A hat-trick or hat trick in sport is the achievement of a positive feat three times or more during a game, or other achievements based on threes. The term was first used in 1858 in cricket to describe HH Stephenson's feat of taking three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. A collection was held for Stephenson, and he was presented with a hat bought with the proceeds. The term was used in print for the first time in 1878. The term was eventually adopted by many other sports including association football, water polo, and team handball, but did not become popular in North America until the mid-1940s in the National Hockey League.
According to the Extended Oxford English Dictionary 1999 Edition, the term "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."
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 in the same match. 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 40 hat-tricks, the first achieved by Fred Spofforth for Australia against England in 1879. 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 34 hat-tricks up to 8 November 2013, the first by Jalal-ud-Din for Pakistan against Australia in 1982, and the most recent by Rubel Hossain for Bangladesh cricket team against New Zealand on 29 October in Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka.
Lasith Malinga for Sri Lanka cricket team against Australia on 22 August 2011 in the last match of the five-ODI series played in Colombo achieved a hat-trick. With this last hat-trick Lasith Malinga became the first and only bowler to take three hat-tricks in any form of international cricket. Three players have taken at least 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, And Tim Southee, also from New Zealand, made a hat-trick against Pakistan, and ended up with a 5-For at the end of the match.
Taking two wickets in two consecutive deliveries is occasionally known as a brace, or (more commonly, especially until the next delivery has been made) being on a hat-trick. 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, overlapping sets of three consecutively dismissed batsmen. It has occurred only 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.
Nuwan Zoysa of Sri Lanka is the only bowler to achieve a hat-trick off his first three balls in a Test, dismissing Murray Goodwin, Neil Johnson and Trevor Gripper of Zimbabwe, in 1999, while Irfan Pathan of India also holds the distinction of achieving a hat-trick in the very first over of the test match but of the 4,5,6 deliveries when he dismissed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan in 2006, Karachi. Chaminda Vaas is the only one to achieve a hat-trick of the very first deliveries in one day internationals, against Bangladesh in 10th match of ICC World Cup 2003, played at City Oval, Pietermaritzburg. He got Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful and Ehsanul Haque out in the first three balls and took his fourth wicket in the fifth ball of the same over just missing the double-hat-trick.
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.
Some hat-tricks 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.
In 1844, underarm bowler William Clark, playing for "England" against Kent, achieved a hat-trick spread over two innings, dismissing Kent batsman John Fagge twice within the hat-trick. Fagge batted at number 11 in the first innings and at number 3 in the second. This event is believed to be unique in first-class cricket.
The most involved hat-trick was perhaps when Melbourne club cricketer Stephen Hickman, playing for Power House, achieved a hat-trick spread over three overs, two days, two innings, involving the same batsman twice, and 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 United 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. Power House 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-striker's end, he clean bowled Higgins leaving Higgins with a pair of golden ducks.
At least two triple hat-tricks have been achieved. The first was by Scott Babot of Wainuiomata Cricket Club playing in the Senior 3 competition in New Zealand in 2008. It consisted of five wickets in five balls, across two innings and separated by seven days, as the match took place on consecutive Saturdays. The second was in an Ireland club U13 youth game in 2011, achieved by David Delany of Clontarf Cricket Club playing in an All-Ireland final against Bready Cricket Club. Bready needed 19 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand, when Delany took five wickets in five balls, with all five batsmen being dismissed bowled. Clontarf won the game.
A hat-trick occurs in association football when a player scores three goals in a single game. In common with other official record-keeping rules, goals in a penalty shootout are excluded from the tally. In Germany the extra time in a league tournament match may also be calculated towards a player's potential hat-trick. Players achieving hat-tricks are usually rewarded by being given the match ball to keep. The fastest time to score a hat-trick is 70 seconds, a record set by Alex Torr in a Sunday league game in 2013. The previous record was held by Tommy Ross playing for Ross County against Nairn County on 28 November 1964. Only one hat-trick has been scored in the FIFA World Cup Final, by Geoff Hurst for England in the 1966 final, after extra time. Association Football has also extended the term to include the phrase perfect hat-trick, achieved when a player scores one right footed goal, one left footed goal and one headed goal within one match. In the Netherlands a player is awarded a hat-trick when all three goals are scored in the same half with no goal of the opponent in between.
