By Rob Barnett
Alfonso Thomas said he celebrated “like a nut-case” when his first professional hat-trick came at the ripe old age of 37.
The Somerset seamer admitted he did not really know how to react when that became four scalps in four balls at the start of his next over.
Thomas accounted for James Anyon, Rory Hamilton-Brown and Ed Joyce during the second half of his eighth set of six in Sussex’s second innings. He ousted Matt Machan at the start of his next.
“On the third wicket it sort of sunk in it was a hat-trick and then I was off like some nut-case really,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“And then I took the fourth one and then I wasn’t quite sure what to celebrate, so it was more or less the same thing as the hat-trick ball I think.”
Thomas’ heroics, and Peter Trego ousting Chris Nash in the intervening over, saw Sussex lose five wickets for no run with the score 33.
Although they recovered partially to 178 all out as Thomas returned 5-40, that meant Somerset needed just 104 to win, which they knocked off four wickets down in 20.1 overs.
Thomas was left to reflect on nightwatchman Anyon playing on, Hamilton-Brown going lbw, first-innings centurion Joyce falling caught behind and Machan being bowled by a yorker.
Starting with Anyon, he said: “I won’t quite say a working over. When I was bowling over the wicket he seemed to line it up quite nicely and I just tried to change the angle by coming round the wicket to him, which worked, and he almost looked as if he wasn’t quite sure where his off stump was and it obviously paid off.”
On Hamilton-Brown’s dismissal, he continued: “We certainly wanted him to play the first ball. I have to say it was a bit of a fluke. I didn’t really mean to get it that full.
“And then the third one to Joycey; I sort of thought in the first innings towards the latter end of his hundred that I was causing him lots of problems coming round the wicket.
“Although Marcus wanted to me to stay over, I just went with my gut, to round the wicket, to more or less try to make him play every ball really, and he got a bottom edge and Craig (Kieswetter) took the catch.”
On the overall achievement, Thomas added: “I’ve obviously had a lot of nerve-wracking moments with Somerset, having to bowl super overs, having to bowl bowl-outs and things like that, so it was nice to just take four wickets in four balls and I was very happy with that.”