Reigning champions Chester Boughton Hall put down an early marker when they trounced last season’s runners-up Neston by 113 runs at Filkins Lane on the opening day of the 2014 Vivio Cheshire ECB Premier League season.
Chester who wound up last September 12 points ahead of their Wirral rivals, scored at a rate of more than a run a ball to compile 320 for eight with Lancashire’s Jordan Clark contributing 83, Ross Dixon 65 and former skipper Steve Ogilby 45 as the Neston bowlers toiled. Part-time opener Jack Smith took 4-74 and returning old boy James Hawley 3-52.
In reply Neston needed a sturdy 59 from number 8 batsman Chris Hackett to reach 207 while Chester’s new Aussie paceman Josh Henderson started on a promising note with 4-63.
Promoted First Division champions Bramhall did well to win by three wickets at Alderley Edge, having to chase 215 for eight. Charlie Reid made a 56-ball 59 and Alan Daya more measured 53 while Nick Bell took his first five-for of the summer to finish with 5-61. But skipper Nick Cantello led the way for Branmall with an unbeaten 73 and Matt Begbie 57 as the visitors made it with one ball left.
Promoted Urmston did not fare so well at Bowdon where they lost by 118 runs after putting the home side in to tally 218. Lancashire all-rounder Oliver Newby top scored with 61 and newcomer Pat Ashling 42, but both had to battle hard against reigning Young Player of the Year Matt Parkinson. His 6-48 return drew rich praise from home skipper Gareth Edwards who knows a good spinner when he sees one. Urmston were only able to muster 100 all out in reply, Newby polishing off a good day with 5-38.
Grappenhall recorded a sound 60 runs victory over Marple at Broad Lane after opting to bat and totalling 213, Adam Roylance 59, Liam Parkinson 44. Former Surrey and England paceman Jimmy Ormond took 6-51. Marple’s batting was disappointing with an all-out total of 15. New skipper Mark Bennett top-scored with a modest 36 and Josh McClelland bowled well for 5-62.
Oxton were no match for Hyde at Werneth Low where they lost by six wickets despite the appearance of Worcestershire first teamer Shaaiq Choudhry, who had a modest game. Hyde’s new Aussie paceman Matthew Hanna took 4-51 to help bowl Oxton out for 150 and Hyde went on to win by six wickets led by their former Macclesfield batsman Khalid Sawas who made 67 and skipper Danny Berry with 49.
On an opening day with no draws, Toft enjoyed a nine wickets home victory over Nantwich after dismissing their visitors for 154 with Olly Griffiths making 36. Rob Lomas wheeled away consistently for 6-78. Aussie opener Jake Hancock, back for a third fruitful season, top scored with an unbeaten 91 as Toft coasted home at 158 for one.