Hetton Lyons enjoyed the perfect start to the new Premier Division season, romping to a 10-wicket win over visitors South Shields at Lilywhite Terrace on Saturday.
Opening bowler Eddie Watson stole the show with a haul of four wickets for 40 runs as Lyons sent Shields back for just 126.
New professional Ockert Erasmus chipped in with 3-21, while Josh Coughlin struck twice. Skipper Chris Rainbow made 50 not out off 127 balls for Shields in a ground-out innings, with six boundaries, backed by Matthew Muchall (23) and Sam Embleton (22).
In reply, Hetton openers Jonny Malkin (42 not out, with four fours and two sixes) and Matthew Whaley (75 not out, with 10 fours and a six) put on 129 as Lyons coasted home in 24.4 overs.
Eppleton also opened with a fine victory, defeating Newcastle by two wickets away from home.
The Tynesiders declared on 235-9 after 48.4 overs, with Ben McGee top-scoring on 91, including 12 boundaries. Sean Tindale (32) and Joshua Phillipe (36, with two sixes), added to the tally.
Jandre Erasmus (3-60) and David Wilkinson (3-26) took the bowling honours for Eppleton, with Craig Scurr striking twice, including the wicket of McGee.
Opener Marcus Brown hit 42, with six boundaries, and Joseph Coyne made 57 in 66 balls, helped by three fours and two sixes, to lead Eppleton’s response.
Dean Musther chipped in with 37, with three fours, as did Luke Henderson, with seven boundaries, to make the runs required, as they edged home on 237-8 in 57.1 overs. Tindale took 4-54, with Ben Quirk taking the wickets of both Brown and Henderson.
Whitburn earned a creditable draw in their match away to champions Chester-le-Street.
After deciding to bat first, the Cestrians made 263-7, with opener Kyle Davis smashing 106 off 138 balls, including 15 fours.
Adam Hickey made 58, with nine fours and a six, while Andrew Smith added five boundaries in his 33 and George Harrison had four fours in 25.
Former Chester all-rounder James Thompson took 4-44 on his Whitburn debut, while Mark Elliott took the wickets of Harrison and Smith.
When Whitburn batted, they showed resilience to close on 160-8, with Ross Carty making a season-opening half-century, hitting 10 boundaries in his 50 off 120 balls.
James Thompson made 36, with four fours and a six, while Luke Smith added 34 in 68 balls, with three boundaries. Opener Dan Shurben fell for 21.
Hickey took 3-34 in 15 overs for Chester, while Stephen Cantwell bagged 2-29.
Durham Academy beat newly-promoted host Felling by 14 runs, in a close game.
The Academy youngsters batted first and made 149 all out in 48.1 overs. Opener Jack McCarthy top-scored on 44, with nine boundaries, while Chris McBride made 27 down the order. There were three wickets apiece for debutant Gary Scott (3-30), Craig Stephenson (3-47) and Anthony Trotter (3-26).
Haidar Shafiq then took a magnificent haul of 7-43 in his 13 overs to help bowl Felling out for 135, with Liam Trevaskis (2) and Matthew Potts also striking. Mark Turner top-scored with 41, while Scott made 24.
South Northumberland made a winning start to the campaign with an eight-wicket victory over Stockton.
Batting first, the Teessiders made 180, with Ryan Wallace contributing 67 and opener Matthew Gill making 30, in a 67-run partnership.
South North’s Simon Birtwisle took 4-42 and Lee Crozier 3-29, while Stephen Humble took his 500th league wicket.
Callum MacLeod then struck a magnificent 111 not out, including 22 fours, and put on 137 with John Graham (39 not out) to comfortably win the game in 30.3 overs.
Matthew Brown hit 123 off 143 balls for Tynemouth against Benwell Hill, with 10 fours and four sixes, in a total of 227-9 declared, with Luke Mussett taking 3-60 and Max Williamson 3-61.
In reply, Kyle Coetzer smashed 121 not out off 97 balls, including 12 fours and four sixes, as Benwell Hill squeezed home by five wickets in 52.1 overs, backed by Sameet Brar (26) and Mark Dale (25).