North Down Ladies begin their 2017 Arthur J Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup campaign on Thursday when they travel to Moylena to play the Muckamore Bluebelles.

The Comber side proved that they were a force to be reckoned with last summer as they clinched victory in the inaugural NCU Women’s Challenge Cup final, beating a strong Waringstown side by four wickets at The Lawn having bundled the hosts out for 76.

Sandi Harrison’s side will be going into the game on Thursday knowing that there is room for improvement after they were defeated in their opening league game by an in form Lurgan outfit, who maintained their 100% record in the NCU Women’s Premier League having beaten Muckamore and Waringstown in the two other league games that they have played so far this season.

As for Muckamore, they have struggled to find form in competitive cricket so far this summer. The Bluebelles have suffered back to back league defeats at the expense of CSNI and Lurgan.

They did however bag a win over Instonians in pre-season, with Katie Glass hitting a fine 50 in her first ever innings for the club. In the games against CSNI and Lurgan, Suzanne Morrison showed potential with the bat and Jayne Evans had success with the ball taking three wickets in these games.

Waiting for one of these sides in the next round will be either Donaghcloney Mill or Clogher, who play their first round tie on Friday night at The Factory.

Arthur J Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup – First Round