Paterson desperate to pick up silverware at Sandy Park
When he swapped Sale Sharks for Saints last summer, the Aviva A League trophy was probably not the silverware Michael Paterson had set his sights on.
But, with Northampton now out of the running for the Aviva Premiership play-offs and having exited Europe, it is the only prize on the horizon.
Paterson captained the Wanderers to a gritty 16-12 win against Saracens Storm on a freezing night at Franklin’s Gardens last Monday.
And the Saints second string will now head to Sandy Park to face Exeter Braves in the final, which will take place this afternoon (kick-off 3.30pm).
The battle between the Northern Conference winners (the Wanderers) and the Southern Conference table-toppers (the Braves) promises to be keenly-contested.
And Paterson is hoping his club can be the ones who prevail as they seek to give Northampton fans something to shout about towards the end of a disappointing season.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re on song for the final,” said the experienced lock.
“We’ve got to go there, play well, play smart, tick the points over and hopefully we can come out on the right side of the ledger.
“The boys in the A League are all pushing to get into the first-team and we all want to do that, but it’s nice to get some game time and it was good to lead the boys to the final.
“It’s a positive in what has been an up and down season for the squad and if we can bring home some silverware it would be a nice icing on the cake.”
Paterson arrived at Saints with a good reputation, having impressed for Sale after joining them from Cardiff Blues in 2013.
He was in the England squad to tour his native New Zealand in 2014, but has yet to win a cap.
And having recently overcome a back problem that hindered his chances of pushing for a regular first-team spot, the 30-year-old he will now look to kick on.
“You never want to be injured so to come back from that and get some regular game time in the A League is great,” Paterson said.
“Obviously the Premiership side hasn’t made the top four so that season comes to an end this week, but there’s a chance for the A League boys to play in a final.
“It’s great to be out there, getting your hands on the ball and making the tackles. That’s what you play the game for.”
Wanderers team to face Exeter Braves: Wilson; Elliott, Hutchinson, Olver, Collins; Hanrahan, Kessell; Beesley, Marshall, Denman; Paterson, Onojaife; Nutley, Ludlam, Bennett.
Replacements: Fish, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Parkins, Moon, Williams, Duschene, Furbank, Packman.