In both field hockey and ice hockey, a hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in a single match. A hat trick, as it is known in its current form, culminates with fans throwing hats onto the ice from the stands. The tradition is said to have begun among fans in the National Hockey League around the 1950s.
There are several conflicting legends of how the "hat trick" was popularised in professional hockey. In the 1940s, a Toronto haberdasher used to give free hats to players with the Toronto Maple Leafs when they scored three goals in a game, which introduced the "Hat Trick" expression into the world of hockey. The list of winners includes legendary players such as Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull from the Chicago Blackhawks, Syl Apps and Charlie Conacher from the home-town Toronto Maple Leafs, Norm Ullman from the Detroit Red Wings, and many others.
In another account, the origins of a hat being awarded for scoring three goals occurred in Toronto when a local businessman, Sammy Taft, was approached by the Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex Kaleta. According to legend, Kaleta entered Taft's shop to purchase a new hat but did not have enough money. Taft arranged a deal with Kaleta stipulating that if he scored three goals as he played the Toronto Maple Leafs that night, he would give him a free hat. That night, on 26 January 1946, Kaleta scored four goals against the Maple Leafs and Taft made good on his offer.
While the Kaleta account is accepted by the Hockey Hall of Fame as the hat trick's origin in the NHL, there exists yet another competing story in Guelph, Ontario. In the 1950s, the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the Ontario Hockey Association, who were then a farm team of the 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.
Montreal hatter Henri Henri claims that between 1950 and 1970, they would reward any NHL player who scored three or more goals in a game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat, thus originating the term "Hat Trick".
Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record for the most hat tricks in a career with 52.
A natural hat trick occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals, uninterrupted by any other player scoring for either team.
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 (Howe himself only recorded two in his career). While this description has remained popular, it does not satisfy the conditions of a traditional hat trick.
A player accomplishes a DC hat trick by scoring the third goal as part of an overtime shootout. Typically only goals scored in regular play count towards earning a hat trick. Its called the DC hat trick because it began with the Washington Capitals. 
A player accomplishes a Pants Trick by scoring four goals in one game in any fashion except for those scored within a shootout.
In December 1995, Florida Panthers captain Scott Mellanby scored a rat trick, the term coined by teammate John Vanbiesbrouck. Prior to the game, Mellanby killed an unwanted rat in the Panthers' locker room with his hockey stick, and proceeded to score a pair of goals later that night. When Mellanby scored a hat trick in a later game, some Florida fans threw plastic rats on the ice, a tradition that continued for all Panthers' goals throughout the 1996 playoffs. Due to the resulting game delays caused by the necessary clean-up of the plastic rats, the league eventually banned the activity and modified Rule 63 to impose a minor penalty against the home team for a violation. The more traditional practice of fans throwing hats on the ice following genuine hat tricks remains exempt from this penalty.
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 football, the accomplishment is not as rare as in hockey or football, and good players may pick up hat-tricks easily.
In cycling a hat-trick can be achieved when three or more stages are won in a single tour, especially when occurring back to back.
Eliminating three players from a table with one hand in live poker play is sometimes referred to as a hat-trick and is incredibly rare. It is a much more frequent occurrence in online poker games, given the faster and greater number of hands played in online tournaments and the continuing presence of multiple "all-in" players during the early stages of tournament play as players look to build large chip stacks quickly and early.
In motor racing, three successive race wins, winning the same event three times in a row, or securing pole position, fastest lap and race victory in one event may all be referred to as a hat-trick.
In marbles, a hat-trick occurs when a player hits all marbles in a single turn.
In baseball, a hat-trick occurs when a player hits three home runs in a single game. It is also used when a player accumulates three strikeouts in a single game. In this manner, it is used jokingly, since in other sports the hat trick is a positive feat rather than a negative one.
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- Hitting for the cycle
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- 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."
- 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.
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