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Encyclopedia > Hat trick

In sports, a hat-trick (more often rendered in North America as hat trick, without the hyphen) is associated with achieving something in a group of three.

The term was originally used in cricket, and was connected with the custom of giving a hat or cap to a bowler who achieved the feat of taking three wickets in a row. It may be connected with the concept of giving someone their "cap", i.e. acknowledging them as a regular member of a representative team. Another school of thought mentions that a bowler was challenged if he could take three in three. Hats were passed around to collect the odds. The bowler succeded, and collected the large amount of cash. Thus the term hat-trick could have been also derived from this event.



In cricket, a hat-trick is when a bowler dismisses three batsmen with consecutive deliveries. The deliveries may be interrupted by an over bowled by another bowler from the other end of the pitch or the other team's innings, but must occur within the same game. Only wickets attributed to the bowler count, i.e. run outs do not contribute to a hat-trick.

Hat tricks are very rare, and as such are highly treasured by bowlers. In Test cricket history, there have been just 35 hat-tricks, the first achieved by Fred Spofforth for Australia against England in 1879, and the most recent by James Franklin for New Zealand against Bangladesh in 2004. In 1912, Australian Jimmy Matthews achieved the feat twice in one game against South Africa. The only other players to achieve two hat-tricks are Australia's Hugh Trumble, against England in 1902 and 1904, and Pakistan's Wasim Akram, in separate games against Sri Lanka in 1999. Nuwan Zoysa achieved a hat-trick with the first three deliveries of a Test Match against Zimbabwe in the 1999-2000 season.

In One-day International cricket, there have been 19 hat-tricks, the first by Jalal-ud-Din for Pakistan against Australia in 1982, and the latest by Steve Harmison for England against India in 2004. Chaminda Vaas has taken two one-day international hat-tricks (against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh).

A bowler need not necessarily take the three wickets in the same over. If the third consecutive delivery bowled by him spans two overs or across the two innings in a two-innings game, he will be credited to a hat-trick if he manages to take one.

Taking two wickets in two consecutive deliveries is known as a brace.


In both field hockey and ice hockey, a hat-trick is when a player scores three goals in a single game.

In ice hockey, if a member of the home team scores a hat-trick, fans acknowledge it by throwing their own hats from the stands onto the ice, often causing a delay in play. In the mid 1990's, Florida Panthers fans celebrated hat tricks by throwing plastic rats onto the ice. The history of this goes back to an incident in which Panthers player Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the Panthers locker room with his stick. When Mellanby scored a hat trick in a later game, some fans threw plastic rats on the ice, and the practice became universal for Panthers hat tricks.

The NHL later responded by banning the throwing of objects onto the ice by fans, at the cost of a penalty for the home team; however, the league specifically allowed the traditional throwing of hats to continue.

A natural hat trick in ice hockey occurs when a player scores three goals in a row, in the same game without any other player scoring in between.

Association Football (Soccer)

In association football, a hat-trick is when a player scores three goals in a single game.

In most professional games, the scorer of the hat-trick is allowed to return home with the match ball as a souvenir.

Some regard a "true" hat-trick as one where the player scores with both feet and their head in the same match, though this is obviously very rare.

Scoring two goals in the same match is also commonly known as a brace.

Other usage

The term has migrated from sports usage into other colloquial expressions, in which it can mean any sequence of three similar events in succession.

See also



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