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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Sir Colville Montgomery Deverell
  • Born 21 February 1907, Clonskea, Dublin
  • Died 18 December 1995 Wokingham, Berkshire
  • Educated Portora Royal School, Dublin University
  • Occupation Colonial Governor later Secretary - General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation
  • Debut 2 August 1930 v MCC at College Park
  • Cap Number 382
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Dublin University

Colville Deverell, always known as Dev, was a sound batsman, who at both School and University, had the distinction of opening the batting with Samuel Beckett. Quick on his feet, as befitted one who also played tennis to a high level, he was five years in the Dublin University XI, from 1926. He was a consistent rather than heavy scorer in this period, making only one competitive fifty. In 1926, he took part in what was to prove the last first class fixture played by the University. Against Northamptonshire at the County Ground, Dev and his team mates were swamped going down by an innings and 246 runs. The Northants pacemen Edgar Powell accounted for Dev in both innings for scores of 2 and 1. His literary opening partner did not fare much better! They did have the satisfaction of helping win the Leinster Senior League in 1927.

Deverell's one match for Ireland also ended in an innings defeat, by MCC at College Park in 1930. Under the autocratic captaincy of AP Kelly, he found himself at 10 in both innings, in a strong batting side. He "failed to trouble the scorers" in the first innings and went one better in the second. At least he could claim that in his first knock a Test player dismissed him; South African "quick" DPK Morel clean bowling him.

In 1931 he began a long and distinguished career in public service. Until 1951, he was in Africa, playing a key role in the administration of Kenya. He organised the visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh to that country in 1952, having to arrange their sudden departure when the death of King George VI called the Princess to higher things. After being Colonial Secretary in Jamaica, where he was an important figure in independence negotiations, he was Governor of the Windward Islands from 1955 to 1959 and Mauritius 1959 to 1962. In both roles he had to deal with natural disasters: Hurricane Janet in the Windward's and a cyclone as soon as he arrived in Mauritius. He retired from the Colonial Service in 1962, but his skills as a negotiator, persuader and cajoler were then put to use as a much travelled and highly respected first Secretary - General of the IPPF.

In his second retirement he willingly gave up his time to help at least one cricket researcher with some amusing and interesting recollections. The final years of his life were marred by tragedy. John, the eldest of his three sons, a senior officer in MI5, was amongst the dead in the Mull of Kintyre helicopter crash in 1994. Full details of Sir Colville Montgomery Deverell's career may be found in the broadsheet newspapers of the time of his death. His career is also briefly summarised in his Obituary in Wisden 1996. He was linked again with Beckett when both their obituaries were reproduced in Peter the Cat and other unexpected obituaries from Wisden (2006).