HE COUNTS as one of a select team of cricket tragics around Tamworth but Mike Cashman really does go into bat when it comes to getting runs on the board for his sporting interests.
The retired teacher still swings his bat on the field as an over-60s representative state player and is a solid backstop for the Tamworth Veterans cricketing fraternity.
This weekend he’s playing two roles – as a behind-the-scenes organising hand for the 18th annual Tamworth Collectors Show and Trading Fair and also as one of its biggest contributing exhibitors.
This year’s show opens tomorrrow evening and Cashman is in seventh heaven with the theme this year – the Ashes tour to England later this year was a perfect fit for showcasing everything cricket he could get his hands on.
He owns a few things but admits he’s not the number one collector in town when it comes to cricket – he cites a bloke he knows pretty well who has 1800 cricket balls and a few old Wisdens, the rare cricket bibles, among his lot.
Cashman will show an old Cobbett bat that dates from 1857, along with fast bowler Craig McDermott’s Test blazer.
The bat was used by Samuel Hopkinson in the 1857 season and he was the 57th player to represent Victoria and even played against the Poms before Test cricket was even in existence. The Cobbett was the brand that WG Grace played with 40 years later.
Last year’s themes for collectables was the Titanic and the Olympics so coming up with a contemporary yardstick for the show was a hard act to follow.
Cashman says the cricket influence is just a good fit especially for Tamworth which is a cricket capital where plenty of old fellas and those who have wielded the willow are increasingly coming out of retirement to play all over the place, so to speak, and in more ways than one.
Tamworth boasts a good sized First XI or so of rep players who are even travelling to the UK and New Zealand representing Australia – and even one at the ripe old age of 82 not out – certainly over the mandatory retirement age.
So, all things cricket are the centre of attention for this year’s show – but there’s plenty of other themed exhibits to find too, including fossils, shipwreck coins, demijohns, convict documents and Aboriginal artefacts.
The weekend gala is an annual event now organised by the Lions Club of Tamworth.
According to Mr Cashman, it features varied displays of collectables, surrounding an active central trading fair, and begins at 5.30pm tomorow going through to 2pm Sunday.
“Last year a Masters Collectables section was introduced, allowing wider frontage displays, and another innovation this year is ‘pre-loved’ artworks in the hall, where the public can bring in their priced artworks for display and possible sale,” Cashman said.
“Antique items can be brought in for valuation on the Saturday and Sunday with a qualified valuer in attendance.
“This will be supplemented by the presence of a regional library facility explaining their new Carters and Price It online valuation programs.”
Coinciding with this weekend’s Tamworth Show, the Tamworth Historical Society will have an impressive photographic display of local shows over the past 140 years, while three other local groups whose interests lie in keeping history alive, will also have displays.
The Film & Sound Archive, Family History Group and First Fleeters are among the exhibitors showing their wares.
This year marks the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia and the local chapter, who performed a re-enactment of the arrival of the white man to the shores of Port Jackson in 1788 at Wallabadah on Australia Day this year, will do that again on stage at the Town Hall just before the official opening of the show at 11am on Saturday.