SETTLE have signed of Sri Lankan Test squad member Ashen Silva as their club professional for 2019.

Silva joins the Dalesmen after a record-breaking three seasons with Lancashire League outfit Great Harwood, breaking through the 3,000-run barrier before the end of this season, and taking more than 125 wickets with his accurate off-spinners.

Silva, who boasts a first-class career 3,898 runs at 39.7, has decided to opt for the Marshfield for the 2019 season after strong interest from several clubs including Blackpool.

He signs, after extensive talks over the last month between club chairman Andrew Davidson and the Giggleswick School’s senior management and physical education department.

The two Settle-based organisations have agreed to join forces in a collaborative move which will see Silva split his coaching roles between club and school.

Davidson said: “Quite clearly on the field we have missed a solid all-round pro this season as the lads who performed well last year, have in the latter stages of this season struggled for consistency.

"Even though having two young overseas club players has been a positive move in some ways, to win silverware and raise playing standards from the under-nines to the first XI, we were obviously missing a strong performing professional who was passionate about performance and coaching.

"We have let the coaching side slip at senior level in recent seasons, mainly due to not having a proper cricket professional.

"Ashen's remit is to gel the team on the field by performing and giving advice and wisdom and to inject passion and enthusiasm into the coaching aspect of the club’s activities, giving much needed technical assistance to all players.

"We have always tried to find a pro who not only performs on the park but adds value off it, by leading on the coaching front. However, that is easier said than done.

"Many professionals get their ECB 2, talk a good contract and promise the earth, however when it comes to the crunch many find coaching a chore, are not suited and drift in this important aspect of any club.”

“We were aware of Ashen's ability with both bat and ball, had heard he was a fantastic technical coach and excellent with the younger players.

"We also heard that he was available and so after extensive talks with Giggleswick School about sharing the professional, the opportunity to combine his duties as club professional and input with a supporting coaching role at the school, we put together an offer of a package which is quite rare as an offer to league club professionals.

He added “Ashen visited Giggleswick twice for talks and to take a look at the superb first-class facilities.

"He was mightily impressed and this move fits in with his aspirations to eventually coach at the highest level.

"It clearly is win win for all of us and there is no doubt that it will give Ashen the grounding to enhance his options in his life after cricket.”