hat trick


A hat-trick in sports is associated with succeeding at anything three times in three consecutive attempts. In North America it is often rendered as hat trick, with no hyphen. (The Oxford English Dictionary lists it unhyphenated and gives a variety of examples published in the 19th and 20th centuries both with and without the hyphen.)


A hat-trick occurs in cricket 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 be three consecutive deliveries by the individual bowler. 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 treasured by bowlers. The term was first used to describe HH Stephenson's feat in 1858 and was used in print for the first time in 1878. In Test cricket history there have been just 37 hat-tricks, the first achieved by Fred Spofforth for Australia against England in 1879, and the most recent by Ryan Sidebottom for England against New Zealand in 2008. 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.

In One Day International cricket there have been 24 hat-tricks up to March 28 2007, the first by Jalal-ud-Din for Pakistan against Australia in 1982, and the most recent by Lasith Malinga for Sri Lanka against South Africa at the ICC World Cup 2007. Three players have taken two one-day international hat-tricks in their careers: Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan and Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka. (Akram therefore has four international hat-tricks in total).

In Twenty20 International Cricket, Brett Lee of Australia had a hat-trick against Bangladesh in the Super Eight of the Twenty20 World Cup on September 16, 2007 in South Africa.

Taking two wickets in two consecutive deliveries is occasionally known as a brace, or (more commonly) being on a hat-trick. This is only a run-up to the hat-trick. If a hat-trick is not achieved, it is not called a brace.

Four wickets in four balls is referred to in cricket literature and record books as four in four but the term double hat-trick has also been used in the media, as it will contain two different sets of three consecutively dismissed batsmen. It has only occurred once in international one-day cricket, in the 2007 World Cup, when Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga managed the feat against South Africa by dismissing Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini, though it has occurred on other occasions in first-class cricket. Kevan James of Hampshire took four wickets in four balls and scored a century in the same county game against India in 1996. The Cricinfo report on the game claimed that this was unique in cricket.

Albert Trott and Joginder Rao are the only two bowlers credited with two hat-tricks in the same innings in first class cricket. One of Trott's two hat-tricks, for Middlesex against Somerset at Lords in 1907, was a four in four.

While all hat-tricks are rare and prized, some examples are particularly extraordinary. On the 2 December 1988 Merv Hughes playing for Australia wrapped up the West Indies innings by dismissing Curtly Ambrose and Patrick Patterson with consecutive balls. When Hughes returned to bowl in the West Indies second innings he trapped Gordon Greenidge lbw with his first ball, completing a hat-trick over two different innings. But the most prolonged and involved hat-trick was perhaps when Melbourne Club cricketer Stephen Hickman, playing for PowerHouse, achieved a hat-trick spread over three overs, two days, two innings, involved the same batsman twice, and was observed by the same non striker, with the hat-trick ball being bowled from the opposite end to the first two. In the Mercantile Cricket Association C Grade semi final at Fawkner Park South Yarra in Melbourne, Gunbower Cricket Club were 8 for 109 when Hickman came on to bowl his off spin. He took a wicket with the last ball of his third over and then bowled number 11 batsman Richard Higgins with the first ball of his next over to complete the Gunbower innings, leaving Chris Taylor the not out batsman. Powerhouse scored 361 putting the game out of reach of Gunbower. In the second innings opener Taylor was joined by Higgins at the fall of the fourth wicket as Hickman returned to the attack. With his first ball, observed by an incredulous Taylor at the non-strikers end, he clean bowled Higgins leaving Higgins with a pair of golden ducks.


In marbles, a hat-trick occurs when a player hits all marbles in a single turn.


In both field hockey and ice hockey a hat-trick is when a player scores three goals in a game. Although people may consider a hat trick as three goals scored in a row, this is commonly confused with a natural hat trick (below).

If a member of the home team in ice hockey scores a hat-trick, fans acknowledge it by throwing their own hats from the stands onto the ice, often causing a delay in play. This custom was started in Guelph, ON, in the fifties when the then farm team of the New York Rangers was the Guelph Biltmore Madhatters, whose sponsor was Biltmore Hats, a leading manufacturer of hats with North American dominance. The sponsor would award any home team player with a new hat whenever three goals were scored by the same player. This tradition followed into the NHL with Sammy Taft, a Canadian businessman who died at 81 on January 2, 1994. Mr Taft would offer a hat from his Toronto shop for any player who scored 3 times in a game (the 'hat' trick) at Maple Leaf Gardens. Fans throughout the league soon followed his lead and offered their hats to the player as well, throwing them onto the ice.

