Ben Patterson believes this is his year.
The Dubbo all-rounder, who was Cavaliers’ marquee in last year’s Royal Hotel Cup, has just returned to Australia following a stint coaching Sweden’s largest cricket club Stockholms Akademiska Cricketsällskap, and has now taken on the head coaching role at Newtown Cricket Club.
“I haven’t made it to NSW Country yet,” he told the Daily Liberal.
But is that his goal for the year?
“No,” he added.
“I want to go a step further. I want to make the Australian (Country) side. I think I’m good enough and this could be the year to do it.”
They’re fighting words from a player who has grown in confidence in recent years, and has the accolades to back it up.
Patterson was named best batsman, best bowler and player of the tournament after his stint in the Swedish Cricket Elite 50 overs league.
But Patterson is not focused on his individual performances – however stunning.
Instead, coaching SACS’ women’s side “from pretty much nothing” to winning their competition undefeated was his “proudest achievement”.
He also learned a lot about the psychological side of the game, and said the experience of bringing together players from a range of cultural backgrounds – including some from war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan – was eye-opening.
I want to make the Australian side. I think I’m good enough and this could be the year to do it.Ben Patterson
“The cricket was very different … especially the reflection of different cultures, like their off-field life reflects on-field and sometimes that was the biggest struggle with coaching,” Patterson said.
“You could say the difference was entitlement.
“If there was a job to do on the field and … they weren’t doing it then it wasn’t good enough, I don’t know, they didn’t quite understand the team culture.
“But towards the end, when they learnt how to gel and stuff, it was pretty rewarding.”
They are all lessons he hopes to use to guide Newtown to glory in 2018-19.
“They say teaching is the best way of learning and instilling information in your mind. I think that was a key factor,” Patterson said.
“I think transferring that here to Newtown will be the key to our success as well.
“I am more confident this season for us taking the trophy home than I was last season.”
He flagged Jesse Spang – “a young all-rounder with a bit of raw pace and ability with the bat” – and Mitch Lincoln – “more of a batsman, a little goer in the field” – as the up-and-comers to watch out for in 2018-19, while he predicted former St George teammate Trent Smith would “take Dubbo cricket by storm”.
Personally, Patterson plans to continue to work hard on and off the field.
“I’d love to grow in the coaching, especially with the psychology part, off-field management both personally and with other players,” he said.
“I think on the field it’s just get clear, be a bit smarter as a player and watch the dividends pay themselves.”