Steve Patterson and Andrew Gale both used the word “roller-coaster” in their descriptions of Yorkshire’s stunning one-run win over Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley.
Northants started day four on 94-4 chasing 220 and were reduced to 206-9 shortly before a mid-afternoon rain delay of 50 minutes.
Wayne Parnell’s 33 had taken the total to 218-9 with help of last man Ben Sanderson: “It was one hit with the field in, and I thought we’d win,” said Northants coach David Ripley. But captain Patterson had other ideas.
He had Parnell stuck on the crease and edging behind to a relieved Jonny Tattersall, giving Yorkshire a third win from four matches in this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship.
Their 20-point haul maintains their position of second in Group Three, six points behind leaders Lancashire. There is breathing space to chasing pack as they all aim for a top two finish.
“I’m not sure I can explain that,” said man of the moment Patterson after only the second one-run win against county opposition in Yorkshire’s first-class history. “It was certainly a roller-coaster.
“Looking back on it, we’re delighted to win because we haven’t played anywhere near the cricket we’re capable of. But what it has shown, the same as last week and the week before, is our team spirit and attitude.
“The way we keep fighting our way back into games despite how we start is a testament to the desire in that dressing room.
“At no point until it got down to probably four runs did I feel we were losing that game. I always felt we’d create one more opportunity.
“We don’t play our best cricket at times, but we never give in. Thankfully we’ve gotten over the line.”
Northants always had the edge in this low-scoring fixture, which started with Yorkshire bowled out for 206 in challenging batting conditions.
“I completely agree. Absolutely,” said Patterson. “We accepted it wasn’t a 350-400 wicket from the very beginning. But a par score would probably have been 260 or 270. We were quite a long way below that.
“Then, second innings, they only had a lead of 28, but we were two or three down before getting level.”
Yorkshire may have missed a couple of catching opportunities in the slips today, but they were largely excellent in there. In the first innings, seven of the 10 Northants wickets fell to slip catches.
“In terms of our overall numbers in the slips, we are very very good,” said the skipper. “The lads practice hard, and I’d guess we catch as many as anybody in the country.”
On his feelings as he prepared to bowl what proved to be the final ball of the game from the Emerald Stand End, Patterson said: “There was a lot of playing and missing in the whole game.
“Wayne played brilliantly in this game. He got 10 wickets and some vital runs today. But he probably played and missed at me 20 times.
“It was a case of just me doing exactly the same and hoping that at some stage he would nick one.
“I’d have liked it to have been a bit sooner, but I was delighted he did.”
The 50-minute rain break from 2.40pm with Northants nine down and needing 14 heightened the tension.
“It was probably better for us,” reflected Patterson.
“With them needing only 14 runs, they probably just wanted to get on with it.
“It will be a game we remember for years to come. It will go down as one of those special games.”
Coach Gale said: “I’m very proud and have just about caught my breath. My heart rate’s just coming down.
“I was trying to act cool and calm in that rain break when, actually inside, my heart-rate was up at about 160!
“It was also a great catch at the end from Jonny Tatts under pressure.
Of back-to-back wins when Yorkshire have conceded an innings lead, Gale said: “When you win by one run in that fashion, it gives you a lot of confidence. The lads are buzzing in the dressing room, but you can’t keep getting out of jail every week.”
Joe Root will be available for the next game against Kent, starting on Thursday at Headingley, as should Ben Coad following the pectoral injury which has ruled him out of the last three games.
Gale added: “Rooty is available and will come back in. That’s a great addition for us.
“I’m hoping Ben Coad will be fine. He’s ticked a lot of boxes this week. His record, especially at Headingley, speaks for itself. We want to get him in.
“We might have to rest some bowlers. There’s a few tired legs.”
Matthew Fisher and Matthew Waite still have some work to do before being ready for selection, but both will play in the second team this week.
Gale added: “They’re all on the road to recovery. I’m hoping in a few weeks we’ll have a full battery of seamers to choose from.”