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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Robert Brian Millar
  • Born 22 April 1966 Belfast
  • Educated Bangor Grammar School
  • Occupation Information technology consultant
  • Debut 12 August 1992 v Gloucestershire at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 586
  • Style Right hand batsman; wicket keeper
  • Teams Bangor

Brian Millar was a very good wicket keeper, who vied with several others to wear the gloves for Ireland, first as a substitute for Paul Jackson and then, when the great North keeper finally laid down his gauntlets, as his successor. Though Brian, in company with several of his rivals - and indeed Paul himself - lacked superior batting skills to enhance his claim, he seemed to have made the position his own by the 1995 season, despite having to miss some matches through work commitments. Then, however, he broke a thumb, had to pull out of the side, and was not seen again in Irish colours.

1994 Ireland v New Zealand
At Bangor Grammar School, where like many others he benefited from the wisdom and enthusiasm of Chris Harte, Brian not only showed a rare talent behind the stumps but also, as some may be surprised to read, acquitted himself well in front of them. Thus in 1984, under the captaincy of Michael Rea, he aggregated 271 runs at 19.45 with a highest score of 45. That year also saw his wicket keeping win high praise in the schools' reviews in Wisden. "RB Millar, " it is recorded for history" excelled as wicket keeper, with 39 victims, 24 caught and 15 stumped. "

The following season his batting was again to the fore. With 368 runs at 28.30 and a highest of 57, he finished second in the averages to his captain Mark McCall and was selected not only for the Irish Schools v Wales but also for the International Youth Tournament in Bermuda, in which Ireland won three and lost three. The Welsh match was played on a batsman's paradise at Ynysygerwyn and resulted in a high scoring draw, somewhat in the hosts' favour. Batting first they reached a formidable 308-6 declared, during which Brian allowed only 4 byes besides making one catch and one stumping, both off the bowling of his captain Keith McCrory. The stumping disposed of - for 99 - Steve James, later to open the batting for Glamorgan and England.

Brian, who was joined in the side by two other future cricket internationals in Conor Hoey and Angus Dunlop, also a part to play with the bat at the end of the match. Ireland, chasing 250 in 50 overs, were 178-8 when he came in to join McCall, who had been held back to No 9 because of injury. Happily Bangor Grammar School proved more than a match for Neath Tertiary College, holding out against Mark Davies and Dave Shuttlebotham, both from that institution. McCall, incidentally, was one of two future rugby internationals in the Irish side, Vinnie Cunningham of St Mary's College, batting at 3, being the other. In senior cricket, Brian was a fixture behind the stumps for Bangor, learning still more of his craft from the former Lancashire keeper, John Lyon, On the interprovincial scene, his first match for Ulster Town was against Munster in 1988, but he was by no means assured of his place, with fine glovemen such as Paul Moore also in the reckoning.

1993 Ireland v Australia: Mark Waugh batting as Brian Millar keeps

One of Brian's best matches at his level came in 1995 against the North West at Eglinton. The hosts piled up the massive score of 263-8, which would probably have been more but for Brian's four dismissals, three of which were stumpings. One of the most important catches he made for Town was probably against the same opponents in 1993 again at Eglinton. On this occasion the hosts rattled up 287-5 with Bobby Rao making an undefeated hundred and Stephen Smyth 77. However the carnage might have been even more disastrous, had not Brian caught Decker Curry off Alan Donnelly, when the danger man had made a mere 22. Then Brian contributed a solid 14, one of the few lower order batsmen to make any impression, as Junior McBrine spun his side to victory with 7-45.

Brian's Irish debut had come in a rain ruined match against Gloucestershire at Ormeau in 1992, when - fortunately - the elements did not allow the visitors to bat after an Irish collapse. In all he was to play 20 times, making 19 dismissals, of which 8 were stumped. His total dismissals mean that - at the time of writing - he stands 15th in the all time list of Irish wicket keepers, while his best season was 1994 when he snared 11 victims in 8 matches.

That season also saw one of his most talked of dismissals against Northants in a Nat West Trophy match at the County Ground. Ireland lost by 7 wickets, though they did manage to bat out their full complement of overs, but the highlight of the game was Brian's brilliant leg side stumping off Bobby Rao to send Alan Lamb back for 12. It is said the even "Lambie" was at a loss for words! Brian made very little impact with the bat for Ireland, though in fairness it must be pointed out that he batted only 10 times in his 20 matches.

1995 Ireland v Kent (B&H Cup)at Comber

His highest - and only double figure score- was a remarkable undefeated 32 against the Netherlands at The Hague in 1993. This was the second of two one-dayers between the sides, Ireland had been heavily defeated in the first. They were to lose again in the second, being bowled out for 142, but not before Brian, coming in at 87-8, took control of the attack. The Dutch bowling became somewhat ill directed at this stage and Brian and Conor Hoey benefited from it, putting on 50 in 11 overs before Conor was run out. No 11 Eddie Moore lofted a ball into the deep and Brian was left high and dry.