Born on 28 January 1855 in Coddington, John Mills, a right-hand batsman and right-arm round-arm fast bowler, was elder brother of Edwin Mills (1857-1899) who represented Notts between 1878 and 1884 and Surrey between 1885 and 1887. John Mills spent most of his early life in Wollaton and was originally a joiner before becoming the landlord of the Rose and Crown on Derby Road in Lenton, where he lived until his death. He made an excellent first appearance with the XXII Colts in April 1873, scoring 24, and was then selected for the Next XV v Notts in June, when he again played a useful innings. In April 1874 he was once more playing for the Colts XXII. He represented Colts of the North versus Colts of the South at Lord’s in May 1875 and on 29, 30 and 31 July 1875 he made his First-Class debut for Notts v Gloucestershire at Trent Bridge, being dismissed in his maiden first-class innings for five by one WG Grace. In 1876 he played only for Notts Colts against Yorkshire Colts and in 1877 for Notts v XXII Colts. In 1878 he played eight First-Class games for Notts but achieved little of note. He played once in 1879 and had one final appearance v Surrey at Trent Bridge in June 1881. His complete First-Class record in 11 games for Notts was 116 runs @8.28 with a top score of 24 v Surrey at the Oval in 1878.
His only other First-Class matches were: England v MCC (Lord’s) in 1881, scoring 19 and 0 and Lord Hawke’s XI v Yorkshire at Horsforth in August 1885, scoring 5 and bowling 3-1-7-0.
John Mills played for many years for Wollaton and Lenton United; an accident caused his early retirement from the game. He died, aged 77 years, on 27 June 1932 in his seat during an interval on the third day of Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire Championship game at Ilkeston.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 145