TRUMPER, Victor Thomas (1877-1915)


TRUMPER, Victor Thomas (1877-1915)
cricketer
was born at Sydney, on 2 November 1877. While at the Crown-street school he showed ability as a batsman and when only 17 years old made 67 for a team of juniors against A. E. Stoddart's English team. In the 1894-5 season he played for New South Wales against South Australia, but made only 11 runs in his two innings. At his next attempt he did no better, and he was left out of representative cricket for two years. M. A. Noble (q.v.), always a good judge, was confident about his ability, but it was only after some controversy that he was made a last minute selection for the 1899 Australian team. He soon showed his ability, scoring 135 not out against England at Lords, and 300 not out against Sussex. After that his position as a great batsman became established. His most remarkable season was with the Australian team in England in 1902. It was one of the wettest summers on record, yet Trumper in 53 innings scored 2570 runs, and without a single not out, had an average of 48.49. His century before lunch at Manchester against England on a bad wicket was possibly the greatest innings ever played. His health in later seasons was at times uncertain and in some years he did not play much first-class cricket. Yet his last 68 innings, in 1910-14, gave him an average of 60. In all he played 402 innings in first-class matches for 17,150 runs at an average of just over 45. His ability as a batsman, however, cannot be valued by averages or the number of runs made. His great mastership was shown on bad wickets, for when other batsmen were struggling merely to keep their wickets intact, he was still able to time the ball and execute strokes all round the wicket. In February 1913 a match was played for his benefit between New South Wales and the rest of Australia which, with subscriptions, yielded nearly £3000. This was placed in the hands of trustees. Trumper's health declined during 1914 and developing Bright's disease he died on 28 June 1915. He was survived by his widow, a son and a daughter.
Trumper was modest, retiring, and generous. A strict teetotaller and non-smoker, his general conduct was an example to his fellow players, and he was a great favourite with the public both in England and Australia. He was tall and slight, with great reach; the power of his strokes came from perfect timing, full arm swing and follow through. M. A. Noble had no hesitation in calling him the world's greatest batsman, a genius without compeer. He was the perfection of grace, and anyone who had seen him bat would always carry a mental picture of his carefree dancing down the pitch to convert a perfectly pitched ball into a half-volley.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 and 30 June 1915; M. A. Noble, The Game's the Thing, chapters X and XI form an admirable study of Trumper as man and cricketer; Wisden, 1916; Neville Cardus, The Sporting Globe, Melbourne, 28 September 1940; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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