Brigade begin their defence of the Senior Cup tomorrow with a trophy already in the Beechgrove pavilion.
A facile nine wickets victory over Premiership champions Bready in the annual Sam McConnell Charity (T20) Cup final last Sunday ensured a perfect start for this year’s title favourites, who are hoping to win back to back Challenge Cups for the first time since 1973.
Jonny Robinson took five wickets as Bready were bowled out in the 17th over for 78 and, having finished with 4-20 in the opening Premiership match against Glendermott, the slow bowler will expect to be the first bowler to get into double figures tomorrow when Championship side Burndennett are the visitors.
Bready are involved in one of two all-Premiership ties, but will be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals when they visit Glendermott, last year’s Championship winners who have lost their opening two games on their return to the top flight.
The other Premiership team to exit will be at Donemana where Coleraine must return for the second successive Saturday. Well beaten in the league game, it looks a huge ask to turn it around so quickly, especially against The Holm side determined to regain the trophy they lost after a record-equalling six consecutive successes beginning in 2012.
Last year’s beaten finalists Eglinton have a bye into the quarter-finals because they were drawn against Drummond who have, sadly, pulled out of cricket.
Ballyspallen, who lost to Eglinton in last year’s semi-final, start out at St Johnston, while Strabane will also hope to avoid a cup upset when they make the journey along the A5 to Newbuildings.
Two Championship sides are certain to be in the last eight after the games at Fox Lodge and Killyclooney against Ardmore and Bonds Glen respectively.