- Born 4 September 1975 Belfast
- Educated Belfast Royal Academy University of Ulster
- Occupation Professional Cricketer, Schoolteacher
- Debut 15 June 1996 v MCC at Malahide
- Cap Number 605
- Style Right-hand bat, wicket keeper.
- Teams Cliftonville, Surrey 2nd XI, Kent 2nd XI, Sussex, Bedfordshire, MCC
Andy Patterson, younger brother of Mark, was - and remains - a free scoring, stylish upper order - capable of scoring very quickly - and good wicket keeper, who wore the gauntlets in most, but not all, of his appearances for Ireland. Like his elder sibling, he showed talent as a top all round sportsman at that fine cricket school BRA, and was selected for the Irish Schools in 1994, playing in drawn matches against Wales at Pontraddulais and England at Wolverhampton. He was chosen as a batsman with Stephen Ogilby behind the stumps. Against Wales he came in at 4 as Ireland batted first and made a 34 in 75 minutes with three 4s. He and Kyle McCallan (81*) put on 74 for the third wicket. Andy then had one of his rare bowling spells when the hosts batted and took a wicket. A second innings knock of 22 helped Ireland set a stiff target. but Wales had little problem in drawing the match. Against England he made 11 and 0, falling to Alec Swann, elder brother of the England off spinning humorist in the first innings and to medium pacer Robin Martin-Jenkins in the second.
He also played interprovincial matches at youth level, being one of the NCU batsmen to impress in the tournament staged in Dublin in 1993. Against the North West at Malahide, his 45 helped build a reasonable total of 228-9 which proved far too much for the opposition who were dismissed for 109. However it was the NCU's turn to collapse when they met Leinster at Rathmines, Andy, with a solid 40, playing almost a lone hand against the left arm spin of Greg Molins, could not prevent his side, bowled out for 105 and going down by 8 wickets.
At Cliftonville he benefited greatly from the coaching of John Solanky. The former East Africa and Glamorgan player's youth policy saw exciting prospects such as Mark, Andy and McCallan move rapidly through junior ranks to first team level. When Cliftonville carried of the League title in 1995, their bowling owed much to Andy's keeping and his 20 dismissals.
At University he was an obvious selection for the Irish Universities side in 1996. Though he did little in the two day match against Ireland U21 in College Park, he played several useful innings in the British and Irish Universities Tournament which was held in the Thames Valley area later in the summer. Against English Universities Midlands, he and Mark were the batting successes as Ireland failed by 84 runs to chase down a total of 302-5. Mark, captaining the side, hit a robust 55* at 9 but Andy, who had gone in at 5, topscored with 65. He also had a good match in the commanding win over Scotland, making 30 at 5, helping Peter Davy (132*) add 61 for the 4th wicket. He then, keeping wicket, held three catches as Scotland, chasing 258 collapsed to 126 all out. At Newbury, against England South, he made 50 but Ireland's 186 was not enough to escape defeat.
Like Mark, his decision to try to make a career in county cricket, limited his availability in interprovincial cricket. However two innings stand out. For the Ireland Development XI against North West in August 1996, he topscored with 47 out of a total of 196, being one of the few to play Junior McBrine (4-22) with any confidence. McBrine was also in good form with the bat, but his team-mates were not and the Development XI had a 53 run victory. The following summer Andy played a key role in a 6 wicket win for the NCU XI over Munster at Castle Avenue. Thanks to a fine undefeated 98 from Ted Williamson, the Southerners reached 168-8. However with Andy topscoring with 54, NCU had little difficulty in reaching their target.
He was also a member of the Irish Development squad on three of its tours to England and, on one occasion, the Netherlands also. This, last for Andy, ambitious tour, took place in 1995. He finished in sixth place in averages with 121 runs at 24.20. In the first match, against the Sussex League side he together with Gus Joyce and Peter Davy rescued Ireland from a poor start but the final score of 196 was not a winning one. At the end of the tour, against the appropriately named Ducks CC, Ireland outplayed their hosts, piling up an impressive 312-7 with Andy contributing 45, his highest of the tour.
His attempts to establish himself in county cricket ran almost concurrently with his time in the Irish side, highlights of the latter are considered first. His 60 matches for Ireland brought him 983 runs at 17.87 with four 50s the highest being 73 on debut v MCC at Malahide. He kept wicket on 43 of these occasions, holding 43 catches and making 10 stumpings. He conceded 63 byes in the process and, currently, stands 6th in Ireland's all time wicket keeping list.
The MCC match was a high scoring affair which many felt Ireland somewhat gave away. Batting first they were dismissed for 243, with Andy at 3 being caught off former England paceman Tony Piggot for 7. The visitors, despite losing early wickets to Mark, replied with 307 but then had their attack taken apart by Angus Dunlop in an utterly dominant innings of 140. Andy helped him put on a then record 206 for the third wicket, though overshadowed by his partner, making an excellent 73 himself. However MCC chased down their target, winning by 3 wickets. They owed much to another former Test player, Paul Parker who hit a brilliant 129. Parker, like Piggot was a "one cap wonder" but, unlike the fast bowler, had not had to postpone his wedding to gain his solitary Test honour! The following season is best remembered for Ireland's Benson and Hedges win over Middlesex, in which Andy played his part with 24*, adding an unbroken 57 for the 5th wicket with the then unblemished and much admired Hansie Cronje, thus ensuring that he county faced a challenging total.
