Yorkshire v Warwickshire: Steve Patterson helps put on a show for Clifton Park’s support

THE scramble for prime positions began on the stroke of 9.30.

Supporters watch on as Yorkshire play Warwickshire at York's Clifton Park Cricket Club.
Supporters watch on as Yorkshire play Warwickshire at York's Clifton Park Cricket Club.

No sooner had the gates opened than dozens of spectators, many of them clutching their own seats, headed for the best views close to the bowler’s arm.

“It’s like OAP wars,” quipped one of the press corps, as some of the more senior devotees dashed around the boundary to claim the prize spots.

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All of which highlighted the pull of the Championship and of the Championship at outgrounds like this especially, with 3,021 flocking to Clifton Park to witness the continuation of the first first-class match in the city for 129 years.

Yorkshire's David Willey appeals.

In as pleasant conditions as this fixture is likely to provide, judging by the gloomy weather predictions for day three, the early-morning pilgrims were rewarded for their progress on a slow-burning second day.

Yorkshire started it on 208-8 in their first innings after an opening day on which 29 overs were lost to rain, hoisted their total to 259 all-out and then saw Warwickshire amass 192-5, Dom Sibley top-scoring with 67 and Steve Patterson taking 3-21 from 17 overs.

Come day’s end, it was then a case of “Traffic Wars” as motorists inched their way out of the solitary exit on to Shipton Road, where progress was slower than a geriatric pilgrim. At the same time, many grounds, Emerald Headingley included, would give their eye teeth for the car parking space on offer here, with the helpful stewards mirroring the professionalism of everyone connected with York Cricket Club.

Patterson, the Yorkshire captain, has long been a model of professionalism himself, building his reputation as a purveyor of relentlessly accurate wicket-to-wicket bowling.

Yorkshire's Steve Patterson celebrates dismissing Warwickshire's Robert Yates. Pictures: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

He is no mug with the bat either, often filling his glass with late-order runs, which he did once again.

When Patterson arrived at the crease on the first afternoon, his side were in a spot of bother at 145-7 following the departure of star man Gary Ballance.

Thanks in no small part to his 60, made from 108 balls with six fours and a six, Yorkshire hoisted a competitive score, Patterson falling four short of a career-best when he chopped on to Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who took 5-76 against his former club.

Patterson, 36 overnight, could not do all the work on his own and was grateful for the support of No 10 James Logan, who held out for almost two hours in compiling an unbeaten 20 from 97 deliveries.

It was a plucky effort by the 21-year-old left-arm spinner, making only his second Championship appearance, and his first in Yorkshire. Patterson, whose fourth first-class half-century this was, added 48 for the ninth wicket with Logan in 25 overs, their stand not broken until 85 minutes into the day.

Ben Coad was last out 15 minutes later, bowled by Hannon-Dalby, giving Warwickshire a tricky 20 minutes’ batting before lunch.

They negotiated it by reaching 23-0, although Will Rhodes, another ex-Yorkshire player, was dropped in the second over on one by Will Fraine at mid-wicket off Coad, a difficult opportunity as the ball died on him.

From the top balcony of the clubhouse, from where these ramblings were compiled, the lunch interval was rather dominated by a man with a microphone in the giant hospitality tent away at cow corner, who sounded like the actor Brian Blessed as his booming tones drifted on the wind.

He was auctioning such things as tickets to the forthcoming Headingley Ashes Test and prints by the former Gloucestershire and England wicketkeeper Jack Russell, who was present beneath a red gazebo beyond the square boundary opposite the scoreboard.

In easing batting conditions, the Yorkshire bowlers toiled hard and kept things tight, although the attack at times looked one-dimensional without pace bowling spearhead Duanne Olivier (hip).

Patterson was his usual miserly self and made another key intervention with three wickets to reduce Warwickshire from 139-1 to 148-4, the visitors having hitherto accumulated in patient manner.

Yorkshire’s only success in the afternoon session had come when Rhodes was caught with the score on 38, turned around by a ball from Coad that flew to third slip Jack Leaning.

It should have been 39-2 but Adam Lyth, one of the best slip fielders in the land, inexplicably dropped Ryan Yates on one off Patterson, a chance that he would normally snaffle in his sleep.

The cost to Yorkshire soon became clear, Yates, a 19-year-old left-hander making only his fifth first-class appearance, adding 101 with Sibley in 48 overs.

Patterson bowled Sibley off an inside edge midway through the final session, then had Yates caught one short of a half-century at first slip before pinning Adam Hose.

Lyth made amends by catching Matt Lamb in the slips off David Willey, leaving the game intriguingly poised and the Clifton Park devotees hoping that the weather permits a positive outcome.