KEVIN Cantwell celebrates his 80th birthday on Monday.
Yesterday the former top- level cricketer and baseballer was in Tamworth organising the Interport Masters for another tilt at Tamworth Baseball Association’s June Carnival.
His family and friends had celebrated his birthday earlier this week with a surprise party at his Brisbane home.
It attracted former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell, his younger brother Trevor Chappell and former Test cricketers Carl Rackemann, Jeff Thomson and Dougie Walters.
Interport Masters stalwart Peter Dutton, a former Queensland rugby league centre and State junior coach, was at the surprise party.
“They were all there for Craze,” he said of his good mate.
“And we’ll have a bit of a party for Craze down here.
“We’ve got cake organised and have a bit of a show at the South Bowlo on Saturday afternoon.
“We usually go to the races but they aren’t on until Tuesday so we’ll have a bit of a punt at the South Bowlo.”
Dutton said the Interport Masters had been coming to Tamworth for around 15 years.
“We won a couple of B Grade titles and thought we should go up to A Grade,” he said.
“We found it a bit tougher so started inviting a few of these good young kids along.”
The Interport Masters actually started life as the Crocodiles.
They were a team organised by Cantwell to play in the 1994 World Masters.
“We played in the Over 40s and won the gold medal,” Dutton said.
“We’ve won 11 gold medals since at Australian Masters and the Alice Springs Masters.
“We haven’t played in Alice Springs for a while now.
“Last time we did, Ian Chappell was over 60 and played and we still won the Over 35s.”
He said the Interport Masters come from everywhere to join in with the Tamworth- based Interport Master Ray “Pancho” McDougall.
“There’s also Mick Aldiss playing here in Tamworth now too.
“He had four hits here last week and he’s joining us tonight.
“He used to live and play in Geelong and play with us but has moved up this way somewhere now.”
As is usual, the Interport Masters bussed it to Tamworth overnight and then teed off from 8am in a regular golf game at Tamworth Golf Club yesterday.
They play for the KC Cup (Kevin Cantwell Cup) and this year it was won by John “Bocka” Boothby and Brad Wise.
They had a one over par round and were well helped by Dutton and this writer to their success with some thrilling and challenging shot- making.