Settle started their new season with a welcome win, though the finish was rather too close for comfort over last year’s Senior League basement team.

Padiham did not look as though they had finished 13 places below the home side, especially when Settle were struggling at 20 for three having elected to bat.

But new pro Imran Khalid (18) struck four boundaries and was supported by youngsters John Davidson (10) and Jack Harrison (8) who held off the attack for 40 balls apiece. Settle began to take real control with a skilful innings of 27 from an injured Peter Cook in partnership with recalled veteran wicketkeeper David Worthington (19no) who delighted the crowd with handsome drives.

Chasing a first innings of 134, Padiham were always in the hunt, despite an excellent return of 5-48 and a run-out from Khalid, who bowled his left-arm spin unchanged for 20 overs.

Skipper Eddy Read, fresh from his season in Australia, claimed two victims before handing the bowling to Andrew Davidson.

He was as economical as ever but wickets became a priority as the visitors crept ever closer. Read put himself back on and knocked over the last men to finish with 4-41 as Padiham ended just 19 runs adrift.

Settle may field a stronger squad this weekend with two demanding home fixtures – a league match against current champions Clitheroe, followed on Sunday by the Lancashire Cup clash with Morecambe.

New professional David Crotty made a fine start with Earby as he helped them to a six-wicket win.

Crotty, who has played all of his previous cricket as an amateur with Nelson, earned his money by shining with bat and ball.

First he backed up the stirling efforts of opening bowler Richard Craddock who tore the heart out of the Edenfield innings with 4-15 in 11 economical overs.

Crotty ensured that Edenfield were unable to build on the scores of Paul Gallagher (51) and Josh Walker (37) by taking 5-29 in seven overs to curtail their innings for 139.

Crotty followed up with an unbeaten 48 as Earby eased to their target. Crotty struck two sixes and four fours.

Earby will be hoping for more of the same when they play hosts to Ribblesdale Wanderers on Saturday.

Neighbours Barnoldswick, champions in 2012 and runners up last year, start their campaign with a trip to Cherry Tree hoping to start with a win.