Vallance William Crisp Jupp (27 March 1891 – 9 July 1960) was an amateur cricketer who played for Sussex and Northamptonshire. Jupp also played eight Test matches for England, and was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1928.
Born 27 March 1891 in Burgess Hill, Sussex, England, Jupp started his career in 1909 with Sussex, before moving to Northamptonshire in 1921 to take up the secretaryship of the club. This provided Jupp with an income and allowed him to retain his status as an “amateur” cricket player (he was paid to be club secretary, not to play cricket). After he qualified to play for Northamptonshire by residence, he assisted that county, and by 1927 was, in Wisden’s opinion, the best all-round amateur in first-class cricket at the time.
Jupp played regularly for Sussex after his first year with them, making such steady improvement that in 1914, with a highest innings of 217 not out, against Worcestershire at Worcester, he finished third in the batting figures, and had an average of over 36. In that season he scored over 1,500 runs and, with fifty-one wickets, headed the bowling. By this time it was obvious Sussex had discovered one of the most promising all-round players in the country. On the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Engineers in December 1914, and served in France, Salonika and Palestine where he transferred as a cadet to the Royal Air Force. Demobilised in July 1919, he played for Sussex as an amateur in the remaining matches of that season, and very quickly showed that over four years absence from cricket had not impaired his powers.
In 1921 he scored nearly 2,000 runs, heading the county batting with an average of over 47, and took 93 wickets for rather less than 23 runs apiece, At the end of the summer of 1920 he received an invitation to be a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) team in Australia, but was unable to accept. Two years afterwards, however, he went to South Africa under the captaincy of Frank Mann, but did not reproduce his English form. He enjoys the distinction of having, on five occasions, achieved the double feat of scoring 1,000 runs, and taking 100 wickets in a season of first-class cricket. In 1921 he played for England against Australia at Trent Bridge and Headingley. He went on to play four Tests against South Africa in 1922/3 and two Tests against the West Indies in 1928.
As a batsman Jupp struck the happy medium between enterprise and caution. He watched the ball so well that when occasion demanded he could play a rigidly defensive game, while on a fast wicket there were few cricketers of his day better worth watching. He possessed a wide variety of strokes, and can drive or out with equal power and facility. His footwork, too, was so good that on a treacherous pitch he was a particularly valuable batsman. Before the First World War, and for a time afterwards he bowled medium pace rather on the quick side, but later took a shorter run, and became a slow to slow-medium bowler. Few bowlers of the 1920s spun the ball as much as he did and, with a wicket to help him, he could make it turn to a pronounced degree. One of the secrets of his success as a bowler was his cleverness in adapting himself to the changing conditions of a pitch. He was also rated as a brilliant fieldsman at cover point.
In 1927 Jupp became captain of Northamptonshire, a post he held until 1931. He continued as a player for the county until 1939. Jupp achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a season ten times, and along with Freddie Brown is one of the only two cricketers to have achieved that feat for two different teams. Ironically, his best season as a bowler was the one after the one for which he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year – in 1928 he took 166 wickets at 20.15.
He continued playing first-class cricket for Northamptonshire until 1938, but did not play at all in 1934 or 1935. This is because of the fact – unmentioned by Wisden at the time – that he had been convicted of manslaughter after his car had been in collision with a motorcycle, killing the latter’s pillion passenger. Jupp was sentenced to nine months in prison, and was released in June 1935 after serving half his sentence, but did not play cricket again until the following year.
Jupp collapsed and died in the garden at his home in Spratton on 9 July 1960. He was 69.