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In sports, a hat-trick (or hat trick) is a feat of succeeding at anything three times, generally in three consecutive attempts.

The term was first used in cricket, to describe HH Stephenson's feat in 1858 and was used in print for the first time in 1878.


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 towards a hat-trick; run outs do not count.

Hat-tricks are very rare and as such are treasured by bowlers. 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 25 hat-tricks up to 3 April 2009, the first by Jalal-ud-Din for Pakistan against Australia in 1982, and the most recent by Andrew Flintoff for England against West Indies on April 3, 2009 in the fifth ODI of England tour of West Indies. 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 16 September 2007 in South Africa. Jacob Oram of New Zealand made a hat-trick against Sri Lanka on 2 September 2009 in Colombo.

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 2 December 1988, Merv Hughes, playing for Australia, dismissing Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of his penultimate over and Patrick Patterson with the first ball of his next over, wrapping up the West Indies first innings. 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 and becoming the only player in Test cricket history to achieve the three wickets of a hat-trick in three different overs.

The most 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.

At least one triple hat-trick has been achieved, in a New Zealand club match. This feat was achieved by Scott Babot of Wainuiomata Cricket Club playing in the Senior 3 grade. It consisted of five wickets in five balls, across two innings, and separated by seven days, as the match in question took place on two consecutive Saturdays.


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 single game.

According to Henri Henri hat store, between 1950 and 1970 when there were six NHL teams, the store rewarded players who had scored three goals or more in one game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat, which brought the “Hat Trick” expression into the world of hockey. The list of winners includes the legendary players such as Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull from Chicago Black Hawks, Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach from Montreal Canadiens, Norm Ullman from Detroit Red Wings, and many others.

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 as the hats are removed from the playing area).

The earliest account of a hat being awarded for scoring three goals is known to have occurred in Torontomarker when a local businessman, Sammy Taft, was approached by Chicago Black Hawks forward Alex Kaleta. According to legend, Kaleta entered Taft's shop to purchase a new hat but didn't have enough money. Taft arranged a deal with Kaleta stipulating that if Kaleta scored three goals as he played the Toronto Maple Leafs that night, he would give him a free hat. That night, on January 26, 1946, Kaleta scored four goals against the Maple Leafs and Taft made good on his offer.

While this account is credited by the Hockey Hall of Famemarker as the hat trick's origin in the NHL, there exists a competing story in Guelphmarker, Ontariomarker. In the 1950s, the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), who were then a farm team of the National Hockey League (NHL)'s New York Rangers, were sponsored by Guelph-based Biltmore Hats, a leading manufacturer of hats with North American dominance. The sponsor would award any Madhatters player who scored three goals in a game with a new fedora.

The hat trick, as it is known in its current form, with hats thrown from the stands onto the ice, is said to have begun among fans in the NHL around the 1970s. Along similar lines, Florida Panthers fans celebrated goals (not just hat tricks) by throwing plastic rats onto the ice in 1996, 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 Arenamarker 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.

A natural hat trick is when a player scores three goals in succession in one single half or period, with no other players from either their own team, or the opposing team, scoring any goals in-between.

On October 17, 2008, Zach Harrison of the Minnesota State University Mavericks recorded a shorthanded natural hat trick against the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Harrison scored the three consecutive shorthanded goals over a span of 29:54. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, they were not sure that this feat had ever been accomplished before, and have since put Harrison's stick on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame. However, C.J. Young of Harvard is believed to have accomplished a shorthanded natural hat trick in 1988 against Dartmouth.

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 two 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 "ultimate hat trick", "quintella", "Texas Hat Trick", or "Lemieux Cycle") in which he scored in all five possible game situations in one game, on 31 December 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 23 February 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.

Jordan Staal became the youngest player to ever record a hat trick in the NHL at 18 years and 153 days in Toronto on February 10, 2007.

Association football

A hat-trick occurs in association football when a player has scored three goals in a single game. 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.

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 Parkmarker 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.

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 American Bert Patenaude scored the first hat-trick in the 1930 inaugural. 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 Final - the only one in a Final. At least one hat-trick has been scored in every World Cup Finals except the 2006 tournament.

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 competition 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.

Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur scored a hat trick in just seven minutes during the second half of a game against Wigan on November 22nd, 2009. He then went on to score a further two goals in the game bringing his total to five in just thirty-six minutes. This is remarkable as Defoe became just the third player in English Premier League history to score five goals in one game, following Alan Shearer and Andy Cole.

Rugby league and Rugby union

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. When a player scored two tries, this is often referred to as a "brace".

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


A hat-trick in lacrosse is when a player scores three goals in one game. However, since lacrosse is more of a high-scoring game than hockey or soccer, the accomplishment is not as rare as in hockey or soccer, and good players may pick up hat-tricks easily.

In 2004, Colorado Mammoth public address announcer Steve Meade (a local radio broadcaster known as "Willie B") used the phrase "sock-trick" to describe a player scoring sixgoals 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 incredibly rare.

Motor Racing

A hat trick in motor racing is deemed as three successive race wins, winning the same event three times in a row, or when a driver secures pole position, sets the fastest lap and wins the race.


In scrabble, a hat-trick occurs when a player plays three consecutive bingo.


In darts, a hat-trick occurs when a player hits the bulls-eye with all three darts in a single turn.

See also


  1. Taking three wickets in three balls entitled the bowler to receive a hat from his club commemorating the feat (or entitled him to pass the hat for a cash collection). Extended Oxford English Dictionary 1999 Edition : "It came into use after HH Stephenson took three wickets in three balls for the all-England eleven against the twenty-two of Hallam at the Hyde Park ground, Sheffield in 1858. A collection was held for Stephenson (as was customary for outstanding feats by professionals) and he was presented with a cap or hat bought with the proceeds."
  2. The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket (Oxford University Press, 1996) mentions that the word hat-trick was used in print for the first time in The Sportsman to describe Spofforth clean bowling three consecutive batsmen in the match against Hastings and Districts at the Oval on 29 August 1878. Spofforth did take a hat-trick and nine wickets in 20 balls against the XVIII of Hastings and Districts in 1878 (not a first class match), but the dates are incorrect.
  3. Warwick Franks, Australian Wisden Cricketers Almanac 2002. Hardie Grant Books.
  4. Cricket Wellington - Babot: Triple Hat-trick
  5. See for example "ein lupenreiner Hattrick" against FC Köln in an article on Róbert Vittek.
  6. fastest hattricks

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