President’s tribute to Tony Millard

tony millard standing in a 20/20 final
tony millard standing in a 20/20 final

This is Sussex Cricket League president David Bowden’s personal recollections of the immense part played by Tony in forwarding the game of cricket in the county:

I first got to know Tony Millard when I started to play in the Sussex Cricket League in 1973, having just moved into the area.

It was Tony’s foresight and initiative that actually started senior league cricket in Sussex when, together with Dave Mantell, he founded the Sussex Cricket League in 1970 with 12 clubs. Tony created the original competition rules and playing conditions and was always at the forefront of expanding the League ever since.

He remained immensely influential in so many ways throughout the past 43 years. As an administrator, he was thoughtful, imaginative and focused in his views; as a player, he was a highly competent and competitive wicketkeeper and as an umpire he was one of the very best on the League’s Panel.

He was a truly outstanding forward-thinker with a never-ending stream of progressive, practical and sustainable ideas on how cricket is played and developed.

Tony prided himself on finding answers to challenging situations, rather than dwelling on problems and he was exceptionally good at this, with his fertile mind and flair for innovation. His favourite saying was “I am not interested in the problem - my job is to find a solution” and he always did!!

As the League’s Results and Fixture Secretary since its inception, Tony took great pride in spending very many hours in co-ordinating and presenting a full schedule of results, reports and tables for the Sussex League’s 8 divisions late at night every Saturday during the summer; all this after having umpired a Premier League match in the afternoon! This was a truly remarkable achievement, which was due to his unwavering dedication, selflessness and sheer commitment.

In terms of new and exciting ideas to improve the recreational game in Sussex, there can be few who can have driven it forward with more strength of purpose than Tony Millard

Tony always seemed to exceed the expectations of others. Nothing was too much trouble for him and it is not surprising that made such magnificent and influential contributions to the Sussex Cricket Building Partnerships Group and within the Sussex Cricket Board’s Adult Leagues Group, during the past 7 years.

It should not be forgotten that he was also a huge figure of continuity in the Brighton Brunswick CC for over 50 years, of which he was still its Honorary Fixture Secretary, as well as being a long standing member of Haywards Heath CC, for whom he first became a committee member at the age of 20 years.

Tony could be confrontational at times and was never afraid to state what he felt needed to be said! However, his contributions were made, not to be difficult, but to draw attention in a positive manner to issues that required attention. I always considered that he was the grit in the oyster that made the pearl!

His massive involvement in cricket was based on his amazing passion for the game and it is not surprising therefore, that he was one of the most revered cricketing figures in Sussex!

All in all, Tony’s voluntary contributions to the Sussex Cricket League have been truly astonishing and it was entirely appropriate that he received the Outstanding Services to Sussex Cricket Award in 2008.

David Bowden

24 August 2013