The Plunket Shield first-class championship has its third hat-trick of the 2020/21 season after Otago Volts paceman Michael Rae achieved the feat for the first time in his first-class career, against the Central Stags in Dunedin this afternoon.
#PlunketShield Hat-trick!— #NZIII (@MargotButcher) March 28, 2021
MICHAEL RAE dismisses Dane Cleaver on 99, Josh Clarkson 1st ball then his 🎩 victim Blair Tickner - a man who has a #plunketshield 🎩 himselfhttps://t.co/18INxefcOQ pic.twitter.com/IDlza3OCrM
Rae's hat-trick is just the eighth in the Otago Volts' first-class history - dating back to the first instance in February 1885.
Far more uncommonly, it produced a hat-trick of sorts for fieldsman Dale Phillips who took the catch at short leg on each occasion, in the 92nd over of the Stags' innings. Phillips finished with four catches, all off Rae, to go with his maiden century in the Otago first innings.
Rae began his hat-trick by having wicketkeeper-batsman Dane Cleaver caught on 99 at 322/6, with the second ball of the sixth over of his third spell in the innings.
He then dismissed allrounder Josh Clarkson first-ball while Rae's hat-trick victim, Blair Tickner, is ironically one of the small group of other current New Zealand Domestic players to have taken a Plunket Shield hat-trick.
Michael Rae took the 49th hat-trick in NZ first-class cricket today. The feat has been performed by 49 different bowlers. No one has performed the feat more than once #plunketshield— Francis Payne (@FPayne100) March 28, 2021
Rae capped his exciting afternoon with his second first-class five-wicket bag after adding a further tailender in Jayden Lennox to finish with figures of 23-6-62-5 before Central Stags captain Greg Hay declared at 353/9, trailing the Volts by 40 runs.
Earlier this season (in the second round in late October), Kyle Jamieson took a Plunket Shield hat-trick at Eden Park Outer Oval, also against the Central Stags; and his Auckland Aces teammate, spinner Louis Delport, achieved a hat-trick against Northern Districts at Whangarei's Cobham Oval just a fortnight ago.