Club legend Steve Patterson is preparing to bring down the curtain on a Yorkshire career which has brought him and the county’s supporters so much joy.
Patterson will play his 343rd game across all formats for Yorkshire, the 38-year-old scoring 3,005 runs and, more importantly, taking 666 wickets with his ‘never let you off the hook’ seamers.
The 38-year-old’s first-class career has yielded 487 wickets in 184 games, and a few more in Monday’s final round clash with already relegated Gloucestershire at Headingley (10.30am) will go a long way to help the club stave off LV= Insurance County Championship relegation.
Yorkshire are 15 points clear of second-bottom Warwickshire, who host Hampshire at Edgbaston, and know a 10-point haul will see them safe no matter what the Bears do.
“There’s still a bit going on for us in terms of needing some points to stay up,” said Patterson, who captained the side to a season opening victory at Bristol in April, their only Championship win so far.
“Hopefully I can make a contribution to the outcome we want.”
Patterson is desperate to give the county’s members and supporters one last thing to cheer having brought them delight by contributing heavily to back-to-back Championship title wins in 2014 and 2015.
“I love playing at Headingley, and the members have always been very good to me. I’ll always be grateful for that,” he continued.
“I hope in me they see someone who has given the very best I can for this club.
“I’ve never been an international standard player, I’ve never been a world beater. But I’ve always tried to give 100 percent. That’s all I can offer.
“Over the years, I’d like to think I’ve justified my place in the team and have made valuable contributions when needed.
“For a medium paced bowler who doesn’t swing the ball and is not particularly exciting to watch, to have played 350 games for Yorkshire and to have 650-700 wickets, that’s something I’m very proud of.
“It’s been a strange feeling these last few games knowing that, in a sense, I’m no longer wanted here. It’s been a funny old dynamic. But, as I said when I stepped down from the captaincy, I’m available for the rest of the season and will give my all to help the teams win games.”
Helping Yorkshire win games was exactly what he did in 2014 and 2015 – with great success.
And that brings us to career highlights wearing the white rose on his chest.
“The two Championship-winning years were the best of my career by far,” he said. “We were a phenomenal team then.
“I believe that team we had in 2014 in particular would beat any other county team I’ve ever played against. It was fantastic and just a pleasure to play in.
“We covered every base. We had Root, we had Bairstow, Ballance, Kane Williamson, Lythy, Leesy. We had amazing depth in the batting. Rash, Bres, Liam Plunkett coming in at eight. Obviously Galey as well, one of the best captains this club has had in 50 years.
“Brooksy and Siddy with the new ball, they were as good as I’ve ever seen.
“I know we got record points in 2015, but I still believed we played better cricket the year before. We played some wonderful cricket.
“We got big scores, we made teams follow-on on good surfaces. It was a great team and a great bunch of lads. I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.
“Getting you first-team cap would be another highlight, being appointed captain – something which was never on the radar for me.”
Yorkshire have gone close to winning limited overs silverware in recent years – reaching the semi-finals of the Vitality Blast in 2016 and earlier this summer, for example.
But they have not sustained a Championship title challenge since narrowly missing out to Middlesex in 2016.
“As the years have gone on and we haven’t had the same strength in the squad, it’s been about trying my best to help bring the young lads through,” Patterson said.
“Look at Jordan Thompson, who I gave his debut and chose to pick him when he played T20, and how well he’s gone on to perform. I’m proud to see that because he’s such a lovely kid.
“Ben Coad, watching him from his first game up at Durham in 2016 when it was flat and people thought he had no pace. Then he came back next year, got three five-fors in the first two games and has never looked back. His record now is one of the best in the country.
“Harry Brook, obviously, is going to be an outstanding cricketer, one of England’s best we hope.
“That’s where I’ve taken pleasure from in the last few years – not myself or my own performances. As long as I can contribute, it’s been about helping those boys the best I can.”
While there may be a few tears shed both inside and outside the boundary rope over the next few days as the club bids farewell to a favourite son, it may of course not be the last we see of the soon to be 39-year-old because he is yet to announce his retirement for the game.
“I don’t know what I’ll do,” he added. “I’m still undecided.
“Part of me says that I’ve proved I can still perform against the best teams at this standard in Division One over the last few games.
“But another part of me wonders whether I’ve still got the appetite to play for somebody other than Yorkshire, for whom it’s always been my dream to play for.
“I’m still trying to take my time to weigh up those decisions, and hopefully I’ll make them quite soon.”