Hat-trick is an odd word isn’t it? I often think of it as one word, but in fact it’s two. It sounds odd too, when y0u pronounce it as two separate words.

The word is another of those coinages born out of sport, like three-peat which I’ve enthused about recently. It came about a long time ago when a chap managed to get three people out with 3 consecutive balls at cricket and his colleagues stumped up some cash and bought him a hat. Where the trick part comes from I don’t know, unless you could argue that it’s the three-in-a-row trick that gets you the hat.

Hat-trick doesn’t work as well as three-peat for my money, and it’s also evolved in meaning too, since you can score a hat-trick of goals, tries or wins, but they don’t necessarily have to be in a row. Someone from either team could have the effrontery to score before you can convert your brace to a triple, treble or hat-trick.

I wonder why getting four wickets in a row hasn’t become a coat-trick, or something more valuable than a hat as a reward, since they’re a particularly rare beast. Four goals, five, even the ‘double hat-trick’ of 6 goals – does that warrant getting 2 hats? – are more common in football, but alas there is to my knowledge no corresponding new coinage.