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Headley shocked by Iggy death
Headley shocked by Iggy death

The Kent cricketing community was left reeling last week following the death of Alan Igglesden, and in tribute KSN have been talking to the players who knew “Iggy” and here are the memories and thoughts of Dean Headley.

“The news although I do think it was coming and would be inevitable at some stage, is still a shock,” he told us.

“He’s fought against the tumour for such a long time – it’s been twenty odd years – and I recently joined a group to take him from his home in Yorkshire for a day’s cricket at Headingley.”

“I think that the Iggy of old was very much with us that day. It was strange in a way as I hadn’t seen him for quite a long time… When he used to listen to stories – even in the dressing room – every now and then, if he was intrigued by someone, he used to lift his chin up and open his mouth and not say anything, and just gaze ahead.”

“And when I saw him, he still had all those mannerisms – he gazed and would then laugh afterwards once it sunk in, but he did that as a player! He was definitely still there for me – there was definitely still some Iggy of old in there, and that day he spent a lot of time listening to the conversations going on and intermittently, he’d laugh as he clearly still had a lot of memories.”

Igglesden was already at Canterbury when Headley arrived, and the “new boy” remembered those early days together. “He was a gentleman,” Headley recalled.

“He was a very good fast swing bowler – there just wasn’t a bad bone in his body, which is a bit unusual for a fast bowler! He was loved by a lot of people, and you won’t find anyone with a bad word to say about him.”

“And I think that has been shown in the love for him since this sad news – it’s richly deserved, because as much as he was a player, his biggest fight undoubtedly came when he finished playing!”

“I can’t remember what year he actually finished, but I do know that he was a great support for me when I played for England. In those days of course as well as the two of us, we had Ealy (Mark Ealham), Jazza (Matthew Fleming) and Macca (Martin McCague) too and he was really supportive of any player who wanted to try and get into that top tier.”

“You have to remember in the nineties that it was completely different to today as it was easier to get dropped than it was to get in,” he added ruefully!

“The big thing for me will always be what a gentle man he was. When I first moved to Canterbury, he was really supportive of me. In those days, I didn’t have choice of ends when I bowled with him – I had to earn that – we had a good bowled attack when I was first at Kent; we had Iggy, (Tim) Wren, (Chris) Penn, McCague and we had the end of Ealy – it really was a good all-round bowling attack and it was great for me learning off people like that with him as a senior bowler. The competition was high but not to the level of being destructive to any of us.”

“Injuries robbed him of a longer Test career, but we all had injuries especially in those days as there weren’t the bowling quotas and protections that the boys have now – which is brilliant to see.”

“Bowling was hard work in the County Championship back then because you played for your County, you then went and played Test cricket and then straight back to the Championship, there really wasn’t any rest unlike the central contract players now who basically play a Test, have a rest, and then play the next Test match.”

“It’s a different era,” Headley admitted. “We’ve all got to tell of how hard it was in certain ways, but we probably had a bit more fun off the field!”

We ended by asking Headley of his abiding memory of his former teammate and he told us, “In terms of cricket it has to be the way he went around the place as a professional – he had no big ideas about himself – the “Western Slinger,” and there’s just so much love and admiration from the area he’s from. It just goes back to the news of his death; just how many people have paid tribute to him…”