After the total washout on week one of the Herts Cricket League season, clubs finally got to bowl some balls in anger - with varying results.

Preston suffered a narrow seven-run loss to Hemel Hempstead Town in the second tier Championship.

Batting first in challenging conditions, visitors Hemel posted 199-9 in their 50 overs with captain Hemish Ilangaratne leading the charge with 43.

Preston's new Australian signing Daniel Scholz (3-34) and veteran Peter Murrell (3-20), shone despite the defeat, restricting Hemel's total. 

Responding to the competitive target, Edward Wharton (35), Jake George (20), and William Gallimore (30) contributed significantly to Preston's counter-attack.

However, consistent wicket-taking from Hemel meant a last-ditch 23 from Jack Stevens was in vain as were bowled out for 192 with five balls remaining.

The threes lost by eight wickets at Cockfosters even though they were happy with an initially promising target of 121 on a slow outfield.

Early wickets from Bhav Patel and a commendable senior debut from 13-year-old Rohan Ramsoomar were the silver linings for Preston.

The match between Stevenage fifths and Preston's fourth team was also characterised by a slow outfield, as well as an inconsistent bounce on a damp pitch.

And it was Stevenage who took the win after getting 140-9 from their 40 overs.

Early wickets then held Preston back, with only late hitting by Robert Webb (30) elevating the run rate.

They were dismissed for 96 in the 38th over, 44 runs short.

There was good news in Division Two A as both Stevenage's first team and Ickleford recorded victories.

Stevenage beat Berkhamsted by two wickets, 3-28 from Ryan Flood and James Thompson's 42 being the star turns.

Ickleford started the Division Two A season with an impressive 40-run win at Watford Town.

Despite being put into bat on a very wet wicket, Ickleford’s openers Sam Guile and George Crouch put on 46 for the first wicket.

Crouch fell for a patient 36 before a trademark collapse saw the score slump to 76-6.

Charlie Jupp (36) and Luke Marsden (38*) then shored things up as they reached 161-7 at the close of their innings.

Marsden then completed a fine all-round performance taking 2-10 while Eswar Krishnamurthy (3-34), Nadeem Akhtar (2-30) and Luke Dodd (2-19) were also in the wickets as Watford struggled to 122.

The seconds were left to regret too many dropped catches as they were beaten by Flamstead.

Scot Crouch took 4-45 and Faisal Khan 2-24 as Flamstead managed 183-8 and Ickleford fell well short on 118 despite 36 from Sam Giggle and 19 from Russel Dermont.

The thirds beat Knebworth Park threes on a chilly day at Holwell by eight wickets.

Knebworth slumped from 80-1 to 119 all out thanks to three wickets from debutant Will Moore, as well as three more from James Kench and Harry Chan.

Scott Dalrymple got the other.

In reply, Mark Nunneley (70*) and Mark Howard (20) put on 84 for the second wicket as Ickleford eased home. 

The fourths lost by eight runs to Cockfosters. Jaden Lidder took 2-12, Jack Floor 2-26 and Dinesh 3-10 while Lidder scored 29 and Chris Coleman 20.

Baldock started with a comfortable six-wicket win against Langleybury in Division Five B.

On winning the toss Baldock put Langleybury and the visitors got to 170-8 in their 50 overs, Tim Dean taking 3-27 and Alistair Jones 2-25.

Baldock lost two early wickets but a 78-run partnership between Shaun Baines (40) and Daniel Plumb (43) steadied the ship.

Jack Farmer (27*) and Liam Kenna (10*) then saw Baldock over the line in the penultimate over.

The twos also had a winning start beating Offley & Stopsley by two wickets in a low scoring affair.

Offley were bowled out for 98, with all bowlers doing well but Tom Pinner taking 3-25.

Baldock recovered from a horrific collapse to go from 56-8 to victory thanks to an assured performance by Tom Pinner (20*) and 15-year-old Will Flynn (14*).

In Division One, Letchworth won by 68 runs over Ampthill Town, David Albon top-scoring with 50 while Liam Bishton took 3-16.

Hitchin, however, lost by 53 runs at Langleybury, 45 from Shaftab Khalid the best they could manage.