Some of cricket’s finest ever bowlers have retired without ever having recorded a hat-trick, writes Liam Apicella.
So, for Newmarket-based Ben Harris to take two within the space of 24 hours earlier this month, just goes to show the size of his achievement.
The first came while Harris was playing for his club Saffron Walden, in Division One of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Premier League against Nassington on June 3.
Confident from having scored an 18-ball 32 with the bat, the 22-year-old first removed Daniel Robinson (44) with a shorter ball that surprised the visiting batsman.
An away swinger did for the next batsman — James Pope — as wicketkeeper Alistar Russell held the catch, before an inswinger trapped Hamish Bell lbw.
It could well have been four wickets in as many balls, but Nassington’s Hugo Bell survived a strong lbw appeal.
Nevertheless, Harris’ contribution was a major factor behind Walden’s 189-run victory.
“I am a medium pacer but I like to mix it up a bit,” said the former Norfolk and Suffolk youth all-rounder.
“I was bowling line and length around the top of off stump, but nothing was really happening.
“So, I surprised the first batsman with a shorter ball and the other two followed.
“It was my first ever hat-trick and the whole team went ballistic when the third wicket fell.”
Just a day later, Harris repeated the trick for Newmarket Trainers XI during their encounter against Kirtling.
Chasing 226, Kirtling were making good progress until Harris’ accuracy saw him wipe out middle stump twice and then off stump.
It helped his side, which includes the likes of trainers Ed Dunlop and Charlie Fellowes and horse racing presenter Oli Bell, to a 60-run victory, with Harris taking 3-24 from his eight overs.
“These games are not as competitive, but to get another hat-trick was amazing,” he added.
“To do it once is something, but to get another so close together is not something I had considered possible.”