THE new Pilmoor Evening Cricket League season got underway with just 11 teams competing, six in

the first division and five in the second.

The season will comprise 15 fixtures in the first division, teams playing each other three times, with 12 fixtures in the second division.

In recent years the number of member clubs has declined from 18 to 11, with New Earswick, Stillington, Civil Service, Rowntrees & Huntington, Acomb, Huby and Easingwold all withdrawing from the competition.

A league spokesman said: "In an effort to arrest the decline, a review of the league in general will take place in the autumn when any ideas to revamp and revive interest in the league will be welcome."

On Wednesday, defending champions Clifton Alliance made the trip to Sessay and had the hosts in a spot of difficulty at 50-3 after 10 overs, despite Jamie Ormston having made 21.

The innings was boosted by Navin Kavikara, whose 74 from 42 balls included nine fours and three sixes,

and Sessay closed on 123-5, with Tom Brown finishing with 2-41.

Alliance also made a shaky start as Arron Bumby (2-23) took early wickets, but young South African Matthew Montgomery kept Alliance in the hunt with some fine stroke play.

Ben Scaling (2-20) contained Montgomery better than most and their challenge effectively ended when Scaling had him caught at the wicket in the fading light for 78, which included seven fours and two sixes. Clifton’s reply closed short on 116-6.

The scores were very similar at Sheriff Hutton Bridge where Helperby only just failed to chase down Bridge’s 128-6.

Sri Lankan Dulash Udayanga, returning to SHB for a second spell as overseas player, was to the fore with 67, Rob Stevens supporting with 34, as Bridge totalled 128-6 despite Will Sowray’s 3-10.

Luke Fletcher led the Helperby reply with 50 and B Simpson made an unbeaten 27, but it closed on 116-3.

Promoted Thirsk began with a win at home to Newburgh.

James Banks top scored with 49 as Newburgh posted 91-4, James Wilkinson having the best return for Thirsk with 2-26.

Wilkinson also contributed with the bat, making 26 as Thirsk took the points at 92-4 with four balls to spare.

There were also close finishes in the two second division fixtures.

At Raskelf, bowlers were on top all evening as the hosts struggled to 57 all out against H Wilkinson (3-11) and M Thomas (3-8). Visitors Dringhouses in turn found batting hard work on a tricky surface and were all out for 52 as Jake Petty (3-7), Sam Porter (4-22) and Toby Baker (3-20) turned the tide.

The closest finish of all was at Alne where Crayke emerged victorious by one run.

Batting first, Crayke made 146-4, with P Barton retiring on 50 while Jon Dey and Peter Carr both got in the 20s.

Sam Lupton led the Alne reply, also retiring on 50, and they began the last over needing seven for victory. Paul Barton was up to the task for Crayke, taking a wicket and conceding five runs from the first five deliveries, leaving Alne needing two to win from the final delivery. The last batsmen was bowled to give Crayke the points.