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run code in 200+ php & hhvm versions
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<?php preg_match('/^(\d{1,2}([a-z]+))(?:\s*)\S+ (?:200[0-9])/', '21st March 2006', $matches); var_dump($matches);
Output for 5.6.0 - 5.6.30, hhvm-3.15.4, 7.0.0 - 7.2.0
array(3) { [0]=> string(15) "21st March 2006" [1]=> string(4) "21st" [2]=> string(2) "st" }