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Shackleton, the straight man; Ingleby-Mackenzie, the gambler

How a pair of contrasting characters proved integral to Hampshire's maiden Championship triumph

Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards
Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie leads Hampshire onto the field in their Championship-winning season, 1961

Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie leads Hampshire onto the field in their Championship-winning season  •  The Cricketer International

Hampshire 96 for 0 dec and 199 for 8 (Horton 51, Ingleby-Mackenzie 51; Andrew 3-20) for 7 beat Gloucestershire 176 (Shackleton 5-45, White 4-69) and 118 for 8 dec (Shackleton 4-27) by two wickets
If you have 21 seconds to spare in this strangest of seasons, you might do well to visit the video-sharing platform YouTube and search for "Derek Shackleton Hampshire". Among the available delights is a slow-motion film of the Hampshire medium-pacer bowling one ball against an unnamed and unseen Gloucestershire batsman at Bournemouth in 1962. That was a strange season, too.
For one thing, cricket was still making the increasingly sham distinction between amateurs and professionals. For another, it was the final year in which the County Championship was decided on average points per game, nine counties opting to play 28 three-day matches while the other eight contested 32; and it was also the last summer in which the English season would consist solely of first-class matches. "The new Knock-Out competition", as Wisden quaintly called the future Gillette Cup, would be introduced in 1963.
But each of the eight seasons from 1958 to 1965 was something of a voyage into the unknown for Hampshire's cricketers. How could it be otherwise when they were led by a skipper whose life seems to have been so dedicated to hedonism that it could have been plucked straight from the pages of Scott Fitzgerald? Yet Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie, an Old Etonian socialite, was able to win over the professionals on the Hampshire staff and even persuade one or two to enjoy his own sybaritic lifestyle. Moreover so successful was his captaincy and so skilled the players he led that Hampshire won their first County Championship in 1961. How they managed it remains one of domestic cricket's great tales.
The conventional view of Hampshire's maiden title was that Ingleby-Mackenzie used his gambler's flair to inveigle opposing skippers into making generous declarations and setting targets which his team chased to death or glory. And a few Yorkshire players, smarting because their side had been denied yet another hat-trick of championships, have stuck to this belief. But as Hampshire's former archivist, David Allen, has shown, only three of the county's 19 victories in 1961 came after their opponents' declarations and they matched Yorkshire's achievement in taking all 20 wickets in 15 of their games. Ingleby Mackenzie's side triumphed partly because it included batsmen of the quality of Roy Marshall and Henry Horton, both of whom scored over two thousand runs, and seam bowlers of the class of "Butch" White and Shackleton, who each took over a hundred wickets.
At the same time ten of Hampshire's wins in 1961 came after Ingleby-Mackenzie had declared. That reflected well on the skipper's judgement and his bowlers' skills but it was also the result of the decision to prohibit the follow-on being enforced in any match where there was play on the first day. The rationale behind this change, which lasted only two seasons, was that it would encourage "brighter cricket" by placing an onus on skippers to set challenging targets. Ingleby-Mackenzie needed no such stimulus; his much quoted mantra was "entertain or perish" and no game in the 1961 epitomised either his principles or his extraordinary lifestyle better than the match against Gloucestershire at Portsmouth.
The game began on a Saturday and the opening sessions were relatively uneventful. True, Shackleton took five wickets as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 176 but he was to equal or better such a haul on 10 other occasions in the championship season and his colleagues almost expected it of a cricketer whose qualities were perfectly captured by John Arlott: "In the dressing rooms, simply "Shack" is enough. To the first-class cricketer, the name means shrewdly varied and utterly accurate medium-pace bowling beating down as unremittingly as February rain."
Sundays were very much a day off for county cricketers in the years before the introduction of the John Player League. Benefit matches required the attendance of some but Shackleton, who bowled 1471.3 overs in that year's championship, probably appreciated the rest. Typically, however, Ingleby-Mackenzie preferred his own brand of relaxation and his early autobiography Many A Slip, published only a year later, gives an unforgettable account of his activities that weekend in June 1961:
I soon forgot my cricketing responsibilities that evening when I drove off to Lewes for one of my rare appearances at a Deb Dance. I stayed at the hospitable home of Mr. and Mrs, Cosmo Crawley, and arrived late for dinner. I found myself sitting next to Susan Verney, daughter of Lord and Lady Willoughby de Broke whose interest in racing exceeded that of cricket, I was glad to discover. I did not get much sleep that night as I was scheduled to appear next day, Sunday, at the magnificent home to Lord Caenarvon at Highclere, near Newbury, to play for the Eton Ramblers against Lord Porchester's XI…
