It has been a memorable few weeks for one of the finest players to have ever represented Monmouth Cricket Club.
Cole McConchie, who had a successful season at Monmouth CC in 2010, last week made his one-day international debut for New Zealand in Pakistan.
The 31-year-old Canterbury skipper was at Monmouth when he was just 18 years old.
And the all-rounder boosted his hopes of making New Zealand’s World Cup squad with a record-breaking unbeaten 64 on his ODI debut.
Despite it not being enough to prevent the Black Caps from falling to a 26-run defeat that sealed the series 3-0 for Pakistan, Cole’s knock was New Zealand’s fastest half-century on ODI debut off 36 balls.
Club chairman, Dave Walters, said: “Everyone at the club is thrilled to see Cole’s international recognition with New Zealand.
“Cole was a hugely popular figure when he played for Monmouth and we are very proud of him.
“He is arguably the most talented cricketer to have represented the town.”
Cole lodged with club president, Gordon Grey and his family in Osbaston, and worked behind the bar at the King’s Head in town.
Playing for Monmouth in the Worcestershire County League Division 2, Cole hit 852 league runs, including three centuries, at an average of 53.25; held 17 catches and snapped up 12 wickets.
Sadly, Monmouth narrowly missed out on promotion to Division 1, finishing third, just 19 points adrift of second-placed Old Swinford after a final-day wash-out.
It was Monmouth’s highest finish during their spell as members of the Worcestershire County League before rejoining the Welsh pyramid, after 20 years, in 2012.
Cole, who bowls off-spin, made his T20 NZ debut in 2021 against Bangladesh, but has been outside selection until earning a recall for the white ball series against Pakistan.
He has been working closely with former Pakistan spinner and coach Saqlain Mushtaq, who has joined the New Zealand camp as an assistant coach.
“From a personal point of view, to get that cap today and go out and put in a couple of performances, it’s pleasing,” he said.
“Today was a nice little stepping stone to eventually prove to myself a little bit that I can compete against a world class Pakistan team in their home conditions. I would have been more pleased if I got the boys over the line.”
Cole took a while to get his eye in against the spinners, but took charge in the last 10 overs against the pace attack, smashing two sixes and six boundaries and bringing up his half-century with a big six over mid-wicket against Shaheen Shah Afridi.