J. H. Rogers, England 1890-91

A splendid occasion occurred in December 2006 at a match against Cornish Pirates. Roger Burman, CBE, the grandson of J. H. Rogers, the first Moseley player to win an international cap while playing for the Club, presented caps won by his grandfather and his father, Stephen Burman (later, Sir Stephen Burman), who also played for Moseley and won North Midlands caps in 1928.

Roger, a former Director and Chairman of the NEC (1984-2005) was entertained by Moseley President, Derek Nutt, with Moseley historian Peter Woodroofe keeping a keen eye on proceedings.

J. H. Rogers, England 1890-91

John Rogers played for Bromsgrove, Woodstock, the Barbarians, Midlands Counties and Moseley, and while at Moseley won four international caps playing in all three internationals in 1890 and one in 1891. He was the first Moseley player to win an international cap while playing for the Club.

Rogers was a forward described as ‘strong, sturdy and vigorous in the thick of the fight’ but was criticised by one historian as ‘(he) often mars his play by coming blundering through without the ball.’ However, he was good enough to captain England Counties, and Moseley for three seasons 1890-1892, succeeding the legendary Albert Smith who captained Moseley for the previous ten seasons.

Rogers played in Moseley’s 6-4 victory against the New Zealand Native Football Team, ‘The Maoris’, in 1888 and in the Midland Counties side that lost both games against the ‘Maoris’. He was also in the Moseley side that were party-poopers at Cardiff in 1886, which spoilt Cardiff’s celebrations by ending the Welsh side’s unbeaten season in the last game. Cardiff had prepared gold medals engraved with the word ‘Invincible’ to be presented to each Cardiff player commemorating an unbeaten season. Rogers figured in an ‘incident’ against Leicester during his captaincy in 1891. The branches of a tree overhung the field of play at The Reddings and according to the local ground rules ‘the ball upon hitting the tree will become dead.’

However, against Leicester he kicked the ball into the tree. The Tigers stopped playing and R. H. B. Cattell, another Moseley international, picked the ball up and scored a try.

Leicester appealed, but it turned out that the Moseley captain (Rogers) had not informed the referee of the rule. Leicester refused to play for some time, but the score stood.

Rogers captained the Midlands Counties on several occasions before and after the County Championship started in 1889. That led to him playing for England 1889-1890, only the second player from the Midland Counties Union to be selected for England. This was before the northern clubs broke away to form the Northern Union in 1893. His selection was particularly noteworthy as more than half the England team was from northern clubs. In his first international, England lost to Wales 0-1 (one try) at Dewsbury, but he kept his place to figure in England’s win over Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh and Ireland at Blackheath. His last game for England was in the following season, a loss against Scotland at Blackheath.

Rogers also played for the Barbarians, which was founded in 1890 by W. P. Carpmael and his friends on April 9. Prior to that, scratch teams captained by Carpmael played four games, including against Moseley, which was drawn. The first AGM was held on October 1, 1890 with Carpmael elected as Hon secretary and W. N. Mayne, a Moseley player, as Assistant Secretary. John Rogers was elected on to the committee.

Both Mayne and Rogers played in the Barbarians’ inaugural match against Hartlepool Rovers on December 27 1890, although according to the programme, Rogers was selected among the backs. Typical of the Baa-Baas before the professional era!

John Rogers is a distinguished contributor to Moseley’s past glories and the Club is hugely grateful therefore to Roger Burman for the generous donation of these caps which adds to our illustrious heritage.

Thanks to Dean Burfoot and John Clayton for photo contributions



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