AS PLAY finally started in the foothills of the Peak District after two weeks of almost incessant rain, many outfields were still soft and wickets slow, but all games were played to completion.
Reigning Division One champions Dinting started the defence of their title at home to Hazel Grove and after winning the toss posted an imposing total of 228-8, John Coleman top-scoring with 54 not out, while his brother Matt scored 39 and G Gerrard and S Elliot chipped in with 30 each.
In reply, Hazel Grove could only reach 118-9, with Geoff Noden top-scoring on 38, while the main damage was inflicted by B Thompson (5-46).
Hayfield got off to a winning start with a home victory against Old Glossop. The visitors batted first and were all out for 114 with D Platt taking 5-46. Julian Burgess top-scored on his Hayfield debut with 60 not out in a total of 118.
Birch Vale played host to Tintwistle, and batting first could only reach 114 all out, with extras claiming the top score on 30 and James Pool taking 3-19. The reply was near perfect with the total passed without Tintwistle losing a wicket, thanks to knocks by R Harris (69 not out) and P Higginbotham (39 not out).
Newly-promoted Dove Holes travelled to Newton and reached 173-7, M Johnson top-scoring with 44 and A Allcock taking 4-70. Newton were 158 all out in reply, Mark Barnard hitting 57 and Dave Cartledge bagging 6-27.
Last season’s Division Two champions New Mills visited Broadbottom and bowled the home side out for 122, with Malc Strong taking 4-27 off 15 overs. New Mills passed their target for the loss of five wickets, with M Birchenall the pick of the batsmen with 36 not out.
Hawk Green scored a huge 363-7 against Buxton, who could only muster 82 all out in reply (see back page report).
In Division Two, relegated Compstall travelled to Mottram and made a terrible start to their campaign, being bowled out for 52. Fine bowling from Sam Grinstead (5-10), Ayrton Fielding (3-11) and Mike Scott (2-7) did the damage. Mottram passed their target for the loss of just one wicket.
Charlesworth recorded an equally-comprehensive victory away at Buxworth, bowling the home side out for 52 as P Littlewood took 5-23. They then easily knocked the runs off reaching 53-1 as Elliott Morley made 37 not out.
In the closest game of the day, home side Chapel batted first and made 203-8. A Hibbert top-scored with 73, supported by Nick Pearson (39) and Mike Edwards (33), while Connor Cramwell took 4-51.
Woodley were in the hunt all the way but came up just four runs short, finishing perilously close on 199-9. Cramwell showed his all-round ability with 54, C Cox made 39 and N Bradford 33. J Jackson the pick of the bowlers with 4-61.
Hadfield were put into bat by High Lane but a magnificent 120 from Rick Tranter saw them post 207 all out, with Danny Richardson (4-30) and A Oswell (3-39) the top bowlers. High Lane were never in the game and Rob Hirst took 4-13 as they were all out for 71.
New Mills started life back in Division Three with a victory against Mottram. Put into bat they could only make 100 all out as H Moore took 3-22 and T Broscombe 3-33, but Josh Stevens (4-17) and James Stevens (3-34) ensured victory as Mottram fell 26 runs short on 74 all out.
The other promoted side, High Lane, were hosts to Dinting. Batting first, High Lane made 163 all out in just 30 overs. Fourteen-year-old Joe Chorlton made 53 as S Garlick took 3-23 and E Walsh 3-21.
With plenty of overs to reach their target, Dinting looked well set at 98-2 (J.I. Brotherton 63 and A Worral 40) but 5-39 from Keith Tysall (all bowled) and 3-30 from Mark Varley saw Dinting finish 20 runs shy on 143 all out.
Woodley were home to Hawk Green and made 126-9, Graham Parry top-scoring with 30 as Jack Needham took 4-31 and Elliott Young 4-52. However, T Bartlett (3-14) and N Turner (4-27) proved too much for Hawk Green as they were bowled out for 79.
Newton travelled to Dove Holes and restricted the home side to 153-8. S Batho reached 49 not out as Newton passed their target for the loss of eight wickets, with Kev Waterhouse taking 6-33.
Birch Vale made 130-8 at Tintwistle, with P Trueman scoring 43 as J Matthew took 3-22 and K Nield 3-23. The home side struggled in reply, only making 55 as P Trueman also excelled with the ball taking 4-32 and K Malik took 5-13.
Old Glossop won the toss and sent Hayfield into bat, who duly amassed 280-6, S Palmer with 105, supported by K Sharp (42) and J Redfern (39). The reply never got going as Old Glossop were bowled out for 100, J Adamson the pick of the Hayfield bowlers with 5-13.
In Division Four, Compstall hosted relegated Broadbottom and amassed 200-6. Debutant Ravi Patel batted through for an unbeaten 92, supported by Jaz Ince (34) and R Taylor (39), while Steven Croft took 5-48. Broadbottom were 88 all out in reply, with only Croft showing any resistance with 38.
Hazel Grove batted first at home to Hadfield and were soon all out for 84, junior Liam Doyle taking 7-4. However it proved to be enough as Jason Leech took 7-17 in Hadfield’s 63 all out.
Chapel made 139-9 at Buxton, with Ben Candlin (33), J King (32) and D Wagstaffe (34) all chipping in.
It proved not to be enough as Buxton finished on 140-5, mainly thanks to G Holder (63 not out) and P Caffeky (56).
Charlesworth restricted Buxworth to 127-7 as J Cryne took 4-25 and I Walker scored 55. The hosts appeared to be in trouble at 20-4, but S Marren (61) and A Radcliffe (36 not out) saw them home for the loss of seven wickets, with A Reynold taking 3-42.
Hollingworth batted first at home to Whaley Bridge and finished their innings on 140-6, Pete Morris with 33 as C Wild took 3-24.
Whaley reached their target thanks to M Thompson’s 76 and 43 from Mike Madden, with J Miller taking 5-55.