In this second application of the slog sweep the intrepid Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie plays the ball a little squarer and with some loft.
Yesterday, Third Man compared the retirement from first class cricket of Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie with the scrapping of HMS Vanguard. He might have simply written, “They were the last of the Dreadnoughts.”
Mackenzie played cricket and captained his county (and a touring team or two) completely without fear.
It would seem that he gambled on the horses that way too.
He laid his first bet – five shillings on Delirium at Royal Ascot – in the summer of ’47. At fifteen he was able to predict the first three in the Derby much to his father’s delight. He appears to have recorded or remembered every subsequent flutter thereafter; the bet, the odds, the horse, the meet, the result – a skill that must have served him well when he eventually found employment in the world of insurance.
His trusty Ford Zepher found it impossible not to pop in to an evening meeting at Haydock Park or Warwick as it sped him quite often his fellow wicketkeeper, Leo Harrison, back from Old Trafford to Bournemouth on a Tuesday or Friday night. Happily for him cricketing injuries more often than not coincided with Ascot or Goodwood or Newmarket or Doncaster and held none of the terror they hold today for young players.
Mackenzie eschewed the temptation of University and, after National Service, accepted a job with Slazenger, playing cricket for Hampshire during the summer and joining any winter tour that took in warm climates, of which there was an annual supply for many years (see inset).
As work experience, Slazenger sent him for a while to a factory in Yorkshire to ‘learn the detail of the manufacture of sports goods’. He lunched in a “canteen”, lived in a “hostel” but managed to entertain himself during the evenings going to the dogs and consuming great quantities of beer with his workmates.
It is difficult not to see him as the model for the ‘Carry On’ films, nipping out for a quick cup of tea and sympathy with the glamorous factory nurse each afternoon until one afternoon he was forced to make a quick exit out of the back window when he saw his boss coming up the front steps on a similar mission.
Mackenzie played his first season for Hampshire in 1954 under the captaincy of the charming Desmond Eager whose brilliant succession policy Mackenzie was.
He turned to the City and the field of insurance when at last he was ready to get a real job. It was an inspired piece of recruitment but the chap in Personnel may have had second thoughts when the young recruit failed to show up on the due February start date, and then waltzed into the office, tanned and humming a happy tune, one lunch time six weeks and half a day later.
The prodigal was immediately called into the Board Room to appear before the Chairman of his new firm who was entertaining a major potential client of theirs from Sun Alliance.
As there was some racing on at the time Mackensie provided a good tip for the first race at Kempton by way of apology for lateness. Everyone decided to follow this young man’s selection which of course came in. He was invited to stay for lunch and quickly obliged with the winner of the second race. That particular afternoon was the first time he went through the whole racing card with the winners. One can imagine that with these skills to hand even a rare appearance in the office was enough to guarantee his prospects with the firm.
Tomorrow, as the adventure concludes, we shall see the third application of the sweep-slog and learn how the gambler won Hampshire their first County Championship.