Where are they now? Graham Rose

It seems hard to believe but former Somerset all rounder Graham Rose spent 16 seasons at the Club.

He joined before the start of the 1987 campaign and departed at the end of 2002.

During that time Graham played in 244 First Class matches for the County in which he scored over 8600 runs at an average of 31.20. In 1997 he hit his career best 191 against Sussex at Taunton and topped 1000 runs for the only time. In addition he claimed 588 wickets at 29.83 runs a piece with a best of seven for 47 against Nottinghamshire at Taunton in 1996.

The all rounder also played in 280 List A games, scoring 4937 runs at an average of 24.32 and taking 298 wickets at 28.67.

Graham started his career at Middlesex but his first team chances were limited by the number of international players that the county could call upon, so he opted to join Somerset.

“I can still remember signing on the dotted line,” he said when we spoke to him earlier this week. “Then all too soon it was all over. The time just seemed to fly by. I was part of the brave new Somerset World after Ian Botham, Viv Richards and Joel Garner left under somewhat acrimonious circumstances. I came in 1987 when Brian Rose was in charge of the cricket for the first time, Peter Roebuck was captain and Tony Brown was the secretary.

“I was just an interested bystander in the whole affair, watching it all unfold and if that hadn’t have happened then I might not have ended up at Somerset.”

Graham explained how joining Somerset came about.

“During the previous summer Rose and Roebuck had come to see me and some other players, who were involved in a Second XI game.

“I also did a bit of fielding as a 12th man for Somerset that season when they were playing Middlesex at Lord’s. A bit later in the summer I was playing in an Under 25s game when Roebuck came to watch and spoke to me, which I thought was about thanking me for my help.

“However he told me that I should go and play for Somerset, which I thought was all very nice, but the reason I struggled to get into the Middlesex team was that they had five Test bowlers and a very strong team surrounding that. I queried why I would go to Somerset where England’s greatest all rounder was in residence.

“Roebuck thought for a moment and then said that things might be changing. Of course I had no idea what was going on because I was just a very green Second XI player. From that conversation, which was in June 1986, things moved on and I read about what was happening and it all dropped into place.

“My 16 years with Somerset were very happy years. My only disappointment was that I didn’t actually win anything. I played in five semi-finals and a final and lost, but such is life. We were close at times but didn’t sadly quite make it.

“I suppose the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy Final in 1999 against Gloucestershire at Lord’s would be one of the highlights of my time with Somerset, when sadly we were never quite up with it and always chasing.

“There are so many games that come to mind to be honest. Another one that sticks in my mind was one that we won up at Derby where we never did very well. We actually won the game after following on which hadn’t happened for many years in the Championship and possibly not ever before between the two counties.

“Somerset had a fairly youngish team I seem to remember and it was a great feeling to end up winning a match after following on. However, there are so many games from over the years that they almost all blur into one in the end.”

Graham scored a 36 ball century against Devon in the NatWest Trophy in 1990 at Torquay which included seven sixes.

“I don’t talk too much about that because First Class counties should beat a Minor County team every time. I don’t ever forget that we lost the Buckinghamshire in the same competition which was very bitter, so I always approached those games with trepidation.”

Graham retired in 2002, the year before T20 was introduced, so how would he have fancied the short format of the game?

“I would have had a go at it, of course I would, but I don’t think that I’m happy with the fact that it seems to be dominating cricket now and taking preference. I suppose I’m old fashioned but I think that the Championship is the best test of your skills. T20 is very exciting and is very innovative, but there does seem to be an endless diet of it and I much prefer the longer format.”

What is Graham up to now?

“I’m still working for Boeing Defence UK in Bristol and I don’t have any involvement at all with cricket now. I play golf occasionally but not as much as Id like.”

He added: “Playing cricket for Somerset was my life from a young age until I finished when I was 38. I gave it absolutely everything I had and it was the focal point of whatever I did during that period of my life.”

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's