In 1996, the Florida Panthers fans celebrated goals (not just hat-tricks) by throwing plastic rats onto the ice, which were then cleaned up by men dressed in Orkin exterminator outfits. The history of this goes back to an incident in December 1995, when Scott Mellanby scored what teammate John Vanbiesbrouck dubbed a "rat trick" after ridding the Panthers' locker room at Miami Arena of an unwanted rat with his stick on the same night he scored a pair of goals. When Mellanby scored a hat trick in a later game some fans threw plastic rats on the ice, mimicking the octopus thrown by Detroit Red Wings fans, and the practice soon became universal for Panthers home goals. 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, but specifically allowed the traditional throwing of hats to continue. There appears to be some leeway with regards to what can be thrown onto the ice following a hat trick, as witnessed after the Nashville Predators' Paul Kariya scored a hat trick on April 18, 2006, when two catfish were thrown on the ice and no penalty was given.

Former Blackhawk Bill Mosienko holds the NHL record for scoring the fastest hat trick, scoring 3 goals in 21 seconds against the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952.

A natural hat trick is when a player scores either a) a goal in each of the three periods, b) three goals in one period, or c) three of his team's goals in succession in one game, with the one involved player scoring all three goals in a row, without anyone else from their own team, or the opponent's team, scoring a goal in-between.

A player accomplishes a Gordie Howe hat trick by scoring a goal, getting an assist, and getting in a fight, all in the same game (though Howe himself only recorded one in his career). While this description has remained popular, it doesn't satisfy the conditions of a hat trick.

Mario Lemieux once accomplished what was unofficially referred to as a "Mario Lemieux hat trick" in 1993, by receiving radiation treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma the day of the game, and then scoring a goal and an assist that night against the Philadelphia Flyers. He has also recorded a "5-goal hat trick" (or the "ultimate hat trick", or a "quintella", or a "Texas Hat Trick", or "Lemieux Cycle") in which he scored in five possible game situations (before the 2005-06 season started) in one game, on December 31, 1988, against the New Jersey Devils. He scored on a powerplay, short handed, even strength, penalty shot and an empty net goal. Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla came close on February 23, 2003, against the Phoenix Coyotes: he scored on a powerplay, shorthanded, even strength and an empty net goal, but Mario Lemieux is the only player to score the "quintella" in NHL history.

With the addition of the tie-breaking shootout in the NHL as of the 2005-06 season, a sixth possible scoring mode has likely been added.

Association football

There are differing interpretations as to the exact criteria of a valid hat-trick, but it is commonly held that a hat-trick occurs in association football when a player has scored three goals in a single game. The goals may be scored at any point in the match, including normal, stoppage, or extra time. In common with other official record-keeping rules, goals in a penalty shootout are excluded from the tally.

There also exists several variations of the definition, including the "Flawless (or German)" hat-trick, which differs in that all three goals must be scored consecutively within one period of play. Another variation is the "Perfect" (also known as the "Golden" or the "Classic") hat-trick . This is accomplished by scoring one goal with each foot and one with the head. Recent examples of this are Mikael Forssell's perfect hat-trick for Birmingham City against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2008 and Gabriel Agbonlahor's perfect hat-trick for Aston Villa against Manchester City on August 17 2008 and, most recently, Emmanuel Adebayor 's perfect hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers on 13th September 2008.Adebayor scored hat tricks home and away against Derby County F.C. the previous season.

Reading F.C. star Kevin Doyle was a goal short of a hat trick of hat tricks in September 2008's Football League Championship.

Peter Crouch returned to action after an operation for a broken nose and scored the first hat-trick of his club career, against Arsenal in a 4-1 Liverpool victory. This was a "Perfect Hat-Trick" consisting of goals scored from his right foot, left foot and head.

It has become traditional for the scorer of a hat-trick to claim the match ball as a personal souvenir of the feat.

