AFTER a traumatic season saving Northwich Victoria from relegation from football's Nationwide Conference, Kris Rogers is unwinding by turning out for Chester Boughton Hall, writes John Buckley.
The goalkeeper was hurriedly recruited by Vics boss Steve Burr when a worried club could not afford any mistakes. Rogers rose to the occasion, turning in a series of high-quality performances.
Now, after a season of shot stopping, he is providing deliveries that he hopes will have broadly the same effect.
Rogers is a fast bowler with Chester Boughton Hall in the ECB Premiership or, just as often, with the 2nd XI.
'I love cricket, it is my way of unwinding and enjoying myself. There can be a lot of pressure in the 1st team but for me it is a recreational game. There is a more relaxed atmosphere in the 2nds.
'It is a way of keeping fit. Nine fast overs certainly makes you sweat a lot!
'I am a full-time footballer so I am otherwise occupied at the beginning and end of the cricket season and my first-team appearances are on and off,' he said.
It did not take Rogers too long get his eye in, taking 6-18 in a 2nds game. It was one of his best returns, ranking alongside his first-team best 4-32 against Nantwich in the Premiership two years ago. He played in the County League's first twenty-20 match against Oulton Park and believes Boughton Hall's young side could have a say in the championship itself.
Rogers lives at Chester but it was rivals Wrexham who enlisted his goalkeeping talent as a youngster. He went on to play for England Schoolboys.
He came through their youth set-up to make 50 Football League appearances with Wrexham before his chances became limited and he moved on a free to Sheffield United.
The move wasn't the happiest and he was overlooked by manager Neil Warnock.
'I was thinking of packing in,' Rogers said.
Two months on loan at Macclesfield and a drop into non-league with Conference North outfit Worksop kept his love of football alive, however.
Then came the move to Vics in March and his ambitions are refreshed.
'Andy Dibble at Wrexham recommended me to Vics and I am enjoying football again. Said Rogers
'Of course I want to get back into the League and if I can do it with Northwich, so much the better.
'There are good people there and it is a friendly club. We won five of our last seven games and if you add back on the 10 points we had deducted we were really a mid-table team and the form team in the last few weeks.
'We won't struggle next season. Vics and Boughton Hall for the titles - the perfect double!'