Steve Patterson has reflected on an encouraging start for Yorkshire in LV= County Championship cricket as their campaign reaches the halfway mark across the next week.
Match number seven of 14 sees Yorkshire travel to the Ageas Bowl to take on second-placed Hampshire, starting on Sunday (11am).
Captain Patterson and co sit third in Division One on 90 points with five draws and a win from six games. They are 15 points behind leaders Surrey (105) and 12 behind Hampshire (102) in second place.
Yorkshire and Surrey are the only unbeaten teams.
“I think it’s fair to say that, without sounding arrogant, we’ve dominated most of the games we’ve played,” said Patterson. “Lancashire at home is the only exception.
“I always talk about come day four, are we going to be in a position to win? Other than Lancashire, the other five we’ve been in a position to potentially win.
“Sadly, with the pitches being so good – they haven’t deteriorated or spun, we’ve found it tough.
“You’ve also got to add in the fact we’ve had a less experienced bowling attack than we’d have liked. We’ve not had Coady at all and Matty Fisher for just one innings.
“It’s been frustrating to not have two or three more wins for the quality cricket we’ve played.
“But, at the same time, because of the points on offer for bonus points and more for a draw compared to what they used to be, we actually find ourselves in a decent position to say that we’ve only won once.
“We can’t be too disappointed even though you’re always striving for better.”
The thing which has pleased Patterson most has been the quality of his team’s batting, especially in the first innings.
They have posted first-innings totals of 376, 296, 571, 465, 379 and 449, and Yorkshire’s haul of 20 batting bonus points is the joint highest in Division One alongside Surrey.
“We’ve known historically that if we can get runs on the board, we can be competitive,” continued the seamer.
“Granted, the pitches have been pretty good for everybody. But the volume of runs we’ve scored is better than I’ve seen for a long time.
“Getting first-innings runs has been our Achilles heel in the past, but this year we’ve really dominated.”
Hampshire have so far won four, lost one and drawn one, including a 10-wicket win over Somerset at Taunton last time out in late May. The same week, Yorkshire drew with Warwickshire at Headingley.
“Before the season started, I looked at Hampshire and thought they’d be one of the really strong sides,” said Patterson.
“They were up there last season and have since signed Ben Brown from Sussex. That was a really good move because he’s a very experienced and successful player.
“To add a keeper who’s scored 20-odd first-class hundreds into that side, it makes them much stronger.
“But we’ve got a good record down there. We’ve won a few games there in the last few years.
“It should be a good game and a good test for us.”
Yorkshire last lost a Championship game at the Ageas Bowl in 2008, since then winning three times there and drawing on another seven occasions.
Patterson, 38, has been resting up since Yorkshire’s last Championship game in late May, not playing any T20 cricket and spending some time with his family.
He will field a team which looks a lot different to the last game against Warwickshire, with Dawid Malan and Joe Root definitely unavailable due to England commitments against New Zealand and the Netherlands respectively.
Yorkshire hope to field Harry Brook after being left out of England’s Test team to face New Zealand at Trent Bridge, while West Indies seam bowling all-rounder Dominic Drakes could also play.
If he does, it would only be the 24-year-old Bajan left-armer’s second career first-class appearance and his first since January, 2018.
“I’m not sure on Dominic. The coaching staff have seen more of him than me, so I’ll take their lead on that,” admitted the skipper.