Sussex County Cricket Club is saddened to learn of the passing Sussex Cricket League founder and Administrator Tony Millard.
Millard was immensely influential in the running and evolution of the Sussex Cricket League, whilst also reporting on Brighton and Hove Albion for various journals, radio stations and television channels.
Sussex Cricket League Chairman and Sussex County Cricket Club Board Member, Bob Warren commented ‘Tony Millard was the type of person you meet very rarely. He was totally committed to the well-being of Sussex Cricket and cricket in general. Tony co-founded the Sussex Cricket League 42 years ago and for the whole of that period, Tony was the Results and Fixtures Secretary. He helped turn the SCL into one of the most highly thought of Premier Cricket Leagues in the country.
Although at heart, a great traditionalist, Tony was always open to new ideas and new procedures. He rarely said no to anybody, preferring to think about the suggestion and then argue cogently either against the suggestion, or if he thought it worthy then endorse it whole-heartily.
He was more than a cricket administrator; his winter job was commentating and reporting for Sky Sports, local radio and writing for various journals. A measure of the pleasure he gave to thousands can be found on the Brighton & Hove Football Club’s website, where, to date, over a 1000 people have posted their thoughts about Tony’s contribution to local football.
People always say after someone dies, that they are irreplaceable, Tony would have rejected that notion immediately; he was forward-thinking, always looking for self-improvement, and always seeking improvement in others. He may or may not be irreplaceable. However, what we can be sure of is that when Tony was born, they definitely broke the mould.’
David Bowden, Sussex Cricket League President said ‘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 exceptional 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 coordinating 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.
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.’
Tony is seen above on the left interviewing former Sussex Captain Chris Adams on Press Day at Hove in 2005