Portsmouth set the ball rolling on a Southern Electric Premier League division three promotion bid with a 99-run demolition of old foes Trojans.
But while the score suggests an easy win for James Scott’s side, it was anything but as they found themselves indebted to Farshan Jemildar’s 95, which gave them something to defend.
The St Helens outfit were in deep trouble at 70 for five but Jemildar and David Henderson (34) then put on a century stand for the sixth wicket to get their side to 237.
That proved more than enough to defend as Scott (four for 40) helped skittle Trojans for 137, even though they had put on 44 for the first wicket and looked in good shape.
Scott said: ‘It was a fantastic start for us.
‘For the first 15 overs, it jagged around all over the place and we lost five wickets.
‘But Farshan batted brilliantly.
‘It was a fantastic knock to watch. He batted really sensibly for the first 50 runs and just took on the bad ball.
‘But then from 50, he accelerated and batted t20 style as he likes to play.
‘He saw the team lost a few wickets and realised he had to stick around.
‘I was really proud of him because he hasn’t always done that in the past.
‘But we crawled our way to 237 and then the bowlers did their job well.
‘They put the pressure on and that made the batsmen make mistakes.
‘It’s a good start to the season for us but nothing more than that.
‘Now we have to take it on to next week and the rest of the season.
‘But I couldn’t have asked for a better start.’
Elsewhere in the bottom tier, Portsmouth & Southsea looked well on course for an opening day victory at the halfway stage of their clash with Basingstoke & North Hants II.
Matt Benfield (109) struck a fine century from 93 balls with 12 fours and four sixes, while Mike Patey (69) and Rob Evans (47) steered the visitors to a healthy 276 for nine.
But Basingstoke had other ideas and chased it down with four overs to spare.
Benfield followed up his batting heroics with four wickets for 52 and was the pick of the bowlers in a fine all-round effort.
But – aside from skipper Dave Tiller – the rest of the Portsmouth & Southsea attack came in for some fierce treatment as they were put to the sword.
And in the end a flurry of boundaries saw Basingstoke reach their target and seal a four-wicket win.
Meanwhile, Havant’s second string made a winning start to their division three campaign thanks to a convincing success over Bashley (Rydal) II.
Ollie Jones (59), Gareth Ransley (58) and Graham Burns (36) saw Havant II post 238.
Then old stager Phil Loat served up another memorable display with the ball as he took three wickets for 17, including five maidens, from his 10 overs.
That saw Bashley eventually bowled out for 108 as Havant II won by an impressive 130 runs.