Owing to my excessively late night, I had no time to sleep and therefore, for a change, I was one of the few people who arrived on time. The star performer among the later comers was that of Keith Miller, who arrived an hour late, shook hands with Porchy, and rushed off to be sick. He recovered so well after a lunch of champagne cocktails that he was able to score a century against us, but this was not enough to save his side.
This game preceded another great party at Highclere and by the time I returned to Portsmouth next morning I was in a frail condition.
Ingleby-Mackenzie admits he was "not in the least upset" when Monday's play was lost to rain but the following morning he turned his mind to winning a match in which only ten wickets had fallen. The best way of doing so would be to declare Hampshire's first innings in arrears and hope the Gloucestershire skipper, Arthur Milton, would respond in a similarly attacking spirit. The professionals in his team, on the other hand, saw their task as one of overhauling Gloucestershire's 176 and settling for two points for a first-innings lead and two more for a faster scoring-rate when that lead was achieved. The opposition to Ingleby-Mackenzie's strategy in the home dressing room was therefore vehement but Milton agreed with his counterpart's gentle suggestion that one team had to win the game at Portsmouth to keep the pressure on Yorkshire, who had won seven of their first eight games.
Ingleby-Mackenzie's total included a match-winning 132 not out against Essex at Cowes. That innings was played after a weekend in which Hampshire's captain had attempted to break the world drinking record and had also fallen in the Solent.
After 70 minutes' play on the third morning and with Hampshire 96 for no wicket the openers, Marshall and Jimmy Gray, saw their skipper declaring. "For several moments nobody seemed to take any notice, and I had the feeling that our batsmen were deliberately ignoring my signals." wrote Ingleby-Mackenzie, an interpretation which Marshall corroborated eight years later in Test Outcast. "Neither of us could believe it when we saw Colin waving from the pavilion. I was furious at his apparent madness but there was nothing I could do."
Ingleby-Mackenzie was now in Milton's hands. Outright collusion was forbidden, which is not to say it didn't occur, but the captains had agreed a positive result should be achieved if possible. Gloucestershire managed 118 for 8 declared off 47 overs, Shackleton taking 4 for 27, and challenged Hampshire to score 199 in 137 minutes on a slow wicket. Typically, of course, Ingleby-Mackenzie led the charge, He and Horton scored 51 apiece but the home side had declined to 162 for 8 when Shackleton joined White, There were twenty minutes left in the game and no set number of overs. White, a strong man with an uncomplicated approach to such matters, whacked an unbeaten 33 and victory was secured with two minutes to spare. Bryan Timms, who was deputising for Hampshire's excellent wicketkeeper, Leo Harrison, in that game, recalls a livid Marshall and Gray showering and going for a pint before the game was won. It is interesting to ponder the repercussions had Ingleby-Mackenzie's strategy not paid off.
There was, of course, far more to Hampshire's title win in 1961 than three good batsmen, two fine seamers and a skipper with the daring to make his own luck. Peter Sainsbury was one of three spinners who each took over 40 wickets that summer and he also chipped in with 1459 runs. Danny Livingstone also scored over a thousand runs, as did Ingleby-Mackenzie, whose total included a match-winning 132 not out against Essex at Cowes. That innings was played after a weekend in which Hampshire's captain had attempted to break the world drinking record and had also fallen in the Solent.
And so one is drawn back to two cricketers whose lifestyles could not have been more different yet who retained the greatest respect for each other: Ingleby-Mackenzie burned the candle at both ends and in the middle when he could. Now and then he was joined by Marshall and Harrison. Shackleton, on the other hand, remains the epitome of the conscientious, post-war professional, his image perfectly captured by Patrick Eagar on the cover of David Matthews' biography.
In that photograph Shackleton is coming into his delivery stride. The left arm is about to be raised in the conventional fashion but it is the right that commands the eye. The forearm is thick, the wrist cocked and the fingers grip the ball down the seam. If Shackleton's expression is any guide he has not finally decided which type of ball he will deliver. He holds the batsman in his hawk-like gaze, which is a little remarkable when one realises that he has good sight only in the right eye. His boots are heavy-soled and protect his ankles. The shirt and flannels are white as communion cloth. There is not a speck of sponsorship in sight. Every hair is in place; you might believe he has a comb back at his mark.
Shackleton's disciplines would help him take 2857 first-class wickets, six of which were claimed on September 1, 1961 when the championship was sealed with victory over Derbyshire at Dean Park. He stands eighth in the all-time list having reached the bowler's century in each of the twenty seasons from 1949 to 1968. No other bowler has matched that precise level of consistency.
Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie is still recalled so fondly at Hampshire that the East Stand at the Ageas Bowl is named after him. Derek Shackleton is remembered by all who saw him play cricket and in that brief film of him bowling at Bournemouth in 1962. His normal run-up was 12 normal paces long but, as this evidence reveals, that converted into nine long, easy strides. "He didn't leave any foot marks," said his team mate, Neville Rogers. "It was as though he bowled in slippers."
The slow-motion film of Shack lasts 21 seconds. You could watch it for hours.

Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications