indian to occupy his preferred spot at the top of the order. Though Hampshire achieved their then highest position in the Championship (3rd). Neville Rogers left the game to pursue a business career with his great friend Jim Bailey.
There is little doubt he had earned his rest. He played in 298 matches in all, scoring 16,056 runs (avge. 32.04) and 28 centuries - remarkable figures for one who came to the game late and who often played a lone hand. His highest score was 186 v. Gloucestershire at Portsmouth in 1951.
He later played for Deanery and, after some 20 years away from Hampshire cricket re-established contact via the Radio Solent commentary box, and supporting Jimmy Gray in his role as cricket chairman. He was a penetrating analyst of a batsman's technique. He was invariably accompanied by Jim Bailey on his strolls around the Northlands Road ground. Alan Edwards