Esher’s most capped player – the unsung David Millard – today signed on for another year at Molesey Road, with one of the division’s best props looking to once again go quietly, but hugely efficiently, about his work.
With 117 appearances under his belt over the course of seven years dedicated service, the former Ireland U20 international is a familiar name at the Club; often the first on the team sheet under the tenure of Mike Schmid and, more recently, Ollie Smith.
Still only 26 years of age, the softly spoken Millard was a mainstay of a dominant Esher front-row last season, making 22 starts and another five outings from the replacements’ bench, a testimony to his durability in the notoriously physical National One arena.
Having suffered with a neck problem for large parts of the Club’s final year in the Greene King IPA Championship, a rejuvenated Millard, mentored by current interim head coach Ricky Nebbett, hit the ground running in September and hasn’t looked back.
Now, having consolidated after a year of transition, the ex-Richmond and Harlequins junior, as humble as ever, is simply looking forward to doing his bit for the team.
“Last season was the first relatively injury free season I have had in years, so it was fantastic to be part of a pack that was dominant in the vast majority of games that we played,” he said.
“Ricky started his work with the forwards before formal pre-season began, and that certainly bore fruit as the months wore on. I love scrummaging and one of the big factors for me in wanting to stay here is because of the fact we have such a strong set of forwards.
“Ricky has always spurred me on, ever since our days at Quins, and I think the time I spent in the Championship playing with, and against other quality props, has helped me become a more rounded player.
“I’m keen to just play my part in helping us continue to get quick, clean ball at scrum and line-out time and if I can chip in with a few carries, and some sneaky tries, then even better!”
With recent changes in the coaching structure at the Club, there has been much speculation in some quarters, but Millard quelled any notion of uncertainty in clear language.
“Ollie did a lot of good things during his time here, and a lot of that lives on. The level of professionalism he instilled has taken a firm hold now, and I’d say this year’s pre-season has been the best I’ve ever experienced because of that.
“Ricky and Kibbs (Chris Kibble) have stepped up to make sure that we are in a very strong position at this early stage of the off-season, and things are building nicely. We’re all continuing to push together, in the same direction, to make sure we are strong and ready to make a real impact in the first game against Richmond.”