Gloucestershire’s Tom Price has just had a day of glory never matched in cricket history
When Gloucestershire’s first innings against Worcestershire came to an end, Tom Price had already had a day to remember. And then he took a hat-trick.
An hour and 40 minutes into the first day, Worcestershire were flying. Two wickets in two balls in the second over from Ben Gibbon left Gloucestershire reeling at 0-2, and they fared little better thereafter, with three wickets for Joe Leach and two for Dillon Pennington reducing them to 45-7.
However, that brought Price to the crease at No.9, and he proceeded to play what may well finish as the innings of the 2023 County Championship: a 93-ball century, replete with 12 fours and four sixes, somehow taking his side to a competitive 231. All three of Zafar Gohar, Marchant de Lange and Ajeet Dale made 22 to give him useful company, and Price built a succession of ascending stands. The eighth wicket put on 44, falling one short of doubling Gloucestershire’s score. The ninth put on 61 to take them to 150. And the tenth an astonishing 81 as Price opened his shoulders to glorious effect.
He has some batting credentials, with an average of at least 20 in each of the three formats. But there was little to suggest he was capable of such brilliance – this was his maiden professional century, though on this evidence, it is unlikely to be the last.
And he wasn’t done yet. He was the tenth wicket to fall, but still came back out to open the bowling. He had to wait for a breakthrough, with Dale ending a half-century opening stand in the 18th over. Price capitalised in sensational style, dismissing Azhar Ali, Jack Haynes and Brett D’Oliveira all for ducks, and all edging to the keeper. Price is only 21, but it’s already the second hat-trick of his first-class career, having taken three in three against Kent in 2022. He also has an eight-for to his name, with first-day figures of 4-38 taking his average below 21.
Worcestershire, punch-drunk, closed on 118-7, with rain delaying the start of day two.
There was a scramble to work out where Price’s achievement ranked. It transpired that there had been 17 instances of a player making a century and taking a hat-trick in the same first-class game – but Price was the only one to make the entirety of his century and take the entirety of his hat-trick on the same day. Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah came closest, but his hat-trick for Central Zone against North Zone in 2014 began in the first innings and ended in the second. Notably, Kent’s Joe Denly took a century and a hat-trick in the same T20.