THE long wait for a return to competitive action for the region’s recreational cricketers came to an end at the weekend.

Not even the leaden skies could dampen the mood among players and spectators, with play possible in all five Hunters Yorkshire Premier League North matches - a couple of them providing thrilling finishes.

Before the start of the game between York and Sheriff Hutton Bridge at Clifton Park, players, officials and supporters for both clubs honoured the memory of York CC legend Daniel Woods with a minutes silence.

Then it was down to business for two of last season’s top three as they engaged in an absorbing contest and, although the visitors' Premier League crown is not at stake this season, there was no lack of intensity in the match.

Half-centuries from Guy Darwin (59) and Alex Liley (52) helped the home side to build a total of 195-9, despite four wickets from Freddie Collins (4-34) and three from Matthew Bird (3-43) on his debut.

A third wicket stand of 99 between Adam Fisher (46) and Tommy Hudson (90) looked to be guiding Sheriff Hutton Bridge to a comfortable victory before three quick wickets from Tom Forsdike (3-37) re-ignited the contest.

A couple of further wickets left the game finely balanced but an assured 26 not out from Toby Latham saw his side home with three balls to spare.

There was an even finer margin just across Clifton Park where Clifton Alliance chased down a revised target of 149 from 24 overs against Dunnington with just one ball to spare.

Prior to 2020, all three of Alliance's opening day games in the competition had fallen foul of the weather and they must have feared this one would go the same way with plenty of showers around.

Andrew Bilton, having moved from Woodhouse Grange, made an immediate impact scoring 45 in Dunnington's total of 142-7 which included three wickets from Liam Green (3-20).

Jonathan Anderson (3-32) picked up wickets in three of his first four overs as the hosts struggled until former skipper John Gilham (40) steadied things and it was then down to Jacob Turp (36no) to hold his nerve and guide the side to a five-wicket win.

William Wade of Acomb was the day's leading run scorer - his 91 alongside a half-century from Joe Dale (51) helping the home side reach 186-8 against Driffield Town thanks to a partnership of 104 scored at almost a run a ball.

Wickets fell cheaply either side of their stand, with James Anson (4-45) the main beneficiary, as other than Wade and Dale only one further batsman reached double figures.

Grant Halder (38) and Noah Kelly (37) put on 70 for the visitors second wicket as their reply began promisingly.

But once the pair were separated, James Tindall (4-36) and Joe Dale (3-30) took a stranglehold on the game ensuring the match between the two newly promoted sides went the way of Acomb.

Dominic Rhodes was in destructive mood for Stamford Bridge against Woodhouse Grange, scoring an unbeaten 80 from just 42 balls, including the days fastest 50 off only 29.

It came as the hosted scored an imposing 206-4 from 29 overs; Rhodes sharing stands of 71 with Kyle Waite (35) and 104 with Benjamin Pearson (61).

Not content with his batting effort he struck twice in the opening over of the Grange’s reply and would finish with 3-15.

Henry Wilson (34) led a fightback and despite an unbroken 50 partnership between Declan Eastwood (27no) and Christopher Suddaby (39no) in the end they had been left with too much to do the hosts falling 29 runs short of a revised target of 150 from 21 overs.

Unfortunately, only nine overs were possible between Castleford and Harrogate the hosts having reached 41-1. Brayden Clark made an unbeaten 28 on his return to Savile Park.

Elsewhere, the opening round of matches in Division One (West) were dominated by the home sides, all of which won and in all but one case batted first.

The exception was at Bolton Percy, where the hosts set a revised target of 120 from 30 overs to beat Dringhouses eased home with four wickets and almost three overs to spare thanks largely to 48 from Ian Lynch.

Carlton Towers opener Tom Collins (50) was one of only two batsmen in the division to score a half-century to help the hosts reach 212-6 - easily the highest total in the opening round of matches in the West.

Whitkirk were all out for 178 in reply to secure the hosts a comfortable victory by 34 runs.

It was a similar margin of victory at Elmpark Way where Heworth overcame the challenge of Clifton Alliance II to win by 36 runs,.

Thorp Arch & Boston Spa were comfortable winners over Osbaldwick in a low scoring match, prevailing to victory by 42 runs.

Another side to struggle on the road were York II who lost by 45 runs after being bowled all out for only 71 in just over 25 overs.

That was in reply to Goole Town’s 136 after the home side were bowled out in 33 overs.