THERE was a shock on the opening day of the new Palace Shield Premier Division season.
Reigning champions Vernon Carus were comprehensively beaten by Fulwood and Broughton at Highfield.
It was the visitors who won the toss and elected to field first but the decision proved to be ill-advised as F&B racked-up 176 off 44.1 overs.
Robert Parker top scored with 39 and there were valuable contributions from Charles Rossiter (33) and Chris Brookes (27).
Ben Llewellin, Richard McCutcheon and Joe Allen each took three wickets apiece.
In reply, Richard Turner took control with the ball for F&B, taking 6-34 from 9.4 overs.
Vernons were dismissed for a paltry 118 inside 34 overs.
The match of the day saw Great Eccleston, who finished third last summer, entertain last year’s runners-up Longridge at Hall Lane.
It was the home side who enjoyed an emphatic 99-run win after they posted a considerable total of 243-7.
Oliver Parkinson and Mohamed Nadeem both hit half-centuries and Phil Harvey hit 45 for Great Ecc.
In reply, Longridge never got close to Great Eccleston’s total as they were dismissed for for 144 inside 41 overs. Richard White impressed with the ball, taking 4-37.
Champions of 2011 Penwortham looked like they could be the team to beat this season after a largely disappointing campaign last summer.
Martin Hewitt’s men were far too strong for Fylde and ran out convincing 91-run victors. Their win owed much to an excellent half-century from Martyn Brierley, who helped Penwortham close on 168-6. In reply, Fylde were never in with a shout as they were routed for 77 inside 31 overs.
There was a competitive affair at the Riverside as Garstang edged past BAC/EE Preston.
After inserting the visitors, Ian Walling’s men restricted their opponents to 175 all out in the final over.
Jonathon Hothersall hit a magnificent 70, while Tom Wells returned figures of 4-65 from 15 overs. Garstang reached their victory target with three overs to spare and four wickets in hand.
Mark Walling guided his side to victory with a well crafted half-century.
Newly-promoted Hoghton did not get off to the best of starts as they were comprehensively beaten by Freckleton. Jamie Hogarth took 5-7 as Hoghton were dismissed for 61 and the home side knocked off the runs for the loss of one wicket.
Fellow promoted side Croston also began the new campaign with a defeat to Thornton Cleveleys at home.
Taylor Cornall hit a half-century as Thorntons comfortably won by five wickets chasing 112 for victory.