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, so two through already, 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 the face up to life without Shane Getkate.

The one piece of silverware missing from the Belmont cabinet is the Bob Kerr and I have no doubt it is a focus once again this year. CIYMS travel to North County and I believe much will hinge on how they handle Eddie Richardson both with bat and ball.

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 of their own in the likes of Pretorius, Strydom and the Anders boys; so, expect another high scoring contest.

Lisburn have a busy weekend at Wallace Park, T20 match tonight, Sunday their first-round match in Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup and sandwiched nicely in-between a visit from Eglinton. 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, dangerous to rule out any side with Dekker Curry involved but 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 league fixtures.