The Westmorland Cricket League returned at the weekend with the teams hopeful of usurping last season's champions Shireshead, who claimed the title by 27 points over Warton.

Reigning champions Shireshead got their defence underway with a four-wicket win at home to Silverdale earning 15 points in the process.

Shireshead chose to bat first but lost Tom Jacques and Danny Wilkinson early. The experienced duo of J Mason (2 for 26) and P Moffat (4 for 44) bowled with great control and made it very difficult for the Shireshead batsmen. Paul Yates and Nick Rafferty (25) took the score to 36 for 2, but a middle order collapse left the innings in a perilous state at 57 for 6.

Simon Gould (40) held the innings together, and he was well supported by James Rafferty and Jack Dodd. The innings ended on 111 in the 40th over with Silverdale the happier of the sides.

James Rafferty and Danny Wilkinson bowled tidy spells as Silverdale went in, but there was no early clatter of wickets.

Silverdale built momentum as J Mason (26) and K Forster took the score to 52 for 1 at the end of the 23rd over. Young leg-spinner Rowan Upton (2 for 36) and Peter Wilson (5 for 29) were bowling in tandem and they slowly wrestled back a degree of control as Upton removed both Mason and Forster. At 89 for 4 from 34 overs the odds were still heavily stacked in Silverdale’s favour, but when Wilson removed J Hargreaves suddenly the game was on. The introduction of Tom Jacques (2 for 2) into the attack proved crucial, but fittingly it was Wilson who took the last wicket.

Elsewhere, Burneside picked up 12 points in a six-wicket victory at Carnforth. Carnforth made their way to 198-6 with Airey finishing with 2-43 and Huggonson 2-32.

The Burneside innings started in swift fashion with Huck and Davies finding the boundary at regular intervals and brought up the 50 partnership in just 7 overs. However, after a couple of quick wickets, the enigmatic Oates came in at 6 for 27 not out to see the Ellergreen boys home with 5 overs left and secure 12 valuable points.

At the other end Davies finished on an indifferent 106 not out.

Elsewhere, Westgate beat Ambleside by three wickets, Windermere beat Heysham by 29 runs, and Warton beat Arnside by 57 runs