Newcomers Eppleton Cricket Club found Houghton Town too strong, going down to a 5-0 home defeat in their first match – as the Castle Insurance Alan Smith Memorial Trophy took centre stage on opening day.
James Cook, David Vincent, Matty Weirs, Lee McBeth and sub Ryan Beston did the damage for Town, who were formerly Houghton Comrades.
Callum Munro was star man, with keeper Anthony Lowerson top man for Eppleton.
Houghton Wild Boar All-Stars won through 2-1 at Ushaw Moor Cricket Club.
Houghton led after 10 minutes when Karl Anderson broke out of defence and fed Rob Thompson, who reached the bye-line before cutting the ball back for Chris Hutcheon to hammer home.
Ushaw Moor equalised when Dean Taylor’s corner kick squeezed in at the near post, but Boar bagged an 80th-minute winner when sub Shaun Corner hit home from close range.
Stephen Parkin starred for Boar, Scott Davison for Moor.
Dubmire won through an epic tie 7-5 at Bede Lodge SC after extra time – yet the hosts were 4-2 up going into the final five minutes of normal time.
David Duke capped a man of the match display with four of Bede’s goals, with Andrew Bell also netting. Star man Stephen Donkin fired a treble for Dubmire, backed by David Finch, Michael Donkin, James Gardiner and sub Jon Jordison.
Houghton Chilton Lodge exited to visitors Birtley Coach and Horses, going down 2-1.
The hosts started well, but Birtley settled and proved a threat on the counter, with their opening goal coming from a set piece, with Callum Turnbull netting after the ball had dropped inside the box.
Lodge levelled quickly, but they failed to make the most of their second-half pressure, with a 35-yard volley crashing against the bar, and Coach and Horses won it when Jack Kelly’s ball over the top was finished off by Ryan Jenkins.
Chester-le-Street AFC enjoyed a 2-1 victory at Bowburn.
Miller Fletcher gave Chester the lead from the edge of the box, following Andy Graham’s lay-off, but Bowburn equalised after a defensive error.
On 70 minutes, Jonathan Dargue bulleted home a headed winner from Fletcher’s corner. Keeper Craig Oliver shone for the visitors.
West Rainton were given a tough test by lowly visitors Bearpark WMC before winning 2-0. The game swung on a penalty decision resulting in a dismissal for hand ball by Raymond Wilson which swung the game Rainton’s way. Dylan Crooks starred for Bearpark.
Chester Garden Farm produced a superb second-half display to win their derby tie 3-2 at Chester Britannia.
Britannia, whose marksmen were Chris Youldon and Michael Roberts, twice led but rued their missed opportunities in the first period. Allen Robson’s well-worked goal got Farm level at 1-1, then Dan Johnson’s long-ranger made it 2-2 before star man Tom Wray hit the visitors’ winner.
Waldridge Park put Houghton to the sword 6-3.
Waldridge struck early on, but Shaun Dixon quickly levelled. The hosts regained the lead and added two more before half-time. It was 5-1 before Levi Scott sent a fine free-kick into the top corner for Houghton’s second goal. Andy Brooke headed home for 5-3, but a goal on the break sealed their fate late on.
Adam Campbell Bell grabbed a hat-trick for Park, backed by Richard Ellis and Jamie Taylor (2), with Niki Robson and keeper Matthew Noble the respective star men.
Pelaw Grange Dogs won a tight clash 3-1 at Ouston Juniors, whose keeper, Barry Foster, maintained his clean sheet to half-time with a brilliant save from a Jeffers free-kick.
Dogs upped the tempo on the restart and went in front with a header, but star man Nathan Morley’s fine finish levelled it up. Both sides had chances, but a wicked deflection put Pelsw in front, and, as Ouston pushed everyone forward, Jeffers’ cross-shot was deflected in by Matty McAdam for an unfortunate own goal clincher.
Chilton WMC cruised to a 7-2 home win over Bishop Middleham, never looking back after Vinny Gash hit a hat-trick inside 15 minutes.
Nicky Pickford added a second-half treble, with Matthew Jackson also on target.
Ferryhill Celtic edged a 2-1 victory in an entertaining tie at Hilda Park, who had debutant Jak Gordon on target. Marc Smith starred for Hilda.
High Handenhold Bird Inn finished 4-0 winners at Lumley, but it was a tight, well-contested affair. Gaps only opened up when Lumley threw caution to the wind at 1-0 down. Dan Jowett shone for Lumley.
Sacriston WMC outgunned Chester Park Inn 6-1, with Damien Baston firing the consolation. Stephen Wood starred.
Newton Aycliffe WMC overwhelmed High Shincliffe Avenue 10-1, with star man Kieran Megran hitting four.
Pittington won 2-0 at Newton Hall Jovial Monk, with Josh Hugill and Phillip Harbisher striking, while Ferryhill Dynamos came from behind to beat Washington Cricket Club 4-1 after extra time.
Jay Stirk scored in vain for Durham Buffaloes Head, who went down gamely to Durham County Seniors in a 14-1 defeat. Keeper Gregg Remmer stood out for Buffaloes.
Hetton New Inn lost 2-1 to visitors Washington Sandiper
The opening Premier Division match saw Brandon Sports Club, early-season fron-runners last term, edge a 2-1 win over Sacriston Cricket Club, thanks to goals from Karl Turner (penalty) and Michael Fort.
In Division Two, Framwellgate Moor WMC won 4-2 at Kelloe WMC.
Sunderland Deaf and Spennymoor Salvin Arms have both resigned from the league.