Max Sorensen and Nazeer Shoukat were instrumental in denying North Down a long-awaited place in the Irish Cup final last year, and the Ireland internationals were at it again for The Hills on Saturday at Milverton.
Like they did in the 2014 semi-final, North Down had the holders on the rack batting first, Taimur Khan (4-28) and captain Marty Moreland (3-46) sparking a top-order collapse.
The Hills went from 40 without loss to 43 for three and then 53 for four.
But the game arguably turned on Sorensen (49) and Shoukat (56) adding 64 for the fifth wicket.
The Hills rallied to 199 all out but despite 33 from Andrew Sutherland and 35 from Peter Shields, North Down rarely looked like getting close. They were dismissed for 159, 40 runs adrift.
Carrickfergus and Woodvale also exited the competition, the former after losing a low-scoring thriller to Leinster at Rahmines.
The home side made just 122 batting first but Carrick’s hopes looked to be dashed when they slumped to 32 for five.
Ryan Eagleson top scored with 32 and a last-wicket stand of 15 threatened an upset until last man Anthony Martin was run out.
Section One side Woodvale were always likely to find the going tough against Dublin YMCA at Ballygomartin Road.
Albert van der Merwe, the former Ireland international, struck a superb unbeaten 74 as the Dubliners posted 225 for four in a game reduced to 35 overs per side.
Johnny Burnside, the spinner, claimed two for 38.
Woodvale lost two quick wickets in reply but they had measure of hope as professional Sujit Khalbhor (32) and Mark Irwin (30) added 69 for the third wicket.
Van der Merwe though had the last word, taking three for nine as Woodvale were bowled out in 27.1 overs for 105.