On this day in 1893: A hat-trick behind the stumps by Sam Brain


Hat-tricks are generally referred to the bowling performances when a player takes three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. However, this term can be associated with wicket-keepers when they affect dismissals (catch or stumping) in three consecutive deliveries. Such hat-tricks rarely occur as only five of them have been recorded in first-class cricket till date.

The first such hat-trick came in the 1893 County Championship when Somerset toured Cheltenham to take on the Gloucestershire team. This 3-day fixture had a five-ball over rule. Somerset won the toss and elected to bat first in the match that began on 14th August. The visitors could only make 197. However, they reduced the Gloucestershire team to 88/5 by the end of the first day’s play.

George de Winton rescued the home team’s innings with an 80-run knock. But Edwin Tyler claimed four of the last four wickets to fall in the home team’s innings to complete a 5-wicket haul. Gloucestershire collapsed from 140/5 to 166/10 and had lost their last four wickets for mere four runs. Before the end of the second day, Somerset moved to 270/7 with their lead reaching 301 runs.

Brain’s unique hat-trick

The last over of the day was set to be bowled by the leggie, Charles Townsend. The leg-spinner deceived the Somerset keeper Arthur Newton on the 3rd ball of the over but the keeper of Gloucestershire, William Henry Brain, commonly known as Sam Brain, completed a stumping. Townsend was successful at getting the better of George Nicholas and Edwin Tyler on the following deliveries.

Both Nicholas and Tyler were stumped by Brain, thus helping Townsend to complete a hat-trick. Sam Brain, to his credit as well, recorded a wicketkeeper’s hat-trick with stumpings on three successive deliveries. Somerset were bowled out for 270 and set a target of 302 for Gloucestershire who were rolled over for only 174. Brain was first of the five known keepers with a keeper’s hat-trick in first-class cricket but only to do so by affecting stumpings with three successive balls.