Steve Patterson insists Yorkshire’s current squad has genuine title potential – and he would love to help his current team-mates gain a snapshot of what it was like to win back-to-back County Championship titles in 2014 and 2015.
The county’s captain leads his side into an exciting final month of the season this Bank Holiday weekend.
Their clash with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, starting Monday (11am), is the first of the competition’s final group stage.
Yorkshire are amongst the top six teams pursuing the Championship title and the Bob Willis Trophy.
Each team plays four games, with the top team at the end of next month crowned the county champions. The top two teams will then play off for the Bob Willis Trophy in a five-day final at Lord’s.
Yorkshire will start bottom of the six-team group on 4.5 points as teams carry through half the points they accrued in initial group phase games against the team they qualified with from Group Three. That is Lancashire, who they don’t play again.
Warwickshire are top of the table on 21 points, Somerset second on 18.5, Lancashire third on 16.5, Hampshire fourth with 8.5, and Notts fifth with five. Then come Yorkshire.
The White Rose clearly have work to do in games against Hampshire, Somerset at Scarborough, Warwickshire at Emerald Headingley and Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. But the skipper sees no reason why something special can’t be achieved.
“We have such a good bunch of lads in the dressing room,” said Patterson.
“For the first time under my captaincy, I feel like we’ve got a squad capable of really competing for trophies. That’s what we all play for – to win.
“Seeing other lads I played with in that team (2014 and 2015), whether they be in or out of the game now, it was almost the highlight of our careers. It was a brilliant time winning back-to-back Championships.
“We were the best team in the country, and it was an amazing feeling.
“And I’d like these lads, because I know their ability and personalities, to achieve what we did.
“If I can help them towards doing that, it would be fantastic.
“I’d certainly like to try to win something else before I finish playing.”
Despite starting bottom of the group, Yorkshire head into the final phase having won five of their 10 matches – more than anyone else in country.
Patterson and co will be without England players Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and Joe Root due to Test duty, but Dom Bess will be available.
Patterson said: “To say we’re still having those struggles of losing players – the Championship team can change by three, four or five lads at a time – and to have picked up enough results to be where we are, I think it’s been a real achievement.
“We haven’t played anywhere near our best cricket in the Championship, not getting enough runs regularly, but we’ve found a way to win games.
“What comes in the next month, who knows.
“But we’ve certainly given ourselves a chance, and that’s all we can ask.
“We’ve got a big squad and will have a lot of lads fresh come September. So there’s no reason why we can’t give it a good crack.”
Hampshire won four of their 10 games in Group Two.
Captained by James Vince, they have former South Africa fast bowler Kyle Abbott as their overseas player. He is the third leading wicket-taker across the Championship this season with 43.
Yorkshire won by an innings and 44 runs on their last visit to the Ageas Bowl in April 2019, with Gary Ballance making 148 and Patterson claiming six wickets in the match.
Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Dawid Malan are unavailable due to their commitments with England in the series against India.
16-man squad to face Hampshire
Harry Duke (Wicketkeeper)
Steve Patterson (Captain)
A look at the opposition – HAMPSHIRE
Coach: Adrian Birrell
Captain: James Vince
Last year’s performance: Fourth (South Group)
2020 Leading runscorer: Joe Weatherley (263, 43.83)
2020 Leading wicket taker: Ian Holland (17, 17.47)
Overseas players: Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan 8 April-30 May), Kyle Abbott (South Africa, full season)
Key man: Kyle Abbott – The big fast bowler is back after missing last season and looking to repeat his superb 2019 campaign where he took 72 wickets at 16.19.
Flies under the radar: Joe Weatherley – Made his breakthrough in last season’s Bob Willis Trophy, the 24-year-old is primed for a big summer after putting himself through a gruelling winter fitness programme.
Best player under 24: Felix Organ – At 21, the Sydney-born all-rounder already has a County Championship century and a five-wicket haul to his name.
The Season Ahead: After a third-place Division One finish in 2019, hopes were high for the 2020 season. However, with Covid-19 keeping overseas players away and a ruptured Achilles sustained by England allrounder Liam Dawson in the opening match of the Bob Willis Trophy against Middlesex, it proved to be disappointing finish in a truncated year. Abbott and the newly-signed Abbas will pose plenty of problems for opposing batsmen. But the pressure will be on Vince, Sam Northeast and the highly-rated Weatherley to provide the runs to steer the club to a first County Championship title since 1973.
• Of the last 20 County Championship matches between these two sides, 15 have finished in draws. Yorkshire have won four and lost one of the remaining five.
• Hampshire’s last win on their home ground against Yorkshire was in 2008.
• When Yorkshire won both County Championship matches against Hampshire in 2015 it was their 14th double against these opponents. Hampshire’s only double against Yorkshire was in 2006.
• Hampshire’s highest individual innings in these matches – 300 not out by Michael Carberry in 2011 – is the only triple-century scored against Yorkshire for any county in the official County Championship (from 1890). Yorkshire’s highest against Hampshire is 302 not out made by Percy Holmes at Portsmouth in 1920.
• The third-wicket partnership of 523 which Carberry shared with Neil McKenzie in the same innings is the highest for any wicket against Yorkshire for any opponent. Yorkshire’s highest stand against Hampshire is 347 scored by Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe (131) for the first wicket at Portsmouth in 1920.
• Hampshire is the only county, other than Durham, against which no Yorkshire bowler has ever taken a hat-trick.
HOW TO FOLLOW
You can keep up to date with proceedings via the live stream that will be available on yorkshireccc.com. There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre. Highlights will also be available shortly following each days play.