WIDNES got off to a winning start on their return to the ECB Premier Division in the Murray Smith Accountants Cheshire County League when they won a low-scoring game at Macclesfield.
Making his first appearqnce for the club after moving from Grappenhall, last season's Cheshire Young Player of the Year James McCoy topscored with a cruciual 37 in Widnes's modest 135, another debutant, Australia paceman Sam McTaggart, taking 5-47.
Macc found runs even hard to come by and were bowled out 14 short at 121, Andy Nicholson taking 3-11 and Bapa Mukherjee 3-18.
The other promoted club Poynton were foiled by Hyde's tailenders in a tense finish at Stockport road. Hyde's last pair, Tom Young and Danny Berry, held out for 11 overs.
Champions Bowdon opened with a two wickets home win agaist a fighting Neston side with two balls to spare. They replied with 168-8, Jon Gray making a crucial 51, while newly-arrived Australian paceman Jarron Bird took 3-54. Neston had struggled to muster 165-4 (Andy Wooley 49no, Stan Clifford 36).
Veteran ex-Cheshire spinner John O'Brien was the star turn in Oxton's 31-run win at Didsbury, returning impressive figures of 6-25 to help dismiss the Mancunians for 133. Marc Debrabender scored 59no and Graham Cashin 51 in Oxton's 164, their remaining batsmen struggling against yet another impressive Australian paceman in Tom Maher, who could hardly have made a more startling first appearance with 7-29.
Oulton Park beat Alderley Edge by two wickets with one ball remaining thanks largely to a fine performance by Cheshire all-rounder Jason Whittaker with 68 and 3-23.
Had they been able to part Nantwich's last pair, Chester Boughton Hall would have got under way with an impressive victorey, but the Dabbers held out at 142-9 after Chester had run up 151-6.