Getting ten wickets in an innings is a feat every bowler dreams of – very few get to achieve that in their career. Getting ten in an innings, and top scoring with the bat in both innings – that is the stuff of fantasy. Vallance Jupp of Northamptonshire achieved this remarkable feat for his county in the 1932 Championship. How he would have wished to inspire his side to a thumping victory…
Northants, who were flirting with the bottom of the table, came to Tunbridge Wells to face Kent, following a satisfactory draw against Somerset. Jupp scored a brilliant 163 in that game before getting out hit wicket. But Kent were a different proposition, with the likes of Les Ames and Frank Woolley in the ranks. Ames duly smashed 149, and Woolley 52, as Kent posted 360 on the first day, after winning the toss. Ames put on 194 for the 7th wicket with Thomas Pearce (83) to rescue the home team from the depths of 164/6. However, the man who stole the limelight in this innings was Jupp, aged 41. He could bowl both off-breaks and medium-fast, and worked his way to an amazing 10/127 in 39 overs, and he must have surely hoped that this would inspire the batsmen to rise to the occasion as well.
So much for hope. Leg-break bowler Alfred Freeman wrought havoc on the struggling visitors, claiming 8/44. Jupp, in at No.5, added to his legend by top-scoring in the innings, making 34 out of a paltry total of 97. On the third and final day, Northants started their second innings, needing a miracle to stave off Kent’s victory bid. Freeman, opening the bowling yet again, reduced Northants to 8/3. Jupp strode in, and dug in again. With the score at 59, Jupp was 7th out for 32, Freeman (8/38 this time) bowling him to end his match. Northants were shot out for 75 eventually, and went down by an innings and 188 runs.
It would have surely been tragic for Jupp, especially with Freeman hogging the accolades completely. Jupp’s achievement would have been legendary, if only his team-mates had shown the same spunk. Instead, it will go down in history as the only performance of this kind in a losing cause. Northants eventually finished last-but-one that season, while Kent finished third.
Jupp played 8 Tests for England, the last in 1928, and finished with 28 wickets. But his feat at Tunbridge Wells will always depict in the record books, as the sailor who gave his crew a fighting chance for survival, only for the crew to leave him standing alone on the burning deck, twice over.
Match scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/14/14345.html