Bale sets new Cymru hat-trick record
23 September 2021

Bale sets new Cymru hat-trick record

Gareth Bale is no stranger to setting international records in the colours of Cymru, and earlier this month he became the first man to score a second hat-trick as he earned his side a 3-2 victory against Belarus. 

The all-time leading scorer for the men's national team with 36 goals in 99 appearances, Bale's first hat-trick arrived in March 2018 as he eclipsed Ian Rush's international goalscoring record with his treble in the 6-0 win over China. Rush also had one international hat-trick to his name as he registered three goals in the 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands in September 1992. 

Bale is one of 15 male players to score international hat-tricks for Cymru, and one of those heroes celebrates his 90th birthday today. Boasting a 100% scoring record for his country, Des Palmer (pictured above) made just three appearances for his country during the 1950's, and scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over East Germany in Cardiff back in September 1957 during the qualifying campaign that took Cymru to the World Cup finals the following year.

Despite playing against Czechoslovakia and East Germany during that campaign, and in a friendly defeat to England that same year, Palmer missed out on a place in Jimmy Murphy's squad for the World Cup finals in Sweden in 1958 as Cymru reached the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winners Brazil. The Swansea Town striker would move to Liverpool the following year, but didn't make an appearance for the Anfield club.

Palmer would head to South Africa in order to continue his professional club career with Johannesburg Ramblers, but returned to England in 1961 to sign for Derby County. Moving to Australia in 1963, Palmer would score another memorable hat-trick as he helped Slavia-Port Melbourne to the Australian Cup that year by scoring all three goals in the 3-2 final victory over Polonia Melbourne. He would end his playing career in Australia with SSC Yugal and Adamstown.

Des Palmer and his wife Terry now live in St Leonard's-on-Sea. Former Cymru international Palmer, celebrates his 90th birthday on 23 September.
Des Palmer and his wife Terry now live in St Leonard's-on-Sea. Former Cymru international Palmer, celebrates his 90th birthday on 23 September.

John Price scored the first Cymru hat-trick back in February 1882 as he claimed four goals in a 7-1 win over Ireland at the Racecourse. Jack Doughty repeated the four-goal feat in 1888 as Ireland were defeated 11-0, while Herbert Sisson registered a hat-trick as Cymru defeated Ireland 8-2 in April 1885. Further victories over Ireland followed in 1889 and 1906 as Richard Jarrett and William Green scored three goals respectively in those early fixtures.

The next Cymru treble was claimed by Trevor Ford in November 1949 as Belgium were defeated 5-1 in Cardiff, before John Charles scored all three goals in a 3-2 victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in 1955. His brother Mel scored four against the same opposition in 1962, and Cliff Jones scored three again against Ireland the following year with a 4-1 away win.

The last player to score four goals for Cymru in a single match was Ian Edwards in the convincing 7-0 win over Malta in 1978, and they would prove to be the only goals of his international career. John Toshack claimed his only international hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Scotland in May 1979, while Robert Earnshaw also scored three against Scotland in February 2004 in a 4-0 win.

It was a significant treble for Earnshaw as he became the only player to score hat-tricks in the Premier League, the Championship, League 1, League 2, the FA Cup, the League Cup and for his country. However, no male player can match the achievement of striker Helen Ward and her six-goal haul for Cymru in the 15-0 win over Azerbaijan back in August 2010. Ward remains the all-time leading goalscorer in the history of the women's national team.