SKIPPER Adam Richardson and Adrian Lee were the stars of the show as reigning champions Arnside began their title defence with a solid 31-run victory against Silverdale at Cove Road.

Having been invited to bat, the visitors were reeling at 13-2 after the early loss of Oliver Hogg and Lee before Richardson and Mike Wolfenden rescued matters.

The pair added 119 for the third wicket as both fell in quick succession, with Arnside finishing on 171-9 as Silverdale’s Phil Mason returned figures of 5-56.

The Silverdale innings mirrored that of Arnside, with James Greenall and Jack Hargreaves combining well following the early loss of Jon Mason and Lindsay Thompson.

Greenall and Hargreaves were dismissed for 45 and 46 respectively as Silverdale slumped to 140 all out with right-arm medium pacer Lee claiming 6-38.

Last season’s runners-up Milnthorpe also started with a bang as Mike Wills inspired a 71-run success against Bolton le Sands at Main Road.

Wills clobbered ten fours and six sixes in a knock of 92 as the away side declared on 201-6, with Adam Dixon the pick of the Bolton le Sands’ bowlers with three wickets.

In reply, Lee Partis and Mark Brickles started positively with the introduction of Sam Woodburn at the Pavilion End proving the turning point – finishing with 6-41 off 13 overs.

Resistance crumbled once Partis was dismissed with Robert Clarkson the only Bolton le Sands batsman to make double figures, with Milnthorpe winning with 11 overs to spare.

Fancied Shireshead also put 15 points on the board, posting 171-8 against Burneside as top scorer Peter Wilson struck eight boundaries in a run-a-ball 46 and Paul Yates chalked up 31.

Steve Airey was the pick of the Burneside bowlers with 4-40 although the Ellergreen Park outfit were soon in trouble at 83-5 as Wilson and Phil Oliver took two wickets apiece.

New signing James Rafferty mopped up the tail to end with 5-26 on debut with Shireshead prevailing by 58 runs as Burneside were bowled out for 113.

Another debutant to make a favourable early impression was Sedgwick’s Mike Robinson, but not before Windermere were bowled out for 145.

The Queen’s Park outfit were in a commanding position 85-1 from 22 overs before left-arm spinner Simon Willacy changed the game with 3-32 off 16 overs.

Former Ibis batsman Robinson remained unbeaten on 48 as Sedgwick comfortably chased down their target, as Sam Portman added 20.

Elsewhere, Warton inflicted defeat on league newcomers Ambleside at Rydal Road, as Alex Thistlethwaite, Ryan Nelson and Graeme Crowther all made useful batting contributions.

Oli Wileman enhanced his growing reputation with 5-41 but was powerless to prevent Ambleside slipping to a 41-run defeat, as Crowther led the charge with 4-29.

Westgate also started the summer in impressive fashion, securing maximum points after setting Heysham 147 to win at Cross Hill Park and recording a crushing 76-run win.

In Division Two, there were 15-point wins for Holme and Bare while Burneside, Coniston, Kirkby Lonsdale and Heysham took 12 points as the home sides dominated.

Kirkby-in-Furness were the big winners in the third tier, claiming a 137-run win at Arnside having set 210 for victory, while in Division Four there were wins for Netherfield, Carnforth and Kirkby Lonsdale.

In Division Five, Netherfield are the early leaders after chasing down their victory target of 60 against Cartmel for the loss of only four wickets.