Cricket NSW has paid tribute to former NSW and Australian spinner Bob Holland following his death from cancer on Sunday.

On Australia Day this year Holland, 70, was granted a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for five decades of service to cricket.

Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said Mr Holland was not only a fine player, coach, administrator and mentor but also a delightful man.

“Bob’s death is a sad loss for Newcastle, NSW and Australian cricket,” Mr Jones said.

“He was an inspiration as a player, not only because of his skills but also his persistence. He was first picked for NSW at the age of 32 and became a cult hero during the mid `80s when chosen for Australia at the age of 38.”

"I and many others will never forget Bob's performance at the SCG in 1984 against the West Indies, when the world's nicest man beat the world's most feared cricket team".

Holland took 228 wickets in 68 first class matches for the Blues and 34 wickets in 11 Test Matches for Australia.

Australia has produced just two older debutants, spinners Don Blackie and Bert Ironmonger, who were both 46 when they debuted for Australia in 1928.

Holland is also notable for being the last NSW cricketer to be selected directly from the Newcastle Grade Cricket competition. Every player since has had to play in Sydney first.

Cricket NSW chairman John Warn said that in addition to his career at State and International level, Holland made an enormous contribution to the game at grassroots level.

“Bob gave us an enormous amount of pleasure as a player and put even more back into the game,” Mr Warn said.

Holland’s contributions include:

•            427 games for Southern Lakes/Toronto Workers Cricket Club, where he took 1,127 wickets, including 67 five-wicket hauls

•            Holding all committee positions at Southern Lakes at various times, Culminating in 16 years as President

•            Regular contributions as a coach to Toronto Workers Academy, Hunter Academy of Sport, Hunter Sports High School, various Newcastle youth representative squads, multiple Newcastle Grade clubs, many Level 1 coaching courses and numerous young spin bowlers

•            Leadership in the implementation of MILO in2Cricket in the Newcastle region, which is the game’s entry-level program

He is a Life Member of Toronto Workers Cricket Club (1978) and Newcastle District Cricket Association and was also inducted into the Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame.

“We will miss Bob’s genial and warm-hearted nature,” Mr Warn said. “Our thoughts are with his wife Carolyn and family at this difficult time.

“Bob will forever be a member of the NSW cricket family.”