The 2020 NCU Women’s Challenge Cup campaign gets underway this weekend with an exciting schedule of first round of games on Sunday 2nd August.
Pictured: Aisling Healy (CSNI), Richard Johnson, NCU President, Shane Matthews, Managing Director of Gallagher Northern Ireland, and Beth Healy (CSNI) with the Gallagher Women’s Challenge Cup
Holders, CSNI, begin their Cup campaign when they travel to The Green to play North Down. Last season CSNI clinched victory in the Cup final, beating a strong Muckamore side at Stormont. Chris Elliott’s squad will be going into the game on Sunday knowing that there is no room for error if they are to retain the trophy this season.
Last season’s runners-up, Muckamore, travel to Seapark to play Holywood in confident mood having already defeated their opponents in their season opener last weekend. Whilst Muckamore will start as strong favourites to make it into the semi-finals, Holywood’s young side will have learned from their previous encounter and will provide much tougher opposition in their game on Sunday.
The Instonians vs Waringstown tie will be a tough one to call at this stage. Waringstown had an excellent win in their season opener last weekend against North Down, with Cara Murray performing well with bat and ball. However, they will unfortunately be without Murray this time around due to an injury picked up on representative duty during the week. A young Instonians squad will be relying on the excellent early season form of Amy Hunter if they are to progress to the semi-finals.
Former Cup winners Lurgan will start as strong favourites in their tie against Division 1 side Carrick. Lurgan will be relying on strong performances from Emma McMurray and Hannah Grieve, who have both shown excellent early season form, if they are to ensure they progress to the semi-final stage of the competition.
With four exciting games ahead this weekend it will be interesting to see which four teams stay in the hunt for the Women’s Challenge Cup this season and make it into the hat for the semi-final draw.
Women’s Challenge Cup first schedule – Sunday 2nd August.