Yorkshire secured an all-important 25-chalk opening- round victory in their bid to lift the Drakes Pride Senior County trophy for the first time in 13 years.
The side went into their game against North Midlands knowing that a better performance was needed compared to their start to the 2010 campaign, which saw them effectively bow out after a first match defeat against Greater Manchester.
And a better performance was duly delivered as the home side racked up an impressive eight out of 12 jacks while the away team chipped in handsomely to go down by just nine chalks in their match.
At home the two Grahams, Higgins and Hickey, bookended a magnificent team performance by restricting their opponents to single figures.
Higgins’ win to eight started the ball rolling in a dominant manner, which saw Yorkshire drop only one of the first five jacks.
The dominance was such that at no time did it look as though North Midlands might claw the game back.
Though they picked up jacks six and seven, they couldn’t maintain a solid run of wins and it was on the 11th jack where they secured their final win of the day.
But this was ultimately overturned by Hickey’s largest-winning margin across both sides – to seven.
The impressive home 12 took their game 229-195.
Away from home, Graeme Wilson gave Yorkshire a great start, securing the best score from the first jack against Darren Plenderleith to come out on top 21-9.
Scott Fisher also bagged a win in the top four jacks, which gave the side a six-chalk lead.
After Fisher’s success, the county did not register another winning chalk until the tenth spot, but the bowlers only went down by three scores of 18 and one of 20.
Naturally a win is what everyone wants on this stage, but to drop only 10 chalks between four bowlers – when your lead- off man has put a 12-chalk buffer on the board, helped the Yorkshire cause.
Nicky White and Chris Mordue, pictured left, registered wins from the 10 and 11 spots and although it ultimately failed to close the overall margin away from home, going down 229-220 was more than enough for the county to take the game by 25 chalks overall.
However, the result wasn’t enough to see Yorkshire top the section at this early stage of the season as Cheshire leapt to a storming 71-chalks home and away win over Staffs.
There were also wins for Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Potteries & District, Merseyside and Shropshire.
It is now the turn of the county juniors, the defending Drakes Pride Junior County champions, to get their campaign under way with a home game against Potteries & District at Kirkheaton C&BC, Huddersfield, on Sunday afternoon.
All support will be welcomed.
● The Woodlands Sheds of Horsforth- sponsored ABA Men’s Merit takes place at Pudsey Littlemoor on Sunday.
Scratch time is 10am with an entry fee of £5. The competition is limited to bowlers of 16 and over.
● The Cleckheaton Sports John Smiths Classic gets under way from 6pm on Saturday.
The opening field for the £5,225 total prize pot includes Gary Ellis and Ashley Daykin.
Spectators will be welcomed with hot and cold food and an open bar throughout the contest.
● The Hollies Sports & Social are the only side in action tomorrow in the Spen Press Challenge Cup.
They play Morton House from 7pm on the Cleckheaton Sports back green.
● The latest qualifiers in the Heckmondwike Carlsberg Singles are Garry Ellis and Mike Tunstall.