Craig joins PNE ‘treble’ club

Craig Davies after a 6-1 triumph against Carlisle United
Craig Davies after a 6-1 triumph against Carlisle United
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Marksman Craig Davies wrote himself into Preston North End’s history books on Saturday.

The 28-year-old striker became the first ever PNE loanee to score a hat-trick in a league encounter for the club.

His 26-minute treble helped Preston record a thumping 6-1 victory over Carlisle United at Deepdale to keep their slim hopes of gaining automatic promotion to the Championship alive.

Interestingly though, Davies is not the first borrowed player to score three goals in a game for Preston – that honour falls to Paul Gallagher, who struck a treble for the Lilywhites earlier this season in the 6-0 thrashing of Barnet in the FA Cup.

While Davies’ and Gallagher’s feats this season are unique, they are of course not the first players to sample the delights of scoring a hat-trick for Preston.

Davies’ haul at the weekend saw him become the 87th player in the club’s history to score a hat-trick in a senior fixture. Dozens more have been scored in the days of friendly matches and Lancashire Cup ties.

In total, there have been 167 hat-tricks in 154 different matches, with two matches featuring four players scoring at least three goals each.

In North End’s record 26-0 defeat of Hyde in 1887, Jimmy Ross scored seven times, Johnny Graham hit five, while Sandy Thompson scored four – Fred Dewhurst found the back of the net a mere three times!

Seven years later, the Lilywhites put 18 goals past Reading and again four players could argue over the matchball.

Ross hit six goals on that occasion, while Frank Becton and John Cowan both scored four each.

Possibly the most unexpected treble in the history of the club also occurred in this match.

Team trainer John Barton also hit three – despite the fact he was only filling in!

Ross holds the record for most senior hat-tricks by any individual with 10.

His haul included six trebles and there were four instances when he managed to find the back of the net more than three times in a single match.

In total, he notched 40 goals in hat-tricks alone.

Behind Ross in the hat-trick stakes are Ted Harper and Charlie Wayman, who notched seven apiece – although the latter edges ahead in the pecking order as one game included a four-goal tally.

Alex Bruce – a Deepdale legend of the 1970s and early 1980s – remains the last player to score more than three in a match. He bagged four goals against Colchester in 1978.

John Thomas grabbed three hat-tricks in the 1986/87 season and they came over a 12-week period, which included trebles in successive FA Cup rounds against Bury and Chorley.

Not surprisingly, most hat-tricks have resulted in wins, with only five draws and three defeats featuring a North End player scoring a treble.

Graham Shaw was on the wrong end of a 4-3 League Cup scoreline against Tranmere in 1989, while Tommy Thompson’s three against Chelsea could not stop a 5-4 defeat at Deepdale in 1959.

There have been six games where two players have both scored hat-tricks, the most recent being in 1995 when Steve Wilkinson and Andy Savile both claimed trebles against Mansfield.