Warwickshire's hopes of winning the County Championship Cup suffered a setback when they were beaten 25-6 by Devon in their opening match at Barnstaple.
Two penalties from Barkers' Butts fly-half Danny Richards were all that Warwickshire had to show for their trip to the South-west although they remained in contention until Devon flyhalf Ed Barnes landed two penalties midway through the second half.
North Midlands made an impressive start to their defence of the County Championship Shield with a 24-12 victory over Cumbria at Penrith.
An early penalty from England Counties fly-half Duncan Hughes (Stourbridge) was followed by a try from Lydney winger Tom Beechey but Cumbria pulled back a try before the break.
Stourbridge No 8 Howard Dawson and Malvern fullback Dave King crossed for further North Midlands tries in the second half but Cumbria set up a tense finale when full-back Stephane
Helies went over for a try to reduce the deficit to just six points. But Hughes eased North Midlands to victory by using a strong downfield wind to land two late penalties.
Staffordshire's hopes of progressing further in the County Championship Plate ended with a 22-7 defeat by Eastern Counties at North Walsham. Their points came from a try from Burton scrum-half Daryl Banton and a conversion from Paul Green of Longton.