AFTER a storming run of nine straight Senior League wins, Settle at last met their match against Read at Marshfield but it went right down to the wire.

Read’s decision to put Settle in to bat bought early rewards with the hosts soon on 12-2, but the club’s new overseas amateur Demario Richards then took control.

The 19-year-old Barbadian struck five fours on his debut, scoring 38 and enjoying a lively partnership with Robbie Davidson, who then commandeered the scoring with a half-century in 76 balls. Peter Cook bolstered the tail with 20 runs, bringing the hosts to 165 all out.

Settle’s opening bowlers kept a tight rein, though struggled to make a breakthrough, but 18-year-old Benjamin Hulse came on to take two quick wickets, including Read’s pro Matt Walker.

Hulse conceded just five runs from his seven overs and rounded off a great day in the field with a direct-hit run-out. A couple of wickets each for Will Davidson and Callum Lockett and two more run-outs took the match to its tense climax. With one wicket to fall and one over remaining, Read’s skipper Andrew Rushton (26no) then spoiled Settle’s record by crashing a four and a six to scrape past their target.

Settle keep the top spot in the table but will have to be on their mettle on Saturday at Victory Park with Barnoldswick hard at their heels, just eight points behind them.

Barlick suffered a 54-run defeat at Oswaldtwistle, for whom Merennage Fernando was the undoubted match-winner.

Shashrika Pussegolla claimed 4-55 and Sajid Akhtar 4-42 as the hosts were dismissed for just 161.

But having made 55 in that total, Fernando ripped through the Barlick batting to take 8-28 and skittle them for 107.

Earby won their basement battle at bottom club Feniscowles, Jake Hargreaves (5-48) and Jason Lockley (3-19) starring as the hosts were all out for 124.

Lee Parkinson (48) guided Earby home with five wickets to spare.

Settle seconds found it hard work at Division One leaders Barnoldswick. The home side’s top order scored heavily, with Adil Khan (64), Jonathan Beech (40) and Luke Scothern (23) leading the way.

Wasiq Ali made 16 and a rapid 26 from tail-ender Richard Green carried Barlick to 238-9. Joseph Handy (3-89) worked hard for the visitors and there were two wickets apiece for Oliver Whyte and John Davidson, while spinner Kieren Ashley (2-14) was the most economical.

Settle’s batsmen then struggled to keep up with the run rate and lost early wickets facing Shaukat Sheraz (4-22), but Davidson (27) held firm to set up a partnership with Adam Strickland, who hit ten fours and a six in a sparkling innings of 66 from 56 balls.

Kashaf Khan took 2-12 and Beech and Scothern each claimed two wickets to leave Settle all out for 154.