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Biography
William Adam Miller
  • Born 21 October 1888 Scotland
  • Died October 1941
  • Educated Glenalmond College, Perth.
  • Occupation Director John Andrews Ltd
  • Debut 22 August 1924 v MCC at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 330
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams North Down

William Miller must be counted a somewhat unlucky cricketer. A fine upper order batsman, he was more than worth his place for a decade and a half in Willie Andrews' all conquering North Down side of the inter war years. Yet neither in the show case NCU Challenge Cup Finals, of which he played in eight, nor in the sole appearance he made for Ireland, did he fully reveal his true form.

Scottish born, he was educated at Glenalmond, one of that country's leading public schools, which numbers the great Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone among its founders. William Miller played a large part in the life of the College during his time there. Entering in 1904, he was in the cricket XI from 1905 until 1907, being captain in his final season. A prominent all round sportsman, he was also a member of the 1st XV rugby team. His leadership qualities on the cricket field were more widely recognised as he was also a College Prefect.

Following the outbreak of War in 1914, he was commissioned into the Royal Scots in 1915, as a Second Lieutenant, transferring to King Edward's Horse in 1917 when he was also promoted to Lieutenant. One more transfer and promotion was to follow, he finished the conflict as a Captain in the Tank Corps, those somewhat lumbering new weapons, having first appeared to little effect on the Somme had, by the end of the war, become formidable and dangerous. William received the Military Cross in 1919.

Playing regularly for North Down after the War, William appeared, as noted above, in NCU Cup Finals. However, though always batting high in the order, he scored only 139 runs at 16.50, a rather poor return for one of his talents. His best match was in 1926 against NICC at Ormeau, which North Down won by 220 runs. The batting honours belonged mainly to James Macdonald and Davy Taylor, both of whom passed 50 in the first innings of 337. However, William, coming in at 123-3,also played his part, making 39, third top score, before he fell to a catch off Arthur Douglas. North Down were almost 200 ahead when they batted again but lost early wickets until William joined Macdonald in a stand of 58 for the 4th. He made 35 before being bowled by Wallace Sproule.

He had also played two useful innings in the 1920 Final when Cliftonville were beaten by 10 wickets at Ormeau. In difficult conditions, Cliftonville were dismissed for 60, but the Comber side also struggled to reach 108. They owed much to an undefeated 39 from Willie Andrews and 26 from William. Dismissing their opponents in the second innings for 102, North Down won by 10 wickets, with William (28) and Taylor (31) knocking off the runs.

His one match for Ireland came against MCC at Ormeau in late August 1924. William, probably in the side - along with several others - to try to attract a local "gate", hardly had a fair chance to shine. The two day match was rain ruined with no play possible on the first day. William came in at 89-3 when Ireland batted first but was soon out, bowled by Middlesex paceman Harry Enthoven for 2. The match ended in an inevitable draw and William was never asked to play again. Despite his low score, this does seem to have been rather harsh treatment.

Away from cricket he married Louisa Mary Andrews in 1923. She was the daughter of Herbert William Andrews, cousin of William Andrews and a notable sportsman himself. Secretary of North Down in the early years of the 20th century and a useful cricketer, he was better known as a hockey player. He took part in the first hockey match ever played on The Green and was later the first President of the Ulster Branch of the Irish Hockey Union.

William and Louisa had two sons, Richard and Herbert, both of whom followed their father to Glenalmond. They also followed him into the cricket XI, though he was, unfortunately, no longer alive to see it. Richard, a useful upper order batsman, was in the team in 1945 and 1946, finishing third in the averages in the latter year. He made one half century, 56, but, arguably, his best innings came against Edinburgh Academy. His 46 was top score and set up a commanding victory. He later entered Dublin University being a member of the XI in 1951, playing under the captaincy of Brian Stronach, in a side which also included Larry Warke and wicket keeper Mervyn Jaffey. Herbert was a bowler who was second in the averages in 1947 with 14 wickets at 12.28.

Edward Liddle, June 2011

International Matches
View Match Ireland drew with MCC (2 Day, Ormeau, 22 August 1924)