July 12, 1915, Selston, Nottinghamshire
July 17, 1997, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, (aged 82y 5d)
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Arthur Jepson, who died on July 17 at the age of 82 after a long illness, had a longevity in cricket that few modern players are likely to emulate. Jepson's career stretched over six decades, from 1938 as a Notts fast-medium bowler, to 1984 when he retired from the first-class umpires' list.
Born into a mining family at Selston in North Nottinghamshire, he was a late starter in the county game at 23, was awarded his cap the following year and went on to make 390 first-class appearances. He took 1050 wickets at an average of 29.05. He captured five or more in an innings 40 times, with his finest summer, 1947, yielding 115 wickets at 27.78.
His career-best was 8 for 45 against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge in 1958, eight summers after he made 130, his only century, against Worcestershire on the same ground. Jepson's versatility stretched to a professional football career as a goalkeeper, starting with wartime matches for Mansfield. He also played for Stoke City and Lincoln City in the late 1940s.
Jepson's friends knew him as a kindly man. To strangers, he could seem brusque, even aloof, and his visits in retirement to Trent Bridge were few. He did not attend old players' reunions, which was sad, because he had an acerbic wit and rich entertainment value, even when he turned to the equally serious business of umpiring in 1960, the year after he retired as a player. He had been rewarded with a £2000 benefit in 1951 and a testimonial (£1511) eight years later.
Jepson umpired four Test matches between 1966 and 1969, but his most famous game was the `lamplight match', the 1971 Gillette Cup semi-final between Lancashire and Gloucestershire, watched by a 30,000 crowd at Old Trafford. The game finished at 8.50pm after Jack Bond, the ultimately victorious Lancashire captain, politely asked Jepson about bad light. `What's that up there?' Asked Jepson, looking skywards. `The moon,' replied Bond. `Well how far do you want to see?' concluded Arthur.
His last stand came in 1985, when he officiated at the NatWest match between Essex and Oxfordshire at Chelmsford. Although retired, suffering from cataracts and having limited sight, he willingly helped out before returning to his favourite pastimes of golf and gardening.
Jepson, who died at Lowmoor Nursing Home, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, is survived by his wife Florence, daughter Pauline and son Cyril, who maintains the family sporting tradition as professional at Nottingham City Golf Club.
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