A tall seam bowler and right hand lower order batsman, Patterson made his first-class debut in 2005 against Bangladesh A, having first played one-day cricket for his native county in 2002. Patterson attended Leeds University from 2002 to 2005, where he studied mathematics whilst playing part-time for Yorkshire CCC. Six first-class matches, up to the end of 2006, brought him 85 runs at 14.16, with a best score of 46 and two wickets.
Having secured a regular County Championship place in the side at the start of the 2010 season, Patterson is currently (as of July 2011) in his tenth year with the county, and has 84 first-class wickets at an average of 34.13. His one day batting average currently stands at 41.50, courtesy of twelve not outs in fourteen innings.