Paul Stirling scored an unbeaten century as North Down beat Cliftonville Academy, while Faiz Fazal and Luke Georgeson also made hundreds in wins for Lisburn and CSNI. Jamie Gibson took six wickets on debut for Waringstown as they beat Woodvale.

At the Castle Grounds, early wickets for Tom Mayes (4-52) had Premier League new boys Cliftonville Academy in trouble, before replacement professional Senuran Muthusamy (pictured below) set about repairing the damage.

The Test man top scored with 48, sharing stands of 64 for the third wicket with Max Burton (17), and 57 with New Zealand teenager Shaun O'Leary, who impressed with 41.

Photo by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

With four wickets for Mayes, three for Neil Brand (3-23) and a brace for Paul Stirling (2-24), the hosts were dismissed for 177.

Such a modest total was unlikely to prove much of an obstacle for the Comber side, and so it proved as Paul Stirling unleashed a flurry of boundaries against his former club.

The Irish international hit 11 sixes and 6 fours in an unbeaten 113, sharing an unbroken opening stand of 178 with Ani Chore (53*) as the ten wicket win was achieved just past the halfway mark.

Photo by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Almost as emphatic was Lisburn's shock win away at CIYMS. The Belmont side would have been relatively happy with their total of 217 for 7 at the halfway point, bit it proved woefully inadequate.

Mark Adair hit 7 fours and a six as he top scored with 55, sharing a third wicket stand of 93 with Chris Dougherty (41). Debutant Ross Adair hit 5 fours and a six in a breezy 36, dominating an opening stand of 47 with John Matchett (17).

Jacob Mulder (22), Nigel Jones (20), and Ian Butler (12) also chipped in with late runs, while there were three wickets each for Mark Berry (3-21) and David Simpson (3-37).

The chase proved a routine one as Indian international Faiz Fazal showed his class with a brilliant unbeaten 109 from 120 balls, which included 9 fours and 5 sixes. He shared an opening stand of 204 with Jonathan Waite, who hit 11 fours and cleared the ropes once in a hard-hit 79.

James Cameron-Dow dismissed Waite in the only wicket to fall, as the nine-wicket win was sealed in the 39th over.

Luke Georgeson was the third centurion of the day and his all-round heroics helped CSNI edge out Instonians by eight runs in a thriller at Stormont.

The Irish passport holding New Zealander - recently given a contract by Ireland - top scored with 106 from 138 balls (9 fours, 1 six) as CSNI scored 200 for 7.

Georgeson added 82 for the second wicket with Andrew Cowden (34) and 74 for the third with Stuart Thompson (30). James Hunter took five wickets for Inst as the hosts went for quick runs in the closing stages.

Nikolai Smith went early in the chase, but James Metcalfe (31) and Jack Dickson (27) got them back on track with a second wicket stand of 58, before two wickets for Andrew Cowden (2-34) and one for Ben Adair (1-41) reduced the visitors to 75 for 4.

Hunter and Andrew White (34) looked to be taking Inst to victory as they put on 84, but Stuart Thompson (2-20) came on to break the stand, and then trapped James Rose first ball.

Hunter was still there, but despite his best efforts he was left stranded on 64 eight runs adrift in the penultimate over - Georgeson completing a fine all-round day by taking three wickets, while Finn Lutton had the final say, capturing the final wicket.

At The Lawn, it was another New Zealander who shone brightly as debutant professional Jamie Gibson took six wickets as Waringstown started the defence of their title with a four-wickets win against Woodvale.

Gibson proved a real handful as his 6 for 23 saw Woodvale 177 all out. Ronan Restieaux top scored with 42, while there were 20s for Ruhan Pretorius, Paul Robinson and Aditya Adey.

James Mitchell took 2 for 58, including the early wicket of James Hall who made just two on his return.

Home skipper Lee Nelson fell early in the reply, but the nerves were settled with a second wicket stand of 68 between James McCollum (43) and Adam Dennison (32).

Gibson showed he could wield the willow too with a run-a-ball 39 (3 fours, 3 sixes), while any hopes of  a late collapse were extinguished by Graham Hume (29*) and Greg Thompson (15*) who shepherded them to the four wickets win.

Carrickfergus were the first winners of the new season, as they beat Cregagh by seven wickets after an early wobble in their pursuit of 91.

Jeremy Lawlor (41*) and CJ van der Walt (39*) ensuring a comprehensive win for the Middle Road side after Ross Boultwood's two wickets had given Cregagh some hope.

Earlier Dan Kearsley (pictured below) (3-25) had made early inroads to the Cregagh batting, and from 33 for 6 there was never going to be any hope for the new boys.

Daniel Kearsley/ Pic by Ally McCalmont


Carrickfergus (4) beat Cregagh (0) by 7 wickets
Cregagh 91 (31.4 overs, R Boultwood 27, D Kearsley 3-25, CJ van der Walt 2-12, J Lawlor 2-15)
Carrickfergus 95-3 (19.0 overs, J Lawlor 41*, CJ van der Walt 39*, R Boultwood 2-26)

Cliftonville Academy (0) lost to North Down (4) by 10 wickets
Cliftonville Academy 177 (45.2 overs, S Muthusamy 48, S O'Leary 41, T Mayes 4-52, N Brand 3-23, P Stirling 2-12)
North Down 178-0 (25.2 overs, P Stirling 113*, A Chore 53*)

CSNI (4) beat Instonians (0) by 8 runs
CSNI 200-7 (50.0 overs, L Georgeson 106, A Cowden 34, S Thompson 30, J Hunter 5-30)
Instonians 192 (49.0 overs, J Hunter 64*, A White 34, J Metcalfe 31, L Georgeson 3-43, S Thomspon 2-20, A Cowden 2-34)

CIYMS (0) lost to Lisburn (4) by 9 wickets
CIYMS 217-7 (50.0 overs, M Adair 55, C Dougherty 41, M Berry 3-21, D Simpson 3-37)
Lisburn 218-1 (39 overs; F Fazal 109*, J Waite 79)

Waringstown (4) beat Woodvale (0) by 4 wickets
Woodvale 177 (R Restieaux 42, P Robinson 27, R Pertorius 25, J Gibson 6-23, J Mitchell 2-58)
Waringstown 181-6 (J McCollum 43, J Gibson 39, A Dennison 32)