Spinner McConchie determined ahead of game

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014
Cole McConchie
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press
COME BACK: Cole McConchie is dismissed after a successful appeal by wicketkeeper Aaron Johnstone and James O'Gorman.

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It has been a year since Cole McConchie last played for the Canterbury Wizards and he has being thrown in to bowl his offspin on one of the smallest grounds in world cricket.

Far from being nervous or worried, the 22-year-old is champing at the bit to play what will be just his seventh game for Canterbury.

McConchie and Canterbury take on Central Districts today at New Plymouth's postage stamp-sized Pukekura Park in the sixth round of the domestic one-day competition.

Coach Gary Stead opted to drop contracted all-rounder Simon Keen in favour of McConchie who he expects to play today on a pitch likely to take turn.

''We know it has small boundaries, but spinners do tend to go pretty well there,'' Stead said.

McConchie isn't the type of spinner to bowl flat darts and the fact he ''gives it a rip'', according to Stead, means he could be a valuable weapon in both today's match against CD and Sunday's penultimate round match against table-topping Northern Districts in Hamilton.

McConchie, who had a strong tournament for Canterbury A, sees both matches as an opportunity to push his case and earn a more permanent spot in what is a tough team to break into.

''In one-day cricket, the batters are always going to come at you so it's not too different playing on a small ground,'' he said.''I feel like my bowling's coming along quite well and when you get an opportunity like this you just have to put your best foot forward. I'm only thinking about it positively and looking forward to a positive outcome.''

It will be year on Monday since McConchie last played for Canterbury and he admits his time on the sideline has been ''a bit'' frustrating.

Fellow offspinner Tim Johnston has been favoured in first-class cricket while McConchie's all-round ability and strong fielding have given him the nod in 50-over cricket.

''But there have been a few seamer friendly decks too and, if you have a look at the Canterbury team at the moment, it is a seriously strong squad and they're playing good cricket so it's a tough side to crack. All I can do is keep knocking on the door and take my opportunity.''

Meanwhile, Stead said the fact that Canterbury thumped CD by 10 wickets 10 days ago meant very little.

''I'm sure they'll be hurting, but they're a team that appears very hot and cold so they can still be very dangerous.

''They've got a couple of key players who can definitely hurt you,'' he said referring to the in-form Jamie How and captain Kieran Noema-Barnett.

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In other matches today, last-placed Otago host Auckland in Invercargill, while Wellington travel to Hamilton to play Northern Districts.

- Fairfax Media

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