STEVE PATTERSON is warning Yorkshire that there is a limit to the number of times they can be comeback kings.
The captain is calling on his men to get their noses in front so they are not always having to play catch-up in games.
Yorkshire have conceded a first innings lead in six of their nine County Championship matches, including three deficits of over 100 runs.
However, they have lost only one of those six games and recovered to win two, delighting Patterson but also frustrating him in that they are having to draw on their powers of recovery.
Speaking ahead of today’s match against leaders Somerset at Headingley, Patterson said: “There’s only so many times you can be behind and expect to come back and win the game.
“We have found a way in games this season, but it’s been a challenge. There’s only so far you can come from behind and keep competing.
If you look at a lot of our games this year, we’ve clawed our way back from positions of being behind the eight-ball, but we weren’t able to do it in our last match against Essex and, unfortunately, it cost us.Steve Patterson
“If you look at a lot of our games this year, we’ve clawed our way back from positions of being behind the eight-ball, but we weren’t able to do it in our last match against Essex and, unfortunately, it cost us.”
Yorkshire’s eight-wicket defeat at Chelmsford – after they had conceded a first innings deficit of 120 – effectively ended their title hopes.
Although it is not inconceivable that they could mount a late surge, they would probably have to win at least four of their last five games and, in the process, take a couple of wins off Somerset, who they also face at Taunton in September. For Patterson, title talk remains optimistic for as long as Yorkshire remain inconsistent, particularly with the bat.
The club remains third in the table after defeat to second-placed Essex, however, albeit only five points above fifth-placed Kent.
“We’re nine games into the season and we’ve won more games than we’ve lost, so we’re not badly placed,” said Patterson.
“If we can get a couple more wins on the board in the last five games, then I think there’ll be some progress.
“To be honest, I’ve not really looked towards the title and for me it’s about trying to get more consistency into our play.
“Once we do that we can start thinking bigger picture.”
Today’s meeting with Somerset sees the return of two familiar faces in the form of spinner Dom Bess and pace man Jack Brooks.
Bess played four Championship games on loan at Yorkshire earlier this season and has been re-signed on loan for the first 10 matches of the T20 Blast, starting with Friday’s opener against Notts at Headingley.
Brooks, who left Yorkshire at the end of last summer, has not played in Somerset’s last two Championship fixtures, with the club fielding two spinners in Bess and Jack Leach, but he could return with Leach and all-rounder Lewis Gregory away on England Lions duty.
However, fellow pace bowler Craig Overton is also pushing for a return after a groin problem.
Patterson, who needs one more wicket for 400 in first-class cricket, is looking forward to seeing good friend Brooks.
“Brooksy is a close friend of mine and I’ve shared some fantastic memories with him,” he said. “Obviously the two Championship-winning years, and all the years that he spent at the club.
“It will be great to catch up with him over the four days and I just hope that he doesn’t get any of us out. Dom did nicely for us earlier in the season and he’s a great lad too, so it should be fun.”
Patterson hopes that Yorkshire can take advantage of Leach and Gregory’s absence as the hosts seek their fourth victory of the campaign.
Somerset have won seven of their nine games and lost only one – a 151-run defeat to Essex at Chelmsford last month.
“Somerset are a great side,” said Patterson. “At the same time, there’s no Gregory and there’s no Leach, so two of their major players are missing.
“We’re playing at home as well, and we know that if we play the cricket we’re capable of that we can compete with any side.
“We’ve done it, we’ve proved it, but we’ve got to do it now a lot more consistently.”