Ireland were brought down to earth in their next match v Somerset at Taunton, losing by 221 runs, Opening the innings after the hosts had amassed 349-6, Andy was the only Irish batsman to make any headway against the leg spin of Mushtaq Ahmed (7-24). In what was arguably his best innings for Ireland, he reached his half century, before the Pakistani had him caught. Later in the summer Andy made 69 against the England Amateur XI in the Triple Crown at Stourbridge. Though they had bowled England out for 209, Ireland lost by 19 runs. Six other batsmen reached double figures, but only Andy passed 20.
His fourth and final fifty was also in a losing cause, during Ireland's unsuccessful ICC Trophy campaign in Toronto in 2001. He was opening again, as a pinch hitting partner to Jason Molins. In the match against United Arab Emirates, the move seemed to have worked well. They put on 97 in quick time before Jason was out. However Andy followed him with the score on 101, having made 55 off 49 balls with six 4s and one 6. Ireland still posted a total of 283-7, but UAE were able to pass it with four wickets standing. Andy, however, conceded no byes in the reply
He had eight other scores of between 30 and 44*, sometimes failing to go further because of the demand as of his pinch hitting role. However some disappointment must remain that he was unable to convert any of these starts into something larger.
He was also a member of the Northern Ireland side in 1998, the one occasion in which cricket has been played in the. Commonwealth Games. Having to face the full South African side in their group, as well as a strong Barbados team, meant that the Ulstermen made little progress, but they did record a win over Bangladesh, in which Andy contributed 31, second top score to McCallan's 53*. NI reached 177, then bowled the opposition out for 63. With Alan Rutherford captain, Andy played for his batting alone.
His county career began with Surrey 2nd XI towards the end of the 1997 season, joining Mark in the side. He was to play a full season the following year. He met with some success, but never - in a side of talented players all vieing for promotion to the county side, did quite enough. He shared the wicket keeping duties with James Knott - son of Alan - who also bowled medium pace and, sometimes, John Batty, who was to have a long career in the first team. Andy's highest score came in his first match v Gloucestershire at Bristol, when, coming in at 5, he made 63 putting on 150 for the 4th wicket with the experienced left hander Darren Bicknell who made 244 as Surrey totalled 504 in response to the hosts 302-4 declared. The following season saw Andy make 261 runs at 16.31 in the Second XI Championship. His highest score, 59, coming against Essex in a match lost by 140 runs. He was one of several victims of medium pacer Darren Cousins, a man of four counties.
In 1997 Andy also had some success for the county in the Second XI Trophy, the one day competition. Thus keeping wicket against MCC Young Cricketers he held three catches, one of which sent back future New Zealand and - hopefully - Ireland batsman Hamish Marshall. Andy followed this with a hard hitting 41. Despite all his efforts, Surrey were always behind a rate of almost 6 an over. He was also on the losing side Kent at The Oval when he made 64 as Surrey failed by 7 runs chasing 237. His highest score in these matches was against Essex, 78 which helped set up a convincing victory. However he was not retained after the 1998 season.
After a brief trial with Kent in 1999, when he did take four catches in an innings v Northamptonshire, he joined Sussex in 2000. Perhaps this was not the best move for an aspiring wicket keeper/batsman as the county had also signed two similar players in Tim Ambrose and Matt Prior!. However Andy had one outstanding match against Worcestershire 2nd XI at New Road. After making 43 in the first innings, he hit a magnificent 132 in his second knock, before falling to left arm spinner Matt Rawnsley. Sussex only totalled 206. The next highest score was 29.
He also an extended run in the County Championship side, but failed completely with the bat, managing only 37 runs in 9 innings at 4.11. He kept wicket well enough in these matches taking 15 catches, including 5 in the match against Worcestershire at New Road, clearly a favourable ground for him, but his lack of success with the bat made it difficult to withstand the competition.
Released by Sussex, he began a full time teaching career in Bedfordshire, joining both brother Mark and James Knott, both also now in the teaching profession, in the county side. Playing three seasons from 2002, his contributions were often useful. For example in a low scoring match with Northumberland at Bedford in 2003, he topscored with 43 in a first innings total of 168. In a low scoring match this prepared the way for an eventual win by 138 runs. He was also seen to advantage in the One day Minor Counties Trophy competition. yet again, however, his best score came in a losing cause. Against Suffolk in the same season, he hit a topscore 73, sharing a 4th wicket stand of 104 with Knott (31). However their team-mates made little significant addition to the score, Bedfordshire being out for 165, thus going down by 51 runs.
He was also highly talented footballer, who kept goal for Glentoran, once scoring a goal against Linfield from a kick out, and Irish Universities.
Edward Liddle, January 2010. Updated April 2013