Cricket: Five wickets in five balls write Nathan Columbus into Canterbury Presidents-grade history

Nathan Columbus (right) with his historic scoresheet
Nathan Columbus (right) with his historic scoresheet. Photo credit: Image - Provided

Logistics operator Nathan Columbus will never forget the day he entered the cricketing history books - and admits he looks forward to telling the tale over a beer or two.

Last Saturday, Columbus captured five wickets in five balls for Christchurch's Merivale-Papanui Presidents side - a rare triple hat-trick at any level of competition.

"It’s still obviously unreal and afterwards, both teams were just wondering what the hell happened," he reflects.

As Columbus trundled in to begin his seventh over with figures of 1/15, no-one had any idea what they were about to witness. Merivale-Papanui’s opponents, East Christchurch Shirley, were sitting at 175/5 before the historic over.

Columbus nabbed his second wicket on the second ball of the over.

"The first wicket of that over, the batsman was on 60-odd and then it just went on from there," he tells Newshub. 

Within minutes, East Christchurch Shirley were then dispatched for 177, solely by Columbus, who finished with figures of 6/17. 

"When I got the fourth one, I thought ‘well, if I keep it there, it’ll continue'... and it did.”

The feat has only been recorded a handful of times anywhere, the most recent before Columbus’ dating back to Australia in 2014. Remarkably, Christchurch has seen two - the previous one occurred in 2008.

Surprisingly, these figures aren't even Columbus’ best.

"I've had a couple of eight-fers and I’ve also taken 6/1 here in Christchurch," he says. "It was a wee while ago now and it was for a different club, I think it was in 8.3 overs.

"Runs were coming from the other end and I managed to pick up the sixth without any more runs to my name."

But his heroics weren't enough to get his side over the line. Merivale-Papanui lost by 19 runs, with Columbus the last batsman standing, not out on seven.

Saturday's efforts weren't even his first hat-trick this season - he recorded that milestone in a match just before Christmas. Columbus is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the President's grade, where he shared top wicket-taking honours last season, and last weekend's efforts have certainly put him in line to claim it again, as well as some valuable street cred.

"A couple of the workmates were congratulating me," he says. "My wife as well, she got a big heads up from one of the lady's at the cricket club, because she was picking me up."

The milestones may not be over just yet. Columbus finished the innings with his triple hat-trick, so his first ball this week will hold considerable interest, although technically a quadruple hat-trick would need to occur in the same match.

"I’ll give it a try, I’ll either bowl a good length or bowl the yorker. We’ll see what happens when we get to Saturday, I guess.”

'Seeing what happens' perfectly epitomising Nathan Columbus' attitude to the game and his historic efforts on the pitch.