Cricket: NCU clubs have quality to progress in Irish Cup

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White / PressEye
Cricket: NCU Premier League
Teams: Instonians v CIYMS
Venue: Shaw's Bridge
Date:29th April 2017
Caption: Nigel Jones, CIYMS in full flight
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White / PressEye Cricket: NCU Premier League Teams: Instonians v CIYMS Venue: Shaw's Bridge Date:29th April 2017 Caption: Nigel Jones, CIYMS in full flight

Usually when I preview the first round of the Irish Senior Cup I lament on the recent poor record of NCU sides in the competition.

In recent years, the successes of both Waringstown and Instonians in reaching the latter stages has redressed the dominance of Leinster sides somewhat.

As reward for the aforementioned reaching the semi-finals last year they have received byes into the second round - but what of the other six?

I am going for a complete reversal of the trend and suggesting that perhaps five will join them for the second-round draw.

Unfortunately, I am not able to make a case for a CSNI victory down at The Hills as they face up to life without Shane Getkate.

The one piece of silverware missing from the Belmont cabinet is the Bob Kerr.

CIYMS travel to North County and I believe much will hinge on how they handle Eddie Richardson.

If the CI top order fire - and if skipper Nigel Jones gets clearance for Jacob Mulder to play as a batsman, Matt McGillvray will bowl - then an away victory is very much on the cards.

Pick of the games in the NCU is the clash of Carrickfergus and Phoenix. Carrick have already demonstrated last season was no flash in the pan with fighting victories against Muckamore and Lisburn on their own patch.

Professional Pat Botha is probably the best bat around at the minute and Daniel Poulton looks almost as destructive. Phoenix have match winners so expect another high-scoring contest.

Lisburn have a busy weekend at Wallace Park - with a T20 match tonight, first-round test in the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup on Sunday then Eglinton in-between. Despite being written off in some quarters, I fancy - with the North-West side missing Stuart Thompson on Irish duty - Lisburn can come out on top.

Ardmore will not travel to Moylena high on confidence whilst Muckamore will be boosted with the win against CIYMS last weekend. Although dangerous to rule out any side with Dekker Curry involved, the home side should prevail.

North Down, with Ruhan Pretorius having made such an assured start, will be confident of victory up at Fox Lodge as the home team have lost their opening two fixtures.