Joe Leach collected a sensational hat-trick from the opening three deliveries of Worcestershire Rapids home Royal London One-Day Cup match with Northants Steelbacks today.

The Rapids all-rounder took the new ball and reduced the visitors to 0-3 after they had elected to bat.

It set the pattern for the morning session as wickets fell at regular intervals and Northants were bowled out for 126 in the 36th over.

But the Rapids were then bowled out for 105 and went down by 21 runs in a low scoring encounter despite a fine knock from keeper Ben Cox who was last out for 36 to add to his four catches.

Leach and new ball partner Jack Shantry both finished with four wickets.

Leach struck with his first ball as Richard Levi was caught behind by Cox and the same combination accounted for Rob Keogh.

There was great excitement as Leach charged in for the hat-trick ball – and he did not disappoint as Ben Duckett guided a delivery to Shantry at gulley.

Steelbacks skipper Alex Wakely was next in and got off the mark with two onto the legside.

There was then a bizarre interlude when Swan Stopped Play!

The feathered bird started making laps of the ground at a low level just as Leach was about to start bowling during his second over.

After about half a dozen laps, it flew off in the direction of the Cathedral to good applause from the sun-baked crowd.

Jack Shantry had shared the new ball with Leach and he got in on the wicket-taking act with three in two overs as Northants were reduced to 27-6.

Skipper Alex Wakely (8) cut the left armer into the hands of Brett D'Oliveira at point, David Willey (2) was caught at mid off by Ed Barnard and Steven Crook (0) slashed outside the off stump and gave Cox his third catch of the innings.

Rory Kleinveldt had a let off on eight when Tom Fell at third slip dropped a low chance off Shantry with the total on 27.

Opener Josh Cobb and Kleinveldt led a partial recovery for Northants with a half century stand in 12 overs.

But Ed Barnard broke the stand when Kleinveldt (33) went for a pull and gave Saeed Ajmal a comfortable catch at mid wicket.

Leach returned to the attack and struck for the fourth time when he ended opener Josh Cobb's resistance on 32 as Tom Kohler-Cadmore pouched the chance at first slip.

Leach ended his spell with the superb figures of 10-3-30-4 – and then Shantry re-entered the attack and collected his fourth wicket.

Graeme White (27) went for a pull and Cox ran back 30 yards to take a good catch at backward square leg with the total 120-9.

Then Muhammad Azharullah (3) swept at Ajmal and popped up a simple catch to Leach at square leg.

Worcestershire also had to battle for runs and Kohler-Cadmore, who opened with skipper Daryl Mitchell, steered an Olly Stone delivery to Levi at third slip.

Fell (1) drove at Kleinveldt and was caught behind by Duckett and then Joe Clarke (0) was adjudged lbw to Azharullah.

Brett D'Oliveira (1) departed to the last over before lunch when he fended a delivery from Azharullah to Levi at third slip.

Ross Whiteley (8) went for a big hit against Azharullah and was also caught behind with the total 41-5 in the 20th over.

Mitchell battled away in typically determined fashion for 18 in 22 overs before he was caught down the legside by Duckett off Azharullah.

Leach went for an aggressive approach which brought him 21 runs and five boundaries off just 10 deliveries before he top edged a Stone delivery to Keogh at third man.

Ed Barnard (5) was adjudged to be run out and then Shantry (0) nicked Willey through to Levi in the slips.

Cox hit two fine boundaries off Kleinveldt as he tried to pull the game out of the fire for the Rapids but after making 36 he was last out, caught at deep cover off the same bowler by Stone.