It wasn’t going to be Peter Lojszczyk’s day.
Two catches down in the same over early in his spell and opening bowler Stewart Morgan racing to the first three wickets.
But then things changed for the long-term Wests paceman.
Approaching the midway point of Stockton-Raymond Terrace’s 40-over innings at Lynn Oval the right-armer struck. Not once, not twice, but three times in a row.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Lojszczyk said.
“It was just a surreal moment really. One of those things you don’t expect to happen, but just happened.”
The 25-year-old New Lambton-based bowler had claimed his first senior hat-trick, well at least that he recalls since his younger days.
“I might have got one in under 10s, but it’s definitely my first one since then,” Lojszczyk said.
And the rare cricketing feat prompted quite the reaction from teammates according to skipper James King.
“He’s been at the club for years and he’s pretty popular amongst the boys, so everyone was excited,” King said.
“It was well deserved, he’d been bowling well and we’d put a couple of chances down off him before that.”
King actually became a crucial part of the equation, taking the first and last catches to both start and complete the succession of wickets.
The third delivery of Lojszczyk’s fourth over was picked up by King at gully off Stockton batsman Keith Moody (20) and broke a 39-run innings-saving stand with NSW Country representative Nick Foster.
Stockton’s Kye Zanardi was next in line and caught behind for a golden duck by Wests wicketkeeper Ben Chew.
Third victim Benjamin Whitty followed first ball and King did the honours for Lojszczyk at third slip.
“I was a bit nervous when it was coming to me to be honest,” King said. “I was lucky to hold onto it.”
Stockton went from 3-57 to 6-57 in that period with Lojszczyk also removing Foster (20) for good measure three runs later.
The Wests junior finished the second-round Newcastle District Cricket Association first-grade fixture with figures of 4-19 from eight overs, including three maidens.
The Seagulls were eventually dismissed for 92 in 33.2 overs and the visiting Rosellas chased down the total one wicket down in 13.1 overs, thanks largely to an unbeaten 82 from Joe Price.
Back-to-back double bonus point wins have put Wests on top of the table and Lojszczyk wants to stay there and break a 52-season premiership drought at Harker Oval.
“It would be good if we could win that first grade title,“ Lojszczyk, who played in Wests’ last grand final appearance in 2013, said.
“It’s been so long.”