The Bracegirdle Blog:
Hat-Trick Ball

Comment and Analysis | 24th July 2011

A quick quiz question to start with this week.

What have Charlie Shreck (twice), Andre Adams, Sam Wood, Andy Carter and Darren Pattinson got in common?

Answer – they’ve all claimed two wickets in two balls for Nottinghamshire in a match this season – but have then failed to go on and get the hat-trick.

Hat-tricks have always been fairly rare in the higher levels of the game – although Paul Collingwood has one for Durham this season - but with a definite increase in the batting ability of so-called ‘tail-enders’ they are in danger of becoming an endangered species.

To tidy up the nuts and bolts of this stat:

The last occasion that anyone achieved the feat in the county championship for Nottinghamshire was against Middlesex at Lord’s in 2006, when Charlie Shreck dismissed Ed Smith, Eoin Morgan and Paul Weekes in consecutive deliveries.

"Whilst no-one at Trent Bridge can be complacent about the attendance figures it is encouraging to think that the product on offer and the brand of cricket that the Outlaws have been playing will keep them coming back."

Before Charlie’s achievement you had to go back to 1997 when both Paul Franks and Chris Tolley did it in the same season.

In the history of one day competition only four Notts bowlers have bagged three wickets in three balls, Kevin Saxelby, Kevin Evans, Andy Pick and Vasbert Drakes, who went one better against Derbyshire in 1999 by taking four in four!

No-one has so far done it for the Outlaws in twenty20 matches although we have seen one achieved against Notts this season in the shortest format of the game.

It took place in the pre-season Emirates Airline twenty20 Cup competition in Dubai when the Afghanistan quick bowler Hamid Hassan, playing for MCC, clean bowled Steven Mullaney, Scott Elstone and Paul Franks in successive balls.

Hasn’t it been thrilling to see our beloved ground so full of spectators for the Friends Life t20 matches this season? Bringing new, or occasional, supporters along is one of the toughest challenges that face marketing and commercial departments the world over.

As we’ve seen in recent times some parts of the cricketing globe are really struggling to sell tickets - even for Test Matches – once thought upon as being the easiest product to sell. Whilst no-one at Trent Bridge can be complacent about the attendance figures it is encouraging to think that the product on offer – and the brand of cricket that the Outlaws have been playing – will keep them coming back.

The players have certainly appreciated the support they have received and if yu haven’t already done so, now is the time to secure discounted ‘in advance’ tickets for the home quarter-final against Somerset.

The ground itself has rarely looked as good as it does this season. To pinch and misquote a line once written by Simon Hughes (he wanted to spend his after-life watching cricket in the Caribbean):

“If there’s no room left in heaven when I die, I’d happily spend eternity at Trent Bridge.”

Having a bit of a root around this week I came across an article written in 1996 (not by me!) entitled, “100 Things to do if you’re a True Fan”.

It made me smile because many of the items listed are certainly not appropriate and would surely get you arrested nowadays.

They included such gems as Streaking, Running on the pitch, Pinching a stump at the end of the match, asking the PA announcer to put out a call for Mr Al Coholic and ‘Getting Yourself Ejected from the Member’s Pavilion’.

I’ve filtered out some of the less controversial ones though – and many of the following still apply, so how many of these will you have done before Finals Day at Edgbaston?

1.    Caught a six in the crowd
2.    Held up your 4 / 6 card
3.    Gone to the game in Fancy Dress
4.    Started a Chant
5.    Missed a wicket popping to the loo
6.    Got a player’s autograph
7.    Joined in a Mexican Wave
8.    Sat on your sun-glasses
9.    Said ‘hello’ to a commentator
10.    Worn your replica shirt
11.    Spilt Beer on your new trainers
12.    Spotted yourself on the big screen
13.     Shaken hands with Nuts the Squirrel
14.     Joined in a fast-bowlers warm-up routine
15.     Attended an away match

Bearing in mind my opening thoughts to this blog I suppose we should add a 16th entry – See a Notts bowler take a hat-trick!

Enjoy your cricket!

Dave Bracegirdle provides ball-by-ball commentary on all of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship matches on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham.

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