Cricket is a funny game, they say, and some of that funniness was on show at the Plunket Shield, New Zealand's first-class competition. Here's what happened: two bowlers took a hat-trick almost at the same time, each in his own little corner of New Zealand. If that weren't coincidental enough, these two players - Wellington's Logan van Beek and Auckland's Matt McEwan - both claimed their hat-tricks across two overs, they both previously played for Canterbury, and, erm, they both went to the same school (Christchurch's St Andrew's College).

According to a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) release, this was the first time in the Plunket Shield's 112-year history that two hat-tricks were taken on the same day of the competition. Van Beek was the first to complete his set (the 40th Plunket Shield hat-trick), in the fourth and sixth overs as his old team Canterbury capitulated in their second innings down south in Christchurch.

Within the hour, McEwan's strikes followed (the 41st Plunket Shield hat-trick), carving up Northern Districts' middle order in the 26th and 28th overs of their first innings up north in Auckland. (A video of the two hat-tricks, courtesy NZC, is here.)

And all this in the first round of Plunket Shield games after a two-month break to fit in the limited-overs competitions. First-class cricket, back with a bang?