THE opening day of the Braintree and North Essex Sunday League season saw last year's winners and runners-up facing each other in the premier division and honours went convincingly to the reigning champions.

Western Arms won their opener 11-0 against Witham United.

First game for Nags Head Celtic - last season's first division champions - travelled to Braintree Irons and both teams gained a point in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Valley Green played CFC Shalford at home, but it was the visitors who made the perfect start with Tyrone White scoring twice in the first two minutes.

Shalford increased that lead after 34 minutes when Tim Readhead skirted past the keeper, however, Valley Green pulled two goals back before half-time with strikes from Ryan McCormack and Thomas Hayes.

Shalford made it 4-2 when Matt Smith fired home a penalty after Adam Starckey was bought down and although Valley pulled one back with 15 minutes to go, as McCormack got his second of the game, the visitors held on for the win.

In division one, Onley Arms were beaten 2-1 by Notley.

After a goalless first-half, Barnard opened the scoring for Notley and after Onley pulled level from a penalty, debutant Knowles grabbed the winner for Notley with ten minutes left.

Bardfield entertained Sporting 77 and had a v4-1 win, while Great Bradfords entertained division two champions Great Notley, who came away 4-3 winners.

Division two saw new team Braintree Legends entertain TK Eagles and they shared the points in a 3-3 draw, while there was also a draw between Dunmow Rhodes and Valley Green Reserves.

Valley Green took the lead from a Ben Lambeth header, but JP Alexander fired home to bring the scores level at half-time.

Charlie Gooch got Dunmow in front after the break, but Lambeth restored parity and Valley went 4-2 up with goals from Charlie Boyd and Elliott Oliver.

However, Rhodes came back strongly and Charlie Gooch reduced the deficit, before skipper Christian Roles headed home to make it 4-4 at the final whistle.

There was also a draw between Manor works and Great Bradfords Reserves as it ended 0-0.

Witham Nomads beat Panfield Bell 10-1, though, and Witham Swan were 2-1 winners against Witham Phoenix.