Hot Spot experience gives Liam the inside edge

Photo caption: Quality’s Liam Holland once operated cricket’s Hot Spot camera for a series of One Day International matches at Adelaide Oval.

WHEN asked the question “what was your first paid job”, Quality’s Liam Holland has a quirkier answer than most.

Prior to joining the family‑owned company, the 23‑year‑old’s first “office” just happened to be one of the most idyllic settings imaginable, the world‑famous Adelaide Oval.

His job? Operating the Hot Spot camera for a number of One Day International cricket matches between Australia, Sri Lanka and India in 2012.

Hot Spot is an infrared imaging system used in cricket by umpires to determine whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad, utilising technology developed in the military for tank and jet fighter tracking.

The system, first used in international cricket in 2006, takes continuous feeds from two cameras, positioned on opposite sides of the ground above the field of play.

Liam said he got the job through one of his teachers at Adelaide’s Rostrevor College, the same school which Hot Spot inventor Warren Brennan also graduated from in 1982.

“He needed to put forward three names for the job, and luckily myself and two mates got it,” he said.

“It was pretty straight‑forward to operate, you just needed to make sure the camera was focused on the striker’s end and adjusted at the end of each over.

“But concentrating for those long periods at that age was difficult, so you needed to stay switched on”.

Speaking to the Quality GroupHot Spot inventor Warren Brennan said the success of system was in no small part due to the operators who control the cameras for up to seven hours a day, and that he always pushed hard with broadcasters for young, enthusiastic sports fans such as Liam to be given that task.

“In the early days before DRS (Decision Review System) was introduced, the ICC (International Cricket Council) were concerned that using teenagers to operate the Hot Spot cameras could be a weakness of the system,” he said.

“I mentioned that I felt bright, young, enthusiastic cricket lovers would be more capable than anyone else of operating the cameras”.

Looking back, Liam said one of the highlights of the job was gaining access to the media tent, where employees of the host broadcaster Channel Nine and associated press would gather during breaks in play.

This presented the then 14‑year‑old with the opportunity to mix with a host of iconic figures from Channel Nine’s cricket commentary team such as Ian Chappell, Tony Greig and Bill Lawry.

Growing up in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills alongside his four siblings and graduating from Rostrevor in 2014, Liam joined Quality’s team in late‑2019.

Since then he has seen the livestock industry from all angles, gaining valuable experience working in the saleyard, on‑farm and administration.

“I’ve always loved the freedom of the country and personally found the livestock industry more interesting than say cropping,” he said.

“My goal at the moment is just to gain respect from my colleagues and people with in the industry, and be known as someone who is considered honest and reliable”.