Josh on a weekend Bender with the ball
CRICKET: For most grade cricket bowlers, a hat-trick is something only realised in dreams, and a double hat-trick is beyond even that.
But for Westlawn second- grade seamer Josh Bender, that dream became a reality at the weekend as he tore through the Coutts Crossing middle order.
Bender began his assault by taking the castle of Coutts centurion Brayden Lollback, then took three wickets from his next three deliveries (across two overs) to complete the deed.
He had the ball hooping and seaming off a tricky deck at Lower Fisher Park and had the Coutts line-up in trouble as it scrambled to make a total of 71.
"The pitch was doing plenty which I think had a lot to do with it,” Bender said.
"The funny thing is, I wasn't even meant to bowl today but one of our players was late so I stepped up as first change and was lucky enough to get a few.
"That was my second spell of the year, and my first was definitely nowhere near as good.
"The first couple of balls I was a bit nervous, but they landed outside off and did a bit off the pitch so that calmed me down a lot.”
Bender was pinpoint accurate in his spell, bowling a tight line to finish with figures of 4 for 13 off 6 overs.
"It was a really good feeling getting the wickets,” he said.
"I have never taken a hat-trick in my career and I never thought I would, let alone getting four from four.
"Brayden Lollback on a big full toss had to be my favourite but I think the third wicket was probably was the best ball.”
Bender plays for a Westlawn side captained by his father, Rick, who has played plenty of cricket in the Clarence Valley including representing the region in the Neil Frame Shield Over 40s competition.
It was a proud moment for the young seamer to celebrate his haul alongside the man who has supported his growth in the sport.
"I think this is my ninth year of senior cricket and I have played seven of those here at Westlawn with Dad,” he said.
"I have only just come back after a couple of years with the Brothers boys. It has been great to get back with Dad and this only caps off the move.”
Westlawn were in trouble early in the run chase faltering at 5-14 before Rick Bender took the game away with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 39 to finish at 8-72 in the 25th over.