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Why this year's Cheltenham Cricket Festival is special for Di Kingscott and Patesians Sports and Social Club

All Areas > Sport > Cricket

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 24th June 2024, 12:30

Di Kingscott is a big fan of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival Di Kingscott is a big fan of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival

For the best part of the next three weeks Di Kingscott will be spending much of her time at her third home.

The 83-year-old will be a fixture at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, just a big six-hit from her home in Charlton Kings, and just a slightly bigger hit from the Patesian Sports and Social Club in Everest Road, a club which has been her second home for many, many years.

And it will be at the ever-popular Patesians marquee at Cheltenham College where you will find her while the cricket festival is on, of course, a friendly face at what is, for many, still the highlight of the county’s sporting summer.

And this year’s action-packed event, which runs from Sunday 30th June until Friday 19th July, will be just that little bit more special for Di because it is 25 years since she first took over the Patesians’ hospitality at the cricket festival.

Hospitality has become ever more popular!

And it’s been some quarter of a century!

“At first it was just me, family and friends doing it,” she said. “We were all volunteers. But it just grew and grew.

“We had fewer than 100 people for hospitality when we started but now it’s 700-plus over the whole of the festival.

“We pride ourselves on making everyone feel welcome and making sure they all have a good time.”

Cheltenham-born Di has been a big part of Patesians life for well over half a century. She was introduced to the club by her late husband Ray, who played rugby for the Pats for many years back in the day.

The mum-of-three, grand-mother and great-grandmother has served the club in one capacity or another for much of her adult life and is a director of Patesians Sports and Social Club today.

She readily admits that rugby is her number one sport – her two sons played for the Pats back in the 80s, 90s and early noughties – but she says she does enjoy the cricket.

“I love watching it on television,” she said. “The problem is I never see a ball bowled at the Cheltenham Festival, I’m too busy!”

But while she may not see the players doing their stuff on the pitch, she’s very happy to welcome cricketers, past and present, when they visit the Patesians marquee.

“We had Jack Russell in the tent a few years ago, the first one after Covid,” she said. “He was there with a group of friends, he’s a lovely chap. And last year Heather Knight, the England women’s captain, called in – she’s a charming young lady and everyone enjoyed chatting with her.”

Di says she’s particularly looking forward to supporting the two women’s games – Western Storm play Northern Diamonds and The Blaze at this year’s festival – but whether she manages to see any play or not, she’ll still certainly enjoy the occasion.

“It’s lovely meeting every-one,” she continued. “There are lots of people you only see once a year, it’s like greeting old friends. It’s such a super atmosphere”. Indeed it is and Di has certainly committed to the festival over many years.

Festival takes priority

“I remember being on holiday with Ray and he wanted to add another week on so we could see some friends,” she recalled.

“I said, ‘We can’t do that, it’s the cricket festival next week’.”

So what happened?

“He went on his own,” she laughed. “I told him I’d got the cricket. If I take something on I want to see it through.”

And she’s certainly done that these past 25 years.

“Apart from the floods in 2007 and Covid when the festival was cancelled, I haven’t missed a day since 1999,” she said. “I plan to be there every day this year, I do it because I like it.”

And she has no plans to stop going any time in the near future, either, although she adds modestly: “I don’t do so much these days, I’m more of a supervisor, a meeter and greeter, although I still do all the bookings.”

Cheltenham Cricket Festival dates - Sunday 30th June-Wednesday 3rd July: County Championship Division Two, Gloucestershire v Glamorgan (11am). Friday 5th July: T20 Blast, Gloucestershire v Kent Spitfires (2.30pm). Sunday 7th July; Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Western Storm v Northern Diamonds. Wednesday 10th July; Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Western Storm v The Blaze. Thursday 11th July: T20 Blast, Gloucestershire v Middlesex (5pm). Sunday 14th July: T20 Blast, Gloucestershire v Glamorgan (2.30pm). Tuesday 16th July-Friday 19th July: Under-19 Test, England v India.

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