Tony Kingston Death, Obituary – Tony Kingston B.E.M., 83, died on July 12 and was one of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club’s closest pals. From 1990 until 2022, “Kingo” scored for the First XI. Tony authored a 1990s NCCC yearbook article about Leo Bullimer (1900-1950), the only longer-serving incumbent. He spent 75 years at The County Ground.
In January 1947, he watched the Cobblers play Preston Northern End in the FA Cup, and 18 months later, he saw the 1948 “Invincibles” play Northamptonshire. He wanted to see Don Bradman bat on his last tour of England, but “The Don” canceled the match and Lindsay Hassett captained the tourists.
After that, he watched as much county cricket as his other commitments—including in the choir of adjacent St. Matthew’s Church, where he was singing at a wedding when Frank Tyson made his mark against the Aussies in 1953—would allow. He spent part of his National Service in the Army working on “Operation Hope Not,” the state burial of Sir Winston Churchill.
He also played local cricket and football. For decades, conversations ended with “Carry on, Corporal!” Tony, Roy Wills, and Alex Johnston revived the County Colts squad in 1978. He umpired David Capel and Rob Bailey and managed teams for the Northamptonshire Cricket Association, relishing his annual journey to Cambridge for the Under-19s Festival.
After a bout of illness in 1988 forced him to leave the white coat, Northamptonshire’s then-coach Bob Carter persuaded his old friend to score for the Second XI and then the firsts after Bernard Clarke retired. “Kingo” was one of the most efficient and approachable “notchers” on the county circuit, and his scoring colleagues loved him.
As the former Chronicle and Echo skittles correspondent under the byline “Cheeser,” he always had a soft heart for the press and answered every statistical enquiry from a journalist, no matter how busy the scorebox was.
Until 2018, he missed only 66 overs of Northamptonshire’s first-team schedule. After missing a Take That concert and his sister’s funeral, he missed two sessions. He was fully committed to Northamptonshire and its players. As long as the hotel room had a kettle and teabags, an evening at the movies was a favorite vacation activity.
In a BBC interview after his retirement, “Kingo” named Allan Lamb as the most exciting player he watched from the scorebox, saying “it wasn’t so much the number of runs he scored, but the rate he scored them at.” His favorite match was the 1995 Championship victory over Nottinghamshire at Wantage Road, which featured a Lamb century.
He was at Lord’s for Northamptonshire’s 1992 NatWest Trophy win against Leicestershire and the 2013 and 2016 T20 victories at Edgbaston under coach David Ripley and skipper Alex Wakely. Tony missed the 2019 season due to illness, however he retired before the current season.
He presented the six-hitting trophy to Chris Lynn at the annual dinner and presentation evening in September 2022 and visited the ground several times at the start of the 2023 season. He was thrilled to earn the British Empire Medal in the King’s birthday honours list a few weeks ago, and his many cricket and non-cricket friends congratulated him.
Graeme Swann called “Kingo” “the greatest living Northamptonian.” Although we have lost him, and our thoughts go to Judy and the rest of the family, no one will quarrel with honoring the youngster who grew up in Regent Square and became a local icon.