William Eyton Roller
February 01, 1858, Clapham Common, London
August 27, 1949, Bayswater, London, (aged 91y 207d)
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
William Roller, vice president of the Club, who played for Surrey in their great days of the eighties when they won the Championship six years running, died at his London home on August 27, at the age of 91. He was one of the finest all-round cricketers who, going to Cambridge, was never tried for the University. A high-class batsman, free in method and having many strokes at his command, he also possessed considerable skill as a medium pace bowler with a high delivery. Born at Clapham on February 1, 1858, he was educated at Westminster and in that eleven in 1873 had the only double figure average.
Over six feet high and weighing nearly thirteen stone, he first appeared for Surrey in 1881, but although he was seen in his county's ranks in 1890, his really active career, owing to injuries and impaired health, did not extend beyond seven seasons. He established himself as a class player on the occasion of Surrey's match with Lancashire at The Oval in 1883. The Lancashire bowlers included Briggs, Crossland, Barlow, Watson and Nash, and Surrey--set 234 to make to win--lost seven wickets for 122. The game looked as good as over, but on K. J. Key--afterwards Surrey's captain--joining Roller, 56 of the 112 runs then required were obtained overnight and the remaining 56 next morning. The performance of the two young batsmen stood out as one of the best of the season. Against Sussex at The Oval in 1885 he scored 204 and did the hat-trick and in the return encounter at Brighton he made 144. In 1887 at Old Trafford, when Surrey put together a total of 557, Roller made 120 and W. W. Read 247, the two batsmen sharing in a third wicket partnership of 305. Altogether he scored 3,822 runs for the county with an average of nearly 22 and took 188 wickets for 19 runs each. Roller assisted the Gentlemen against Players twice at Lord's and once at The Oval and in 1885 and 1886 toured the United States and Canada with E. J. Sanders' team, acting as captain of the side in the latter year. In addition to his ability as a cricketer he was a fine swimmer and Association football player. Surrey members and visitors to the pavilion at The Oval will remember him by the striking portrait which hangs in the Long Room of him going out to bat.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Debut/Last Matches - Player