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Full name William Nichols Roe
Born March 21, 1861, Closworth, Somerset
Died October 11, 1937, Marylebone, London (aged 76 years 204 days)
Major teams Cambridge University, Somerset
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium, Right-arm offbreak
ROE, MR. WILLIAM NICHOLS, died in a London nursing home after an operation on October 11. A very well-known figure in the world of cricket from the time that he played with great success for the Clergy Orphan School, Canterbury, until last summer, when at the age of 76 he regularly attended Lord's and The Oval, W. N. Roe maintained his close connexion with the game unbroken.
For his school in 1878 he scored 1,095 runs, including four 100's, with an average of 57. Next year he took all ten Chartham Asylum wickets for 16 runs, and in three seasons for the school 292 wickets fell to him at 8 runs each. Going to Magdalene College, Cambridge, he received his Blue in 1883 from C. T. Studd, but, though on the winning side, he did not get a run and the Oxford wickets were shared by his captain and C. Aubrey Smith. He was famous already for the highest score then on record, having made 415 not out when, on invitation, he completed the Emmanuel Long Vacation Club Eleven in a game against Caius Long Vacation Club in 1881.W.N. Roe got these runs out of 708 for four wickets in five hours. This was in reply to a score of 100 and Caius gave up the match rather than continue on the third day. So close was his concentration on the game that he counted all his runs and on this occasion he challenged the scorer with having given him one less than his total!
He played for Somerset in 1879 before leaving school, and his first experience of county cricket was being bowled by W. G. Grace, as he said, neck and crop. He followed E. Sainsbury as captain of Somerset in 1889 and played intermittently for the county of his birth until 1899, his highest score being 132 against Hampshire at Bath in 1884. He also made hundreds against Devon, Middlesex, Sussex, and Surrey, all at Taunton.
Always ready to talk cricket, W. N. Roe told how when playing for Cambridge at Old Trafford it was so cold that the fieldsmen could not hold catches. Nash, the Lancashire professional, was missed off every ball of an over from R. C. Ramsay. C. T. Studd bowled the next ball, and a catch came to me at mid-off, the crowd began to boo, and I felt certain I should not make the catch, but by great good fortune the ball stuck!
A stylish batsman with excellent defence, and a resolute hitter all round the wicket, he bowled medium pace and was a safe fieldsman, usually in the deep. W. N. Roe was a master at Elstree School from 1883 to 1900, and helped to make Elstree Masters famous in club cricket. These traditions were maintained when he went with the Rev. Vernon Royle to Stanmore Park School.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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