The North West side again found the going tough in the Irish Cup as the 19-year drought shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

North Down's prolific opening pair of Ali Shields and Ani Chore made light work of their 167 target at home to Eglinton as they romped home by 10 wickets in the 27th over, Shields top-scored with an unbeaten 88 from 79 balls, hitting 11 fours and 2 sixes, while Chore's undefeated 67 took 80 balls and included 9 fours. Shields had earlier taken three wickets, with two apiece for Peter Eakin and Ben Escott as the NW batsmen struggled to get going despite a few starts. Tommy Orr top-scored with 30, while South African professional Mike Erlank made 29 and Jamie Millar 26.

Six times winners Waringstown made light of the absence of five regulars including Irish internationals James McCollum (knee) and Graham Hume (refused permission to play by Cricket Ireland) to brush aside the challenge of NW champions Newbuildings. The home side were dismissed for just 98 with Johnny Thompson (23) and Mark Hanna (21) the best of a bitterly disappointing batting effort. Young left-arm spinner Seby Best took 3 for 2, while there were two wickets apiece for Greg Thompson, Ben Snell, and Pat Botha. With rain around, Waringstown raced to victory with Adam Dennison making a quickfire unbeaten half century and Ross Waite 41 not out to ensure their place in the next round.

Two-times winners The Hills are safely into the next round after a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Fox Lodge when the sides met for a second successive season at Ballymagorry. The home side improved on last year’s record low score of 27 as Craig Doherty top-scored with 44 and Jonathan Robinson made 39 in a total of 151 all out in 36.1 overs. Sean McNicholl (4-34) and Nicolaj Laegsgaard (3-53) did the damage for the visitors before Bhavesh Lakhotia’s rapid 88 from 58 balls saw them to their target in only 20.1 overs. Lakhotia hit nine fours and six sixes a she shared a stand of 143 in 17 overs with Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin (48*).

Andrew White claimed four wickets at The Village as Instonians eased to a 123-run victory over Malahide. A team effort - with six batters making between 23 and Cade Carmichael’s top score of 39 - took the visitors to a competitive 216-8 from 50 overs. James Newland, Andrew Sheridan, Peter Chase and Hunter Kindley took two wickets apiece for the home side. Malahide would have fancied their chances at halfway but Younas Ahmadzai fell second ball - one of four home ducks - and with Dan Rose following up his 35 from 25 balls with a frugal 3-7, and veteran White taking 4-22, the visitors were never in danger.

Lorcan Tucker steered to Pembroke to a nervy two-wicket victory over Brigade after the home side had looked on the brink of elimination at Sydney Parade.The visitors from the north-west had Ryan MacBeth (33) and his brother Scott (28) to thank for a modest 151 all out as Paul Lawson took 3-41 and Nick Stapleton, Zach Micklewright and Joe Prendergast each claimed two victims. Scott MacBeth then removed JJ Garth first ball and fellow opener Diarmuid Tucker again with out scoring, brother Ryan and Andy Britton also took two wickets, and when Iftikhar Hussain (2-34) removed Micklewright for 10, Pembroke were 94-8. Ireland wicketkeeper Tucker stood firm, though, guiding his side home with 72 not out from 96 balls, including six boundaries, sharing an unbroken 9th wicket stand of 58 with Joe Prendergast (17*) as Pembroke won with 4.5 overs to spare.

A fine all-round display by Railway Union saw the 2006 winners thump Bready by 130 runs at Park Avenue. A solid batting effort helped by a plethora of bowling extras - 16 alone from Irish international Conor Olphert whose first over cost 25. Punya Meha top-scored with 68 as the home side posted 285, with five others passing 20. David Scanlon and Jordan McCorkell each took three wickets for Bready while Olphert repaired some of the initial damage to end with 2-57. Ian Young - brother of Craig - hit 51 in the Bready reply and Sri Lankan overseas professional Irosh Samarasooriya made 44 bit there was little else as they were bowled out for 155. Brandon Kruger took 5-16, while Liam McCarthy (3-20) and Sean O'Brien - the latest of the famous Railway dynasty -took 2-27 in the one-sided win.

In the closest tie of the round, Leinster squeezed to a six-run win at Stormont as CSNI’s last-wicket pair just failed to chase down the visitors’ 248 all out, finishing on 242-9. Joey Carroll scored a solid 62 from 80 balls for Leinster after skipper Bilal Azhar had made 42 at the top of the order while Matthew Foster showed why he has caught the eye of the Ireland selectors with 4-47 from his 10 overs. Half-centuries from Stuart Thompson and Marc Ellison, plus Ryan Hunter’s 47 took CSNI to 174-3 in the 37th over only to collapse to 196-9. Game over? Last man Foster had other ideas and with the support of teenager James West he took the home side to within a shot of parity, making 32 not out as the pair added an unbeaten 46.

A ONE-SIDED contest at Farmers Cross saw Merrion rack up 395-3 and steamroller Cork Harlequins by 280 runs as the home side were bowled out for 115 in 25.4 overs. Ireland opener Stephen Doheny led the way for the visitors with 146 off 128 balls, with 14 fours and five maximums, while Joe Carty, Jon Anderson, Sam Harbinson and Swapnil Modgill all scored half-centuries. Modgill hit six fours and three sixes as he raced to 53 not out from only 18 balls while Devon Joyce (1-41) was the pick of the bowlers. Harlequins lost Jack Buss in the first over of the reply without a run on the board and could not mount any sort of challenge as Merrion pro Harbinson followed up his 52 not out with 4-16.

A 5th wicket stand of 113 between Irish international Harry Tector and overseas professional Ash Burton took YMCA from a precarious 59 for 4 to 233. Tector showed his class on a challenging track top-scoring with 87, while Burton made 65. Gareth Burns took four wickets while former captain Stephen Hutchinson claimed a brace. Matthew Smyth (32) and Matthew Hutchinson (22) had Coleraine 67 for 1 in the chase before the wheels came off. Three wickets apiece for Jamie Forbes and Ash Burton as 9 wickets tumbled for just 27 runs.

Ardmore face a long trek to The Mardyke after their game against Cork County was abandoned just 8 balls into the second innings. Ryan Brolly returned to the team and showed his quality as he top-scored with 83, while there were runs too for South African professional Aviwe Mgijima (37) and Mark Chambers (35). For the Munstermen there were two wickets apiece for Watoo, Nabel Anjum and professional Stefano Di Bartolomeo. That replay is scheduled for next Sunday (May 28).

Donemana and Carrickfergus must try again after their tie at The Holm was abandoned at the halfway point. Home skipper Dwayne McGerrigle was at his belligerent best hitting 9 sixes and 7 fours in a top-score of 95 from 72 balls. That helped his team to 247 with quick runs too for William McClintock, whose 45 from just 25 balls included 5 fours and 3 sixes. Dutch/NZ international Michael Rippon's left-arm wrist spin saw him take wickets as did Jake Egan.