Not often the Premier League takes a back seat; but then when was the last time six NCU sides made it through to the second round of the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup?

The draw has worked mainly in their favour with four ties in the NCU area; two stand out, CIYMS v YMCA and North Down v Phoenix.

CI have been something of a curate’s egg, good in parts; but they need to bounce back from last weekend’s surprise reverse against CSNI. Two matches at Belmont though may be just the cure, tomorrow it’s Carrickfergus in the league.

Sunday surely will be the focus as once again they lock horns with YMCA, seeking to win the one piece of silverware to elude them. Expect them to be bolstered by the return of Irish international Jacob Mulder.

Over at Comber the top two sides in the respective Unions, should dish up a run fest on a good batting deck.

This weekend will be the acid test of how far North Down have moved on from last season and they will need to be at 100% against a Phoenix side who scored 167 in the last 17 overs in a convincing win against Carrickfergus in the last round.

Instonians are another side with two home games, Lisburn in the league followed by a clash with Brigade which features the return of Johnny Thompson to the NCU after moving from CIYMS back to the North West.

Lisburn will look to make home advantage count against Balbriggan on Sunday and the final tie sees last season’s beaten finalists Waringstown travel to Coleraine for another mouth-watering fixture.

Broken toe victim, Lee Nelson will likely miss tomorrow’s league game against CSNI for whom Wayne Horwood returns, but I suspect Nelson will do his utmost to play Sunday.