Worcestershire Rapids all-rounder Joe Leach made cricketing history by taking a hat-trick with the first three balls of a game but admits he had mixed emotions after his side lost by 21 runs to Northants Steelbacks in a low-scoring Royal London One-Day Cup encounter at New Road.

Leach completed a hat-trick with the first three balls of the game – only the second player in history to achieve the feat and the first in this country.

The only other player to equal that performance was former Worcestershire paceman Chaminda Vaas when playing for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in a World Cup match in South Africa in 2003.

Leach accounted for Richard Levi and Rob Keogh – both caught behind by Ben Cox – and then Ben Duckett gloved the next delivery to Jack Shantry in the gulley.

He said: "I can't quite believe I'm stood here after we've lost that game to be honest. Obviously first three balls, unbelievable feeling, never thought something like that would happen but I feel a bit gutted after the way the rest of the game has gone.

"It was probably the same sort of balls I've bowled all season and they just nicked it for whatever reason. These things tend to happen and I just put the ball in what I was thought a decent area and luckily the batsmen nicked it.

"The third delivery actually came out a little bit shorter than I wanted it to and that is part of the reason he (Ben Duckett) gloved it.

"Cricket is a funny old game isn't it. Some days you bowl six perfect balls and you get taken for eight off an over and other days you don't get it quite right and get a hat-trick.

"I've got the match ball. I think it is one of those achievements you will look back on and be immensely proud of.

"I think I took one when I was about 13-14 for Shrewsbury School against not brilliant opposition!

"I found that out at lunch-time that Chaminda Vaas – another Pear! – was the only other bowler to take three wickets with the first three balls. It is good to be in such esteemed company I suppose.

"It is certainly on the check list for a bowler isn't it, to get a hat-trick but at the moment it is hard to look past the fact we have lost to be honest."

Leach added: "There was uneven bounce throughout the course of the game and if you hit a crack, it did tend to seam a little bit.

"I think both sides would openly admit 120 all out probably reflects more on the bad batting than the pitch.

"That is not to say it didn't do something. It did throughout the game. But 120 I would have thought was below par."