North Riding League, Premier Division
Yarm and Eaglescliffe 3 Grangetown Boys Club 4 (att 13)
Where possible I like to see firsts at this time of year. Usually it's a newly-promoted team playing its first game in a higher league, but in Yarm I was able to watch a newly-formed club playing one of the opening fixtures in a newly-created league.
After struggling to sustain enough clubs, the Teesside League has combined with the Eskvale and Cleveland League to form a new North Riding League. The competition has inherited Teesside's 'step seven' status, and with one or two exceptions the top division is last season's Teesside League.
One of the exceptions is Yarm and Eaglescliffe, a new club baesd at Conyers School in Yarm. I'm not sure why they've been placed in the premier division, but despite the opening day defeat they're likely to be competitive.
Grangetown Boys Club have a more established Teesside League history, although having sat out last season they could be considered a new team as well. Chatting to a Grangetown follower before kick off he felt the club had a recruited a potentially strong side.
I don't know if Yarm and Eaglescliffe's fifth minute opener was the North Riding League's first ever goal, but it was certainly against the run of play. Grangetown looked better from the start, and it was no surprise that they soon levelled, and scored twice more to lead 3-1 at half time.
A home goal early in the second half kept the game balanced, as Grangetown struggled to recapture their first half quality. They eventually scored a fourth to give themselves breathing space, but Yarm weren't finished and a third goal for them set up an exciting final few moments, with the visitors relieved to hang on for the points.
Yarm and Eaglescliffe use a 3G pitch at the school, shared with fellow North Riding League side St Mary's 1947. The ground is typical of its type, although unlike some it does have a proper area for spectators to stand, along the centre section of the touchline where the dugouts are also positioned.