Obituary: Arthur Jepson
Friday 08 August 1997
He was of that generation of sporting professionals whose careers were severely interrupted by the Second World War. He joined Nottinghamshire, from a mining family, in 1938 and was capped the following season, the start of a 22-year career. After serving in the RAF he returned to Trent Bridge to form, with Harold Butler, the county's opening attack until 1959.
His best season came in the hot summer of 1947 when, despite the domination of the batsmen, he managed to take 115 wickets at an average of 27, an outstanding performance. When he retired from county cricket in 1959, after a brief captaincy in 1955, he had played 390 first-class matches in which he had been capable enough to score one first-class century.
Jepson was a doughty opponent with all-round skills that buttressed a Nottinghamshire team whose individual capabilities, for most of the early post-war years, were far superior to their teamwork. All goalkeepers are mad, goes the legend, but Jepson was saner than most and the hard-won experience he accumulated in two sports at four clubs was invaluable when he became an umpire, a classic instance of poacher turned gamekeeper.
He had a caustic sense of humour that could prove extremely disconcerting to young players who were meeting him for the first time. They soon learned to appreciate his impartiality in delivering his barbs.The brighter ones also realised that amid the sharp banter there was often a few pearls to be picked up as to the state of the pitch, an impending bowling change, whether cover point was left or right handed and the progress of the opposing captain's hangover.
His 24 years on the umpires' list also enabled him to act as elder statesman and counsel to a generation of whitecoats that succeeded him and "Jeppo" tales doubtless still circulate in the umpires' rooms. MCC marked his retirement from the first-class list in 1984 with the presentation of a grandfather clock, so it was both ironical and sad that in 1970 he had received a suspended sentence, a conviction he always hotly disputed, for receiving stolen goods in the Tavern. He was strongly supported, in his court appearance, by the Nottinghamshire club.
In later years he helped his son, a golf professional, manage a sports equipment shop near the family home at Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
In his last playing season, in 1959, he had the vicarious satisfaction of a brush with greatness. Keith Miller was employed by the Daily Express as a cricket writer, the Express treating his unscripted telephoned reports with the awe of an exclusive on the Sermon on the Mount.
Miller also played the odd invitation match which is how, regulations at the time permitting, he came to be batting for Nottinghamshire against Cambridge University. Miller arrived, characteristically, with no gear and was borrowing the pads of Reg Simpson, the Nottinghamshire captain, when Simpson pointed out that he was buckling them inside the leg instead of outside, English style.
An argument, between friends, ensued, Miller insisting that the Australian fashion was safer, there being less possibility of the ball's catching the buckle and sounding like a nick off the bat.
Jepson intervened: "Here, Keith, use my stuff and stick it on any way you like." The finale was predictable: Miller used Jepson's pads, gloves and bat and went on to score his only century for an English county.
Arthur Jepson, cricketer, cricket umpire and footballer: born Selston, Nottinghamshire 12 July 1915; married (one son, one daughter); died 17 July 1997.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
Cindy Crawford 'un-PhotoShopped' viral Marie Claire image was doctored, photographer claims
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...
£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...