Traditionally the first couple of rounds of the Irish Senior Cup end in carnage from an NCU perspective. Last year six fell at the first hurdle and the previous year, even worse it was seven.
One of the sides to complete an unwanted double in those statistics was Instonians and the draw has not exactly been kind as they seek to make it third time lucky.
Clontarf are the visitors to Shaw’s Bridge tomorrow and in the eyes of many perhaps they are favourites for the trophy.
Instonians skipper Nikolai Smith is looking forward to a good game buoyed by last week’s league win at Stormont.
“We played them pre season and they are a good side, perhaps better batting than bowling, we need to get rid of the likes of Eoghan Delany, Bill Coghlan, Andrew Poynter and new professional Charlie Wakim before they settle,” he said.
“New coach Gavin Rodgers has us focusing on one game at a time and our preparation has been excellent. I thought it was a good all round performance last week. Rusty Theron had an excellent debut even though he onbeen excellent.
“I thought it w as a good all round performance last week. ly took one wicket and I am excited to see what he brings to the team.
“Nathan Smith also picking up three wickets, a very uncomplicated type of player. With the bat Andrew White was magnificent and James Shannon showed his growing maturity in a supporting role,” he added.
Neil Russell is unavailable so Jordan McClurkin with open and we are looking to have a policy of rotating some of our promising youngsters so Ben Rose comes in for Bradley McNamara.”
Given Derriaghy’s stunning performance defeating CIYMS, perhaps there will be more interest than usual in seeing if they can repeat the feat at North West kingpins Donemana - a point I made to skipper Craig Lewis.
“Much has been made of the fact that we are pretty much the same side as last year and to be honest we did not want to upset what we had,” Lewis said.
“Basically we are a bunch of mates who enjoy each other’s company and want to play together. I don’t know much about Donemana but they have a lot of quality players, the attitude will be pretty much the same to go in hard and aggressive and hopefully we will surprise a few more before the season is over.
“I think we have a pretty balanced attack with four seamers and four spinners potentially in the side. One useful addition is Dan Fuzzard a 19 year old from Devon, who is studying at Queens and effectively he emailed us asking if he could join; from what I have seen I’m glad he sent the mail!
“I am looking to our opening batsmen Ross Bailey and Adam Jamison to give us a platform and then it is down to Kaushik Aphale, Andrew Kenny and myself to build on that. I think I have matured as a player, a few years back I would have tried to hit basically every ball.”
Cup holders Waringstown will hope to see off Bready at The Lawn and CIYMS will want to get their season back on track with a visit to Brigade.
Carrickfergus may build on last weekend as they travel to Drummond and Muckamore play host to Eglinton.
Lisburn and CSNI look to have a couple of challenging fixtures as they head south to Pembroke and The Hills respectively.
The final fixture could be a potential run feast at Comber as North Down who lost last weekend despite all of their top four scoring fifties take on a more that useful Dublin YMCA