Last weekend’s Ulster Cup first round will hardly go into the record books as the North West’s finest hour as local sides were battered into submission by their NCU counterparts. Six of the seven failed to make it past the first round and some of them were on the receiving end of real thrashings, with Bready’s win away at Muckamore the only thing saving us from a total whitewash.
Donemana received a bye into the next round meaning at least two representatives in the last eight but there is no doubt the Union’s reputation was tarnished on the back of this awful display. The only silver lining is that we don’t have to wait long to try to regain some local pride as this Sunday sees the next round of the RSA Irish Senior Cup- a competition in which, for this season at least, we’ve fared a good deal better than our friends from over the Glenshane.
The North West has six survivors in the last sixteen, all of whom have really tough ties to negotiate. Fox Lodge, struggling so badly this season so far have been drawn to play holders Clontarf with the only chink of light being that the match will be staged in Ballymagorry. Bready with their excellent start to the season will travel south in confident mood, but will find Leinster champions The Hills tougher than anything they have faced to date.
Of all the intriguing ties down for decision however the one most people here are eyeing up is the “local” derby between two former All-Ireland champions, St Johnston and Strabane. The match has captured the imagination of the cricket community here and is sure to draw a decent crowd to the Boathole for what everyone hopes will be a memorable day.
Both sets of players are certainly looking forward to the game- the home camp were bullish immediately after seeing off Civil Service North in the first round, but having played the Premiership outfit in a pre-season friendly at the start of this season they will know that this is another huge ask. Strabane for their part have been tight-lipped on the contest, preferring to focus on the prize for winning.
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