Big turnout for Nick Millar memorial games

PUBLISHED: 14:35 10 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

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ST ALBANS Rugby Club honoured the memory of Nick Millar on Sunday afternoon with a series of games. Nick (1955-2009) joined St Albans RFC at the age of 18 in 1973 and served the club with distinction in almost every capacity. He was the first XV captain

ST ALBANS Rugby Club honoured the memory of Nick Millar on Sunday afternoon with a series of games.

Nick (1955-2009) joined St Albans RFC at the age of 18 in 1973 and served the club with distinction in almost every capacity. He was the first XV captain for three years and spent two decades as a committee member, vice-president, fixture secretary and match reporter.

His finest moment was captaining St Albans to victory over Bacavians in The Herts President's Cup.

Several of Nick's family members attended the afternoon including Nick's widow, Jane, plus children Ollie, Harry, Jolyon and Ella Cooper-Millar, alongside other relatives Dave and Jackson Wall and Rupert Cooper.

Two matches were played together with much off the field fundraising activity and plenty of fun at the family's request. The first match was a short Vintage players match - everyone a Saint who had played alongside Nick Millar sometime in the last 36 years.

Before the match, by tradition, a minute's silence was held with both teams and the officials facing the clubhouse and a family-friendly crowd of more than 250.

St Albans Millar XV 10 St Albans Vets XV 10

Under the laws of the 1970s (four points for a try) and with no player under the age of 45 , a rip roaring spectacle showed that old habits die hard.

Despite the skulduggery played by all, referee Paul Nolan managed a free flowing, balanced match. Against the run of play the Vet's Nick Scott broke to score a breakaway try unconverted and Scott repeated the move to score this time converted by Gary Boost.

In the second half it was fitting that the Millar XV hit back after sustained forward pressure. Nick Millar's brother, prop Mike Millar, crossed to make it 4-10 and more of the same saw prop Dan Batchelor bludgeon his way over with Mark Trude converting.

St Albans Millar XV: Mike Millar, Mick O'Shea, Dan Batchelor, Bobby Westwood, Tony Golds, Mark Trude, Dave Wall, Richard McBrierty, Alan Janes, John Martin, Mark Elliot.

St Albans Vets XV: Rick Thornhill, Nick Scott, Phil Coates, Dave English, Tony Cooper, Geoff Whiteside, Andy Purviss, Simon Andrews, Ian Peel, John Daly .

Referee: Paul Nolan (Herts Referees Society). Touch Judges: David Gilroy (StAlbans RFC), James Batchelor (Dunstablians RFC).

St Albans 51 Herts Invitation XV 15

The second match saw St Albans take on a Herts Invitational side.

Saints roared into the lead with a try from Brenton Lemiere. In no time, the Saints were leading 12-0 as the forwards took control.

For the Invitationals, their captain Jack Haddock inspired stiff resistance and pulled the game back with a try.

Saints' captain Ollie Cooper-Millar raised his game for his father's memorial and showed great handling along with his cousin Rupert Cooper in the back row.

Invitationals hit back with a massive forward onslaught to score another try by Michael Nell in the corner.

The Saints backline retaliated and went into sevens mode to score three more tries.

Rolling substitutions were the order of the day as the try fest continued with several players claiming a brace. Not to be left out, Michael Nell added a second try as the game went into free flow.

Referee Nolan, a Leinsterman with a fine sense of occasion, managed a good humoured grip on the match - one player having to drink a pint of beer on the spot for talking too much!

The curtain came down with a drop goal conversion by hooker Brenton Lemiere.

It was a match played in the best traditions of Rugby Union with fine handling and a good forward battle added to with a feast of tries.

Congratulations to captains Ollie Cooper-Millar and Jack Haddock and their teams for this excellent display.

Nick, a number seven flank forward, would have loved it!

St Albans: Bachelor, J Cooper-Wall, Lemiere, Huddleston, Hillier, Davis, O. Cooper-Millar, Stanford, Cooper, Lister, Trude, James, Andrews, Morete, Dickinson, Kentish, Alderton, Bickle, Millar, Styles, Puri, Randall.

Herts Invitation XV: McPherson, Mackinnon, Blake, Hume, Reeder, Murray, Reeder, Nell, Amertrone, Haddock, Childerstone, Day, Newlan, Woodhead, Hewetson, Clarke, Moxham, Harrington, Longden, Townsend.

Referee. Paul Nolan (Herts Referees Society).

Touch Judges: David Gilroy (St.Albans RFC), William Batchelor (Dunstablians RFC).

Jane Millar greeted every single player as they emerged from the players tunnel before, to great applause, she thanked everyone for turning out to make it a memorable day.

Alongside food, a raffle and music there was a helium balloon fundraiser for SANDS (The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity).

The excitement built as the final balloons were inflated and the many children present held them down in a huge net outside the clubhouse. The biggest roar of the day came as over 100 balloons of all colours were released.

The greatest surprise of the day was kept until last as Nick's eldest son Ollie Cooper-Millar supported by family members presented two large identical framed number seven "Millar" rugby shirts in St Albans' colours - one for Jane Millar to keep at home, and one for the clubhouse. A brass inscription on one reads, 'Nick Millar 1955-2009. He is admired and respected both on the pitch and in the clubhouse. His memory will live on in St Albans RFC history'.

So far £750 has been raised for SANDS - anybody wishing to make a donation can by visiting www.justgiving.com.sands


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