BRILLIANT Paul Turner made light of the spring chill to score a majestic century to delight Cherry Tree on the opening day of the Ribblesdale League season.
Turner carried his bat for 114 as the Blackburn side put Earby to the sword – but more importantly got people talking about the cricket rather than plans to change the face of the league.
Some people don’t care to embrace change – and they would have been happy watching Turner.
He has never changed from being a young run machine right up to now where he leads Cherry by example from the front.
On a day that could be best described as a two jumper effort, Turner played the sort of innings to warm the fans, facing 121 balls and hitting 14 fours and three sixes.
New Cherry Tree pro Liam Jackson also starred on debut and made a lovely 60 as Cherry posted 243-3 from their 45 overs.
On a day that tested the mettle of the fielders, Earby were not the sharpest with the wickets shared between Martin Kegg, Danny Kegg and Ali Azmat, who was well wrapped-up against the chill.
Azmat had to come to the fore with the bat if Earby were to chase such a target down – and while he made 58, it needed more.
Aron Pollard fell just shy of a deserved 50 at the top of the order, while Peter Baistow scored 27.
But the Applegarth outfit were up against it and when Andreas Sudnik came on, he ran through the tail to reel in a five-wicket haul.
That marked a fine start to the captaincy of Turner – and there was also a tremendous first day in the league for Clitheroe new boy Stuart Lemon.
The former Nelson all-rounder was stunning at Salesbury and hit a majestic 123 as his new side piled on the runs.
When Lemon was out there were still 14 overs remaining – and former Nelson skipper Tom Lord made 37 as Clitheroe posted a daunting 273-6.
Jason Rawson (31) top scored for the Red Caps but they were 87 all out with Jack Dewhurst claiming four wickets.
Champions Baxenden opened their title defence with victory, a big 78-run win over Oswaldtwistle Immanuel thanks to a great all-round performance by stand-in pro, Babar Naeem.
Former Bash paid man Naeem returned to the club to hit 85 out of 213 and then claim 7-47 as the visitors were bowled out for only 135.
Read, who finished just six points behind Baxenden at the end of last season, also opened their campaign with a win.
Andrew Laycock top scored with 80 out and new pro Jordan Clark hit 76 out of an impressive 268-8 before Read dismissed Great Harwood for 197 in a game played at Rishton’s Blackburn Road.
Settle sub-pro Ashar Zaidi claimed 5-52 as his temporary employers men beat Edenfield, while Lee Anderson made 66 for Padiham.
But his efforts couldn’t inspire a win over Barnoldswick despite a five-wicket haul from Chris Holt with wicketkeeper Liam Bedford (66) the Barlick hero.
Whalley made a fine start as they beat Ribblesdale Wanderers by 69 runs despite a six-wicket haul for Church Meadow skipper Ian Britcliffe.