Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Adelaide Strikers: Bridget Patterson on WBBL|06, marathons and DIY mini-golf

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Photo Credit: Adelaide Strikers

With 73 matches as a Striker and a rapidly flourishing career within the ranks of South Australian cricket, Bridget Patterson is proof that success comes to those who turn up and work hard.

Still just 26 years of age, Patterson has been with the Strikers since day one, and recently signed a contract extension to remain in Adelaide for at least the next three seasons. The team’s third-highest all-time run-scorer, Patterson is at the peak of her powers and reminded the competition what she can do with bat in hand against the Sydney Sixers on Monday afternoon.

Walking to the middle with the Strikers in the difficult position of 2/5, shortly to become 4/14, Patterson’s knock included two sixes, two fours and a strike-rate of 200. Along with Katie Mack and Sarah Coyte, Patterson’s efforts ensured the Sixers had a decent target to chase despite a tough start.

The fixture was an unusual one for both teams given the inclement weather that has greeted rebel WBBL06 to date. In fact, for a large portion of the day, it appeared cricket was unlikely to be played at North Sydney Oval. As is always the case however, at the exact moment that Patterson let her guard down, everything kicked off.

“It was an interesting day, an interesting and a long day. We left the hotel at 12.15 because of the Sydney traffic and ended up getting there early. We got looked at strangely as we got our kitbags out; I think the ground staff thought we weren’t likely to play but thankfully we prepared as though we would play.

We ended up sitting around for a few hours; then I was actually laying on the physio bed, I’d been fully alert for the three hours waiting around, and I shut my eyes and was falling asleep. Of course, that was the moment Megan [Captain Megan Schutt] came in and said that we have a game and we’re starting in half an hour.

I hit a couple alright in the end so maybe I should have a nap before games in future.”

In a season set to be unlike any other that has gone before, it was inevitable that players would have to adjust to new routines in 2020. Currently, and for the duration of the season, all WBBL teams are staying at Sydney Olympic Park, creating a new dynamic for a tournament that usually travels the country. For Patterson though, it is an advantage rather than a concern; something to be used as motivation to perform.

“The village hasn’t changed much for us. We’re a tight group anyway, so the village life has seen us sticking together well. We have even created our own mini-golf course on our level so we can play putt-putt.

There’s a bit of talk about us not coming out to socialise, but I mean, we’re here to win, we’re not your mates. We’ll talk to you, but we are focused on getting the job done. It is different for sure though, seeing the opposition at breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Patterson is one of the most experienced cricketers in the group, but such is the talent of those around her, she still feels like an eager kid trying to absorb as much as she can. When asked if her role has evolved into that of a mentor, she is habitually casual and humble.

“I’m always there if younger players come and ask a question, but it’s funny, coming into this environment, I feel like a younger player. We have the likes of Suzie Bates, Staf Taylor and those international girls which changes the dynamic. I feel like a youngster again learning from them. But if someone wants to come to me for batting tips instead of them, I’m happy to take it!”

One of those internationals, West Indian allrounder Stafanie Taylor, has recently completed a mandatory quarantine period and has now joined the Srikers squad to tackle WBBL06. If the manner of Staf’s arrival in the village is anything to go by, as Bridget explains, then the veteran of more than 200 international fixtures might just be about to set the competition alight.

“It’s great to have Staf back; she was allowed out of quarantine at 4am the other day and she chose to leave straight away. The coach and team manager had to meet her in the lobby at about 5am, and because of the golf course we have set up here, dragging her kit bag to her room woke up half of the team. We were pretty annoyed until we realised it was Staf.

From the very first session she has been whacking them at training and hitting the spot with her bowling, so I think quarantine has her chomping at the bit to get out there.

An avid cyclist, reflected by the road bike in her luggage, Patterson has also turned her hand to long-distance running in recent years. In fact, a discussion with friend and former Scorpions teammate Lucy Williams has culminated in the two agreeing to run the Kangaroo Island Marathon in 2021.

Patterson hails from KI and speaks with pride when discussing the iconic South Australian location. Having already done much to aid recovery efforts since the devastating fires of last summer, Patterson sees the marathon as another way to give back to her home. There is clearly a little trepidation at taking on the mammoth task, but anyone with knowledge of Bridget as a person will have have no doubts in her ability to succeed.

“I don’t really know what has gotten into me. The KI marathon was cancelled this year due to the bushfires. I was speaking with Lucy and we decided to do it together next year. All the money goes towards causes related to the bushfires. It’s cool to be able to help raise money for something significant. A bit better than running 42km for fun, that’s for sure. It’s nice to have a purpose behind it.”

Back on field, the Strikers take on Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers this weekend and Patterson can’t wait. Buried within her kitbag for those fixtures will be a new piece of equipment, and in a warning for the opposition she says it is only in there because of 17-year-old Striker Darcie Brown.

With three wickets on debut bowling sizzling pace and consistent line and length, Brown has already shown she is one to watch this season, and Patterson reinforces that strongly.

“I’m glad she’s on my team. I have an arm guard this season just for training because, she is 17 and still learning her craft, but there are times when she sends them down in the nets and the thought of a broken arm crosses your mind.

I’m keen to see what speed she is actually bowling because she must be the quickest in the competition. She is steaming in and they are coming out quick. Three wickets on debut is unreal, it was great to watch.”

Patterson will be in action for the Strikers next on Saturday October 31 when the Adelaide side take on Sydney Thunder at Sydney Showground Stadium from 11.45am ACDT. The match will be shown live on free on Channel 7, Foxtel and Kayo Sports.  

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