On the hottest opening day of the season that experienced spectators could recall, Spenser Wilson Halifax League champions Booth were caught cold yet again.
Twelve months after being bowled out for 97 at Warley, Richard Laycock’s side could only muster 101 away to promoted Sowerby Bridge yesterday.
However, they did manage to come away from Walton Street with four points, three for bowling out their hosts for 163 and a barely-deserved batting point for limping past the 100-mark.
Spinner Jake Dixon was the hero for promoted Bridge, taking seven for 18 to leave Laycock wondering about the wisdom of not having a warm-up match for his side, who are seeking a record-equalling fourth successive title.
Booth will probably have been happy enough with their performance in the first half. Fifth and sixth choice bowlers Moazzam Ayub and Patrick Thomas picked up seven wickets between them with Tom Bellfield, Bridge’s recruit from Southowram, Bridge’s top scorer with 32.
The other promoted side, Illingworth, opened with a resounding nine-wicket home win against Shelf Northowram Hedge Top.
Sent in to bat, the visitors were soon in all sorts of trouble at 10-3 with Jamie Moorhouse picking up two wickets and Luke Brooksby the other.
Vijay Muniyasamy and Barbar Malik led a fight back of sorts with 25 and 33 but at 83-7 a realistic target seemed unlikely.
Daniel Phipps made a fighting 36 and kept the tail together for an unlikely final total of 151. Stephen Cook and Moorhouse each picked up three wickets.
Illingworth lost Matthew Sewell early on but Calum Cook (74 no) and Liam Kelly (53 no) never looked in much danger as they chased down the target with 20 overs to spare. Last year’s runners-up Thornton negotiated a tricky first hurdle at home to Triangle with the help of a century from Nikki Hutchinson.
The No 4 batsman made 111 not out and 54 from opener Greg Soames and 40 from Tim Shackleton helped Thornton to 247-5. That proved tantalisingly out of reach of Triangle, who made 235-9.
The home side had a typical Carl Fletcher onslaught to contend with, the big man crashing nine sixes in his 77 before falling to Josh Hutchinson, who along with Mark Clayton and Soames picked up three wickets.
Copley soon had visitors Oxenhope on the ropes at 58-5. The remaining visiting batsmen buckled down to lift the total to 161 but Oliver Thorpe added 68 not out to his earlier three wickets as Copley strolled to a seven wicket win.
Taufeeq Ahmed, signed from East Bierley, was Mytholmroyd’s match-winner in a 38-run success at home to Mytholmroyd.
He top scored with 55 in Royd’s 235 all out and followed up with six for 46 as Tom Wood’s 81 and Adam Fawcett’s 47 proved in vain for the visitors.
Another fine all-round effort came from Warley’s Cameron van Rensberg as his side won by 12 runs at Sowerby St Peter’s.
The South African, back for a second season with last year’s Parish Cup and T20 competition winners, top scored with 41 as his side rallied from 74-7 to reach 159.
The spinner then took 4-37 off 14 overs - the maximum allowed under new rules - as Sowerby were all out off the penultimate ball of the game.