STEVE PATTERSON says that reaching a Lord’s final would be the icing on the cake of his Yorkshire career.
The club’s new captain was part of the County Championship-winning teams of 2014 and 2015.
But he was only an Academy player when Yorkshire last graced a Lord’s final in 2002 – three years before he made his first-team debut.
The 34-year-old will finally achieve his dream if Yorkshire beat Hampshire in their Royal London Cup semi-final in Southampton today.
“I was on the Yorkshire Academy the last time we went to a Lord’s final, and I remember that we all got the bus down to watch,” said Patterson.
“I remember that the likes of Mags (Anthony McGrath) were playing for Yorkshire at the time, and we all had an enjoyable day out as we beat Somerset (in the old Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy).
“It’s one of those things, after winning a couple of Champos (Championship titles), that would be fantastic to experience as a player this time.
“Getting to a Lord’s final would kind of tick all the boxes for me really, and the fact that the final is moving to Trent Bridge after next year obviously means that we’re running out of time.”
Yorkshire have a wretched semi-final record, having lost 17 of their last 20 in List A cricket dating back to 1979. But although they go into this match as underdogs, owing to the absence of their England players involved in the one-day series against Australia, Patterson believes that they can defy their status as near-miss specialists.
“We’ve got a pretty inexperienced side, but the young lads helped us win the quarter-final against a very strong Essex team, so we’ve got to back ourselves, haven’t we?” he said.
It’s a huge honour to be captain, and, from what I’ve learned so far, the main role is to be able to support and help your team-mates as much as possibleSteve Patterson
“It will be a good game; Hampshire won straight through to the semis (by topping the South Group), so have obviously had a successful tournament. But it’s a one-off game and if someone comes off, if someone plays a blinder, then we can definitely win. It’s a Lord’s final at stake, so our lads will be right up for it.”
Perhaps this will finally be Yorkshire’s year, with Patterson having led the side to five straight wins. A young team are playing with confidence and no hint of fear, with Essex dispatched quite comfortably in the end – certainly more than the 25-run victory margin would suggest – as Yorkshire defended a score of 259-7.
“It was a great win down there, particularly after we lost two wickets in the first two overs of our innings and then were 40-odd for four,” said Patterson.
“At that point, you think it’s a tough ask, but Gary (Ballance) stood up as the senior batsman in the side and got a very important 90, and Jack (Leaning) helped steady the ship with a crucial 50.
“Matthew (Fisher) and Tim (Bresnan) put on a really good partnership at the end (adding 71 for the seventh-wicket in 8.1 overs), and that just swung it for us really.
“Instead of being a bit down, we went out with confidence when we went out to field and we knew that if we started well, we were right in it, and Matthew and Coady (Ben Coad) did a great job with the new ball.”
Patterson led by example too as Essex were dismissed for 234, returning his side’s best figures of 4-36. Twenty-four hours later, it was announced that he will continue as captain for the rest of the season after Gary Ballance – who had taken a short break due to fatigue-like symptoms – opted to relinquish the role.
“It’s a huge honour to be captain, and, from what I’ve learned so far, the main role is to be able to support and help your team-mates as much as possible,” said Patterson, who celebrated by signing a new two-year contract.
“I’d like to hope that people already saw me as a senior player and somebody they could approach, talk to or ask advice, and I hope the fact I’ve been made captain doesn’t change people’s relationships with me because it won’t for me towards them.
“Hopefully, they just see me as the same guy I was a couple of weeks ago – a senior player who will do anything I can to support and help them. Hopefully, collectively, we can go out there and have plenty of success.”
Hampshire are without leg-spinner Mason Crane and off-spinning all-rounder Brad Taylor, who are both injured.
Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Carver, Coad, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson (captain), Pujara, Tattersall, Thompson.
Hampshire (from): Adams, Berg, Dawson, Edwards, Holland, McManus, Northeast, Rossouw, Stevenson, Steyn, Topley, Vince (captain), Weatherley, Wood.