Sir Francis Lacey

LACEY, SIR FRANCIS EDEN, who died on May 25, aged 86, will be remembered chiefly for his work as Secretary of the Marylebone Club. Appointed in 1898 on the retirement of Henry Perkins, Sir Francis held office for 28 years. A barrister by profession, Mr. Lacey used keen perception and business instincts in changing for the good all the easy-going methods obtaining for many years before he accepted the position. Drastic methods were necessary and were forthcoming in no uncertain manner. Under the new regime a strictly business tone prevailed during all matches and any slackness on the part of the employees disappeared. The new broom swept a little too clean perhaps, but in the end the Marylebone Club benefited enormously in having as their executive officer a man so able, so masterful and so painstaking. As the years went on, with the spread of cricket in so many parts of the world, big questions arose for decision and in the preparation of these for the deliberations of the M.C.C. Committee, the County Cricket Council Boards of Control and Imperial Conferences, Francis Lacey rendered splendid service to the game of cricket.

Born on October 19, 1859, at Wareham, Dorset, Francis Lacey went to Sherborne, and was in the eleven there from 1876 to 1878. He captained the school at football as well as at cricket. In 1878, when he made six separate hundreds for Sherborne, he appeared for Dorset, and next year he began an active association with Hampshire cricket which lasted until 1897, and included a continuous period of six seasons--1888 to 1893--during which he captained the county. Among a number of notable performances for Hampshire were innings of 157 and 50 not out, as well as eleven wickets, against Sussex at Hove in 1882, and of 211 and 92 not out against Kent at Southampton in 1884, while in 1887 at Southampton against Norfolk he made 323 not out, which at the time was the highest score on record in a county match. After leaving Sherborne he went up to Cambridge, and there played an innings of 271 for Caius College against Clare. In 1881 he was in the Cambridge football XI against Oxford, but not until 1882 did he get his Blue for cricket.

Rather over six feet in height, F. E. Lacey was a stylish bat, hitting with plenty of power especially in front of the wicket, a capital field, and a slow round-arm bowler with deceptive flight. On retirement from the office of Secretary in 1926, he received the honour of knighthood and was elected a trustee of the Marylebone Club. Mr. Perkins held office for over twenty-two years and Sir F. E. Lacey for over twenty-eight years, so that there were only two M.C.C. secretaries in half a century prior to the election of Mr. William Findlay, who served until June 1936, when Colonel R. S. Rait Kerr took office.

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