Australian cricketer Robert Holland, who became the country’s third oldest Test debutant in 1984, has died at the age of 70.
The legspinner, nicknamed ‘Dutchy’, had been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer and died after suffering a brain bleed at Newcastle Hospital Sunday.
His death came just two days after he attended a function in his honour in Newcastle.
Australian cricketer Robert ‘Dutchy’ Holland (pictured), who became the country’s third oldest Test debutant in 1984, has died at the age of 70
The cricketing legend had taken part in the tribute night, hosted by former Test captain Mark Taylor, despite suffering a fall last week, according to the Newcastle Herald.
‘He had the best time of his life on Friday where he spent time with a lot of his mates at his dinner,’ Holland’s son Craig told the publication Sunday.
‘He showed no pain on the night and stayed till the end of the show. My family was amazed as we thought he might stay an hour or two.’
Holland made his debut for NSW at the age of 32, but did not play his first Test until six years later against the West Indies at the Gabba.
Only 46-year-olds Don Blackie and Bert Ironmonger in 1928 put on their first Baggy Green at an older age.
Known commonly as ‘Dutchy Holland, he would go on to play 11 Tests in an era of hard-men like Allan Border and David Boon.
The legspinner had been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer and died after suffering a brain bleed at Newcastle Hospital on Sunday. He is pictured here bowling during the fourth Test match between England and Australia in August 1985
His passing comes just two days after the cricketing legend took part in a tribute night to him, hosted by former Test captain Mark Taylor. He is seen batting here in a May 1985 match
A mild-mannered legspinner, Holland could barely hold a bat – averaging 3.18 in his 11 Tests and only once reaching double figures.
But his spinners helped unravel the might of the West Indies in spectacular fashion in a Sydney Test in December 1984.
‘NSW had played the West Indies before the Test series started in Sydney, on a turning wicket,’ Holland said in 2015.
‘NSW won outright … so we were thinking “wait until we get back to Sydney and we’ll see how we go”.’
The ageing spinner claimed match figures of 10 for 144 with Australia banking a then-rare triumph against its long-time tormentors.
Holland made his debut for NSW at the age of 32, but did not play his first Test until he was 38 – facing off against the West Indies at the Gabba. Holland is pictured the year after during a tour of England
The following summer, Holland took 10 for 174 against New Zealand, also at the SCG.
In total he claimed 34 Test wickets at 39.76 and was part of a NSW squad that secured three Sheffield Shield titles during the 1980s.
He continued for NSW until he played the last of his 95 first-class games in 1989.
But Holland continued on in lower NSW grades with Southern Lakes, now known as Toronto Workers’ Club.
He was club president for 16 years and also held posts as treasurer, secretary, coach and groundsman.
Holland’s input to the sport was acknowledged when he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to cricket in January this year.
He is survived by his wife Carolyn and children Craig, Rohan and Naomi.
The cricketer continued playing for NSW until 1989 (pictured in June 1985), before continuing on in lower NSW grades with Toronto Workers’ Club, where he later served 16 as President