The world record for fastest hat-trick belongs to former Ross County player Tommy Ross, who scored three goals in 90 seconds, versus Nairn County F.C. in Victoria Park in 1964. James Hayter holds the record for the fastest English Football League hat-trick coming on as an 84th minute substitute for A.F.C. Bournemouth against Wrexham A.F.C. netting 3 goals in less than 140 seconds. Robbie Fowler currently holds the fastest hat-trick in Premiership history by scoring 3 goals within 4 minutes and 33 seconds for Liverpool against Arsenal in 1994. Nigel Clough scored a hat-trick in exactly 4 minutes in the old First Division (the highest league in English football before the advent of the Premier League) for Nottingham Forest against Queens Park Rangers in the 1987/88 season. Also Fenerbahçe's player Mateja Kezman has a record by scoring in 4 minutes against Alanyaspor in January 2008.

The fastest hat trick in the history of Major League Soccer belongs to Harut Karapetyan (then of the Los Angeles Galaxy), who completed it in roughly five minutes in a June 1998 match against the Dallas Burn. The Galaxy won the match 8-1.

In World cups Sandor Kocsis (1954), Just Fontaine (1958) and Gerd Müller (1970) scored two hat-tricks in the same World Cup. Gabriel Batistuta scored hat-tricks in two world cups (1994 and 1998) Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick in the 1966's Final. In the 2006 World Cup no hat-tricks were scored.

Seven players have scored a hat-trick in the UEFA European Football Championship. Of those seven, Michel Platini is the only player to have scored two hat-tricks (against Belgium and Yugoslavia), both in the group stage of Euro 1984. David Villa scored a hat trick at the Euro 2008 compitition in Austria and Switzerland for Spain against group rivals Russia, a game which Spain won 4-1.

Dennis Bergkamp scored a memorable hat trick against Leicester City in September 1997. The hat trick of goals were the top three in the Match of the Day Goal of the Month competition for that month; a unique achievement.


In both codes of rugby football (rugby union and rugby league) a hat-trick is scored if a player scores three or more tries in a game. In rugby union. a related concept is that of a "full house" (scoring a try, conversion, penalty goal, and drop goal) in a single game.

As with football it is traditional for the player to be awarded the match ball after scoring a hat-trick.


When one batter strikes out three times in a single baseball game it is sometimes jokingly referred to as a hat trick. Four strikeouts in one game is referred to as a golden sombrero, five strikeouts in one game is referred to as a platinum sombrero, and six in one game is known as a Horn, after Sam Horn of the Baltimore Orioles who accomplished the feat in an extra-inning game in 1991. Alex S. Gonzalez of the Toronto Blue Jays tied the record in 1998. The original hat trick in baseball is an actual achievement, known as "hitting for the cycle." This involves a player hitting a single, double, triple, and home run during a game.

Auto racing

In auto racing, a hat trick is attained by a driver who (1) wins a race (2) from pole position while (3) garnering the fastest recorded lap of the race. If a rider/driver leads the most laps during the race, in conjunction with winning the race, starting from pole and setting the fastest lap, this would be considered a double hat trick. This is also known as a "Clean Sweep" in short track racing; Fast time, win the heat race & win the feature all in one night.

Computer games

A hat-trick is featured in Unreal Tournament 2004 Capture the Flag if one player captures the flag three times. These three captures need not be consecutive. Unreal Tournament 2003 (and Unreal Tournament 2004) also uses this term to signify when a single player scores 3 times in a row in Bombing Run using the 7 point method. Unreal Tournament 3 also uses this to signify 3 consecutive captures in standard and Vehicle CTF.


A hat-trick in lacrosse is when a player scores three goals in one game. However, since lacrosse is so high-scoring, the accomplishment is not as rare as in hockey, and numerous players may pick up hat-tricks in the same game.

In 2004, Colorado Mammoth announcer Willie B used the phrase "sock-trick" to describe a player scoring six goals in a game. When Mammoth superstar Gary Gait scored six in a game against the Anaheim Storm, fans threw socks onto the playing surface, earning a delay of game penalty to Colorado (ironically served by Gait himself).


Eliminating three players from a table with one hand in poker is sometimes referred to as a hat-trick and is exceedingly rare.

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