John Wakefield Holder was born on March 19 1945 at the quaintly named Superlative, St. George, Barbados. He was educated at Combermere High School, Barbados and Rochdale College.

John is 6 ft 0 in tall and was a right-arm fast-medium bowler and right-hand bat. His nicknames were Benson and Hod. He played for Hampshire from 1968 to 1972. With his bowling he had a very impressive average (24.56) and strike rate (51.0). He took 55 wickets at 23.27 in 1970. His best bowling performance came in his final season, 1972, when he took 6/49 and 7/79 (match figures of 13/128) against Gloucestershire. A month later he took a hat-trick against Kent.

From 1974 to 1982 John plied his skills as a professional in the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues.

In 1983, aged 38, John became a first-class umpire. Just 5 years later, he stood in his first Test - England against Sri Lanka at Lord's. Over the next 3 years he umpired a further 9 Tests - 4 of these were with John Hampshire, for Tests between Pakistan and India, as one of the first neutral umpiring appointments. His last Test and ODI umpiring assignments were in 2001. John had the honour, for his last Test, of being an umpire in the Lord's Ashes Test of 2001.

John has strong views on the role of technology in cricket. Umpires, of course, do not have the luxury of multiple camera angles when they make their split second decisions. John is a believer that the authority of the umpire should not be diluted by the influence of TV.

He can regularly be heard on TMS giving an authoritative view on a point of cricket law. John often refers to "umpire field craft".

John is a man who is universally liked and respected throughout the cricket world. It will be a delight to welcome him to hear about our game from the point of view of an ex-player and umpire.

Ken Burney

Copyright © 2006-2020 Cheltenham Cricket Society and CricketArchive CricketArchive Cheltenham Cricket Society