‘It’s hard enough to score one hat-trick, let alone three on the bounce’ – Callum Laycock wondering whether he has created a piece of non-league football history

Callum Laycock is wondering whether he has achieved a stunning Wessex League first by scoring hat-tricks in THREE successive matches.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 9:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 11:19 am
AFC Stoneham striker Callum Laycock has scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Wessex League matches. Picture: Dave Bodymore
AFC Stoneham striker Callum Laycock has scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Wessex League matches. Picture: Dave Bodymore

In a blistering 11-day period, the AFC Stoneham hot-shot has bagged trebles in Premier Division matches against Christchurch, Bournemouth Poppies and Amesbury.

That purple patch - an apt phrase, given Stoneham are nicknamed The Purples - has taken the Portsmouth-born Laycock onto a career high 26 goals for the reason.

Not one of his nine goals in three games was a penalty and, surprisingly for someone as tall as he is, none were headers either.

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Laycock is a well-known figure in Portsmouth area football, having played for Gosport Borough, Fareham Town, US Portsmouth and AFC Portchester.

It is slightly ironic, therefore, that his best seasonal goal haul has come while turning out for a Southampton area club!

Laycock’s memorable run began with a triple in a 5-0 home win over Christchurch on March 5.

The following Saturday, he struck three times in the opening half-hour in a 4-4 draw at Poppies.

Then, last night, he completed a hat-trick of hat-tricks against rock bottom Amesbury - all the goals this time coming in the second half.

‘It’s been mental,’ Laycock told The News this morning. ‘It’s hard enough to score one hat-trick, let alone three on the bounce.

‘It’s all about confidence. After I got one last night I asked the ref how long was left and he said 30 minutes. I thought I’d get a few more chances.

‘You’d be chuffed to score a hat-trick in a Sunday League game, and the Wessex League is a good standard - it’s not Mickey Mouse football.

‘Look at Horndean last night, you’d have expected them to beat Hythe five or six but they ended up losing.’

Regarding his lack of headed goals in his hat-tricks, Laycock commented: ‘It’s a weird one. I’m 6 foot 3 but I don’t score many goals with my head.’

The Fareham-based striker has been told he is the first player in AFC Stoneham history to score three successive trebles.

The question is this - has anyone ever previously achieved the feat in the 36-year history of the Wessex League?

‘It would be nice to know,’ said Laycock. ‘Charlie Austin might have done it the year he scored lots of goals at Poole Town.’

Laycock’s three trebles have come against three of the Premier Division’s bottom four clubs.

Standing in the way of a fourth hat-trick in a row is a much tougher test - third-placed Bashley this Saturday.

The New Forest club have only conceded more than one goal in one of their last 12 league outings, and held leaders Hamworthy to a 1-1 draw last night.

‘The chairman (Mark Stupple) was asking me last night if I could do four in a row,’ said Laycock. ‘It will be a hard game, but we’ll give it a good go!’

Stoneham have a decent record against the top teams this season. Indeed, only top two Hamworthy (1) and Shaftesbury (4) have lost fewer league games than the Purples’ five.

‘Hamworthy are the best side we’ve played,’ Laycock remarked. ‘But apart from that I’d fancy Stoneham against anyone else.

‘We won at Horndean, we beat Bashley 4-1 at home, we drew 1-1 at Brockenhurst when they equalised in the 95th minute, we’ve beaten Baffins twice.’

*Scoring three successive hat-tricks is extremely rare at any level of football. The last player to do so in the professional game was Liverpool’s Jack Balmer, way back in November 1946. The first of Balmer’s trebles was against Pompey in a 4-2 win at Anfield.