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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Hugh Milling
  • Born 4 September 1962 Carrickfergus, Co Antrim
  • Died 18 February 2003 Austria
  • Educated Marist College, Athlone; Dublin University; University of Ulster
  • Occupation Schoolteacher
  • Debut 21 August 1985 v Club Cricket Conference at Norbury
  • Cap Number 558
  • Style Right arm fast medium.
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix, NICC and Werneth.

Hugh Milling, a strongly built pace bowler who had the ability to make the best batsmen hop around when he delivered his devastating "throat ball", grew up in Northern Ireland - in the shadow of John de Courcey's Norman keep - but completed his secondary education at Marist College, Athlone, an institution justly famed for its prowess at Gaelic football, hurling and - more recently - rugby - but not known as a cricket school. Nevertheless, Hugh having entered Dublin University was a regular member of the XI for three seasons from 1981 taking 32 wickets in League and Cup matches at 22.91.

His first appearance in what might be termed a representative match, for the University v The ICU President's XI in 1982, saw him take the wicket of prolific left hander Pat Dineen, no bad way in which to start a haul of quality batsmen which was to include such notables as Peter Willey, Graeme Hick, and the seemingly immoveable Pakistani opener Mudasar Nazar.

Between 1982 and 1985 Hugh was also to appear for the Irish Universities in the British and Irish Universities tournament a 50 overs competition. Here his hostility and accuracy won high praise and won him selection for the composite side against a strong Essex 2nd XI in 1984. One of his best performances came in his tournament debut v Welsh Universities at Trebort in 1982. His figures of 10 - 9 - 4 - 2, not only removed the hosts' fancied openers but pegged back the innings so much that the final total was only 94, allowing a comfortable Irish win. Ireland reached the final v English Universities at Colwyn Bay, but the match was lost. Hugh was wicketless but his figures of 10 - 4 - 12 - 0 were a testament to his skill on a traditionally flat wicket. His best performance came in a 1983 match with English Unicorns when his 10 - 3 - 14 - 3, had much to do with Ireland's one run victory.

He played a season with Phoenix before returning north, where he read for a Dip Ed at the University of Ulster and played for NICC. While at Phoenix an incident occurred remembered with relish by those who saw it. Keeping wicket in one match was Lingard Goulding, son of former Irish keeper Sir Basil Goulding, and a high class gloveman himself. By now a Preparatory School Headmaster, Lingard was regarded by some as the best wicket keeper in Ireland. He stood up over the stumps to Hugh. Observers were unsure whether Hugh or the unfortunate opening batsman was the more annoyed as the Carrickfergus express set out to drive the presumptuous stumper back. The fact that Lingard always stood up to all bowling and - aged over 70 - still does, cut no ice with Milling that afternoon!

Hugh played a handful of interprovincial matches first for North Leinster and, latterly, for Ulster Town. His figures might best be described as useful rather than devastating but he turned in some good performances. Two, both for North Leinster against Munster, stand out. In 1984 at Cabra he had figures of 10- 5 - 6 - 2, bowling the visitors to defeat by 87 runs, while two years later, rain called a halt at College Park when the South Easterners had been reduced to 17-5, with Hugh's figures 7 - 2 - 9 - 2.

Against the possibly sterner opposition of South Leinster in 1985 he had figures of 16 - 3 - 52 - 4, including Alan Lewis and Mark Cohen, as the southsiders just held on for a draw.

His interprovincial form gained him Irish selection for the English tour of 1985. In all he was to play 26 times taking 49 wickets at 32.73. There were those who claimed that he did not practise enough to be consistently successful at this level. Be that as it may, he had some noteworthy performances, though never achieving a "5 for." Thus on the Zimbabwe tour of 1986, his 7 wickets in the match was the main reason for Ireland's 10 wicket win against Matabeleland Districts.

His second 4-46 was to remain his best bowling figures for Ireland. Later in the tour his 3-131 was to prove the best bowling figures for an Irish attack destroyed by a precocious teenager named Hick on his way to 309. Though Hugh also had seven wickets in the match v Scotland - oddly his only first class appearance - in 1987 - his best performance was probably his 4-64 v Leicestershire at Grace Road in the Nat West Trophy in 1986. The Irish side was put to the sword by David Gower and Peter Willey as the County reached 303-5, but Hugh dismissed Willey as well as two more Test men in current England selector James Whitaker and West Indian paceman and slogger Winston Benjamin.

Having taught for a while in Northern Ireland, Hugh took up an appointment at Hulme Grammar School, Manchester, well known for its academic and sporting record. Here he became popular and respected by colleagues and pupils alike, his famed sense of humour winning him many friends. He also found time to play in the tough world of the Central Lancashire League. One of his best matches for his club, Werneth came in his final season 2002 against Milnrow, a formidable opposition. However Hugh, bowling unchanged, had figures of 19 - 8 - 37 - 4 to despatch the opposition for 98. His victims included Queensland professional Clinton Perren, whose first class record for his state stands at 4785 runs with 10 centuries, besides almost 3000 List A runs.

In February 2003, while on a school visit to Austria, Hugh hit his head in a fall while skiing. Neither he nor any one else in the party thought anything of it at the time, but the following morning he was found dead in his hotel room.

His obituary is in Wisden 2004.