Alexander Colin David Ingleby-Mackenzie
September 15, 1933, Dartmouth, Devon
March 09, 2006 (aged 72y 175d)
Left hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
It is often said that no one is irreplaceable. In the small but widespread world of cricket Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie may be the exception that proves the rule. Over Lord's, which he loved, and St John's Wood, where he lived, the air of gloom will be slow to lift. Life there has been noticeably sadder since he was struck with a malignant brain tumour before Christmas. He was the most engaging personality, blessed by the sunniest of dispositions and possessed of the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to become a man of real achievement. He loved life and lived it to the full. So the rest of his world repaid him with affection and respect. His laughter and his quips echo still.
Left-handed, he loomed into my awareness at Lord's by smashing a respectably good ball through the covers for the boundary which won the Eton v Harrow match of 1949. He was all of 15 years and 10 months. That stroke, accomplished with a full swing of both arms and bat, became his trademark. Of course he gave the bowler a chance, but, if he reached double figures, leather-chasing was likely to follow.
Wisely and devotedly encouraged by Desmond Eagar, father of Patrick, the great photographer, the Hampshire team recognised their captaincy succession had been splendidly solved. Here was a valuable batsman capable of winning one or two matches a year by brilliantly fastscoring in the declaration matches, which were then common. His popularity around the circuit was an immense help to their cause. In 1961 Ingleby- Mackenzie led Hampshire, a county hitherto regarded as `unfashionable', to their first Championship.
As their skipper was the first to recognise, they were a great bunch, a mixture of the jovial and hard-bitten, the understated and sardonic. At the top of the order was Roy Marshall, the prolific Barbadian, with Jimmy Gray, athletic, stylish and a cricket brain, followed by the Southampton footballer Henry Horton, squatting over his splice, Leo Harrison, the pre-war sage and latter-day wicketkeeper who taught John Arlott much of what he learned about playing the game, a wise counsellor for his fast-scoring skipper. Together they mastered the art of the sporting declaration.
To bowl Hampshire had Derek Shackleton, a beautiful, economical, postage-stamp accurate seamer, Butch White, an energy-exploding fast bowler who could hit you and hurt, and Vic Cannings, later to be coach at Ingleby's old school but then renowned not only for his awayswingers but as the supplier of toiletry items to the fraternity. Ingleby, asked what his secret was, said: "Wine, women and song." Surely there are some training rules? "Yes, everyone must be in bed by breakfast."
Later, when his nights were more likely spent at Annabel's in Berkeley Square than in the hostelries of Hampshire, he became a treasured member of touring sides all over the world. He was not unknown among the horseracing fraternity and those amiable punters Denis Compton and Keith Miller were friends for life.
When it was time to work seriously for a living, Ingleby became identified with school-fees insurance after being introduced to it by Bryan Valentine, once captain of Kent. He rose to be a pillar of Brown Shipley, the merchant banking group. From there he became chairman of the Country Gentlemen's Association, an interesting conglomerate for which he was ideally suited.
As president of MCC from 1996-98 he gained universal respect for
his decision, after the first vote on
the admission of women had failed
on a technicality, to go straight
back to the membership for a
second, which passed. Latterly he
was committed to the high-class
country house cricket at Sir Paul
Getty's wonderful ground, a most
welcome presence both before and
after the founder's death. In 2000
he was captain of Sunningdale
Golf Club, succeeded by Ted Dexter,
and in 2002 became president of
Hampshire. He was on hand to join
in the celebrations for their C&G
win at Lord's last September.
Robin Marlar, The Wisden Cricketer
Batting & Fielding