SETTLE tightened their grip on the Ribblesdale League’s Senior League Section A leadership at Oswaldtwistle, but they almost lost their way near the end.

The hosts posted 150-8, largely thanks to an unbeaten 60 from pro Chris Holt.

West Indian Sadrian Ward (4-55) continued his great form with the ball, clean-bowling the top three in the order, while Andrew Davidson emerged from retirement to put down 16 overs of spin and claim 2-52.

The visitors’ top order started promisingly, Ward hitting 28 with Jack Harrison and Demario Richards adding 16 apiece.

The consistently productive middle order of Will Davidson (27), Robbie Davidson and skipper Tom Strickland (23 each) then looked to have the match well under control, but Settle slumped from 140-6 to 148-9, still three runs shy of the target.

It was left to teenager Benjamin Hulse to block 15 demanding deliveries and, at the other end of the age spectrum, to Andrew Davidson to contrive four leg-byes to seal the win for the relieved Marshfield men.

Settle now have a 33 point lead over Barnoldswick who capitalised on defeats for Whalley and Read to move into second place.

Barnoldswick were indebted to Abdul Saddique for their four-wicket win over Baxenden.

He exploited the helpful bowling conditions to take 7-21 as Baxenden were bowled out for 84. Sri Lankan Shashrika Pussegolla backed him up with 2-24.

Barnoldswick didn't find batting easy either as Ben Swindells (4-34) kept them under pressure. An unbeaten 26 from Jonathan Beech, the highest individual score of the game, proved decisive as they edged home.

Earby lifted themselves off the bottom of Section B with a 41-run win over Padiham.

The star of the show was opening bowler Ryan Levy. He took 6-18 and was backed up by Jason Lockley (3-13) as Padiham lost their last eight wickets for five runs and were all out for 59.

Earby had been made to battle for runs when they took first knock and were indebted to Matthew Nutter (30) and Jake Greenbank (28) for getting them to 100 as Brady Barends took 5-33.

In Division One, Settle seconds travelled to take on Burnley Belvedere first team and found it tough going at the finish.

The bowlers worked hard for their two bonus points, Kieren Ashley and Joseph Handy picking up three wickets each, while skipper Ben Mitchell produced another of his destructive spells with 3-19 from six overs.

Chasing Belvedere’s 125 all out, Settle were soon in big trouble at 10-4, though James Pickard then applied himself well for 27 runs, Handy backing him up with an unbeaten 15.

The visitors were finally dismissed for 78 in 36 overs but still have a toe-hold above the relegation zone.