Dutchy’s cancer decline rocks family, friends CONCERN: Carolyn Holland, far right, looks on as her husband talks to Lord’s Taverners Hunter branch chairman John McLaughlin, left, at Tuesday’s ceremony at Lambton Tea House. Picture: Simone De Peak

Dutchy Holland celebrating his first Test wicket with wicketkeeper Wayne Phillips.

HAPPIER TIMES: Carolyn gives Robert a congratulatory kiss after he was named in the 1985 Ashes touring squad, two days after NSW won the Sheffield Shield final.

LOYAL SERVANT: Robert Holland batting for the Hunter Lord’s Taverners against a Central Coast side in 2011 at Awaba Oval. Picture: Ryan Osland

Celebrating a wicket for NSW against WA.

Holland dismisses Indian great Sunil Gavaskar caught and bowled while playing for Northern at No.1 Sportsground in 1978.

Holland with Murray Bennett in 1985.

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald on Tuesday that he had deteriorated significantly since then.

“Totally shocked. We can’t believe that we’re in this position,well, he’s in this position. A healthy, fit man now just not there,” Carolyn said after Holland was presented with life membership by the Hunter branch of The Lord’s Taverners Australia at a ceremony inLambton.

The 70-year-old former Australian and NSW leg-spinner appeared frail at the function and had difficulty talking. He did not make a speech.

Carolyn hasbeen married to Holland for 47 years, and her husband’shealth struggles areclearly taking a heavy emotional toll.

Holland, who suffered a seizure 10 days after his surgery, has had radiation treatment and chemotherapy, but Carolyn said theprognosis was “not good”.

“They removed 70 to 80 per cent of the tumour and basically they’re just trying to keep it at bay. The last MRI showed that that was happening.

“But I spoke to the nurse, because I thought, ‘I need to know.’ She said 15 months is the most you could hope for.

“They can’t remove the rest of the tumour. It would affect his cognitive health even more. They took as much as they possibly could.

“The prognosis is not good. Just the deterioration in the last couple of days. He’s really struggling.I think people would be quite shocked to see him now.”

Carolyn is also dealing with an impending court case after she and Holland were attacked at Awaba Oval in August last year.

The alleged assailants are due in court this month to set a trial date.

“It’s the least of my worries now,” Carolyn said.

“Obviously Robert won’t be able to be a witness. They’ll just take his statement. I’ll be a witness.

“It’s all pretty awful.”

Holland made his Test debut in 1984 at the age of 38and famously spunAustralia to victory with 10 wickets against the West Indies at the SCG in early 1985.

He played in that year’s Ashes series in England and took another 10-wicket haul against New Zealand in Adelaide.He appeared in 11 Tests in all, taking 34 wickets, and in 95 first-class matches, most of them for the Blues, and was still playing state cricket into his forties.

HAPPIER TIMES: Carolyn gives Robert a congratulatory kiss after he was named in the 1985 Ashes touring squad, two days after NSW won the Sheffield Shield final.

Friends and teammates at Tuesday’s ceremony paid tribute to a player “without ego” and a genuine gentleman of the game.

FormerTest opener Rick McCosker, who travelled down the highway to Sydney with Holland twice a week for NSW training, said his friend was popular throughout the cricketing world.

“Especially the NSWguys he played with for a lot of years. They all respected him, called him ‘Grandpop’,” McCosker said.

“They’ll obviously be very sad. They’ve always respected him, not just the guys he played with but the guys he played against, whether it was for the Australian team or the NSW team.

“They’ll be shocked, actually. You always think that we’re pretty indestructible. You’ve gone through all things in your life and you’ve got to that top echelon so nothing’s going to stop you from keeping on living and beating these kind of things.

“But obviously there’s some things in this life that we can’t beat. It appears we have to accept the fact that there might be some things we can’t overcome nomatter how hard we try.

“I think from the wider community it’s important that he, Carolyn and the family realise there’s tremendous respect and support out there.There’s always hope, but you just never know. Some things are a bit out of our control.

“There’ll be a lot of guys around Australia and overseas who’ll be thinking about him and praying that something will happen, that he’ll get back to where he was and still be able to roll his arm over and hit the occasional one off the square.”

Holland last played for the Lord’s Taverners, a cricketing charity organisation, early last year.

The Southern Lakes life member and former president was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in January after decades of service to the sport as a player, coach and administrator.

“He’s already got a wonderful legacy of what he’s done. Nothing can take that away,” McCosker said.

The Herald, Newcastle