Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie

Dashing Hampshire cricketer
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Alexander Colin David Ingleby-Mackenzie, cricketer and insurance broker: born Dartmouth, Devon 15 September 1933; OBE 2005; married 1975 Susan Stormonth-Darling (née Clifford-Turner; one daughter); died London 9 March 2006.

Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie was among the last of those amateur captains who brought so much dash and colour to county cricket. An Old Etonian who might have breezed in from the 19th century, trading repartee and breathing fire, fresh from charging with the Scots Greys at Waterloo, he exemplified Danton's call for "toujours de l'audace".

When Hampshire won their first championship in 1961, after 66 years of trying, he claimed his players trained on "wine, women and song" and that he cared not what they got up to of an evening, as long as they were in bed in time for breakfast. In truth, his Hampshire were, according to Alan Gibson, one of the quieter and more sober sides of the last merry decade of the county game.

The son of a surgeon vice-admiral, Ingleby-Mackenzie was a forcing left-hander who batted late middle order, who could turn an off-break and who was willing to keep wicket if it mean regular employment. He captained Hampshire for seven years, in the fourth of which he led them to their first championship, his infectious personality proving to be the final piece in the assembly of a team that, put together by his predecessor Desmond Eagar, always played challenging cricket.

That team formation was all but complete when he took over in 1958, for he had in the West Indian Roy Marshall an opening batsman of world class and in Derek Shackleton a veteran seam and swing bowler who could, in a green England, be all but unplayable and who could bowl all day. "Shack will bowl till he drops dead," said Harold Gimblett, "and then he'll drop on a length."

Ian Wooldridge, an old RN colleague, maintained that Ingleby-Mackenzie won that championship with "two great players, nine old lags and outrageous declarations" and suggested his team nickname might have been "Vesuvius".

Thre was no doubt that the captain was a gambler - he was a member of the Clermont Club and one of the last to see Lord Lucan - and he was also a master of the last (third) day declaration.

Hampshire gave him the captaincy at 24 and he might have won a championship in his first season but for a sequence in which he lost the toss 15 times in 17 and finished second. Three years later, in a year when an experimental law ruled out the follow-on, the timing of the declaration became crucial and the campaign developed into a three-way race between the current champions Yorkshire,Middlesex and Hampshire. Hampshire moved into the lead on 1 August and never lost it, winning 19 of the last 32 games, five in a row in the final weeks. Ten matches were won on declarations and Yorkshiremen grumble to this day that their team were never offered such opportunities.

Marshall and two other batsmen passed 2,000 runs, the grey-haired Shackleton, in his 13th year, took 153 wickets and grumbled good humouredly, "Skipper makes one bowling change a day - he switches me to t'other end." However, the contribution of the side's fast bowler, David "Butch" White, with 121 wickets, was also vital.

Ingleby-Mackenzie remained influential in cricket, becoming a member of the MCC committee, and when president of the club in 1996-98, was a leading advocate of the admission of women to membership. The current MCC president, Robin Marlar, said of him: "For 50 years, he epitomised the idea that cricket should be fun above all." Ingleby-Mackenzie was appointed OBE in 2005.

An insurance broker by profession, he also became cricket manager to Sir Paul Getty, arranging fixtures, raising teams, leading tours and superintending Getty's superb private ground at Wormsley.

In all, Ingleby-Mackenzie played 309 matches for Hampshire,from 1951 to 1965, averaging 24 and taking 205 catches, which disguises the fact that he passed 1,000 runs in a season five times and that, often, he made his runs when they were most needed. He became president of Hampshire in 2002 and was always close to their counsels.

Comments