FOR the second year running, Settle pulled off a stunning league and cup double after a thrilling final encounter against Read at a packed and vibrant Marshfield on Sunday.

In sweltering heat and the ground in glorious condition, the visitors elected to bat and went on the attack from the start. But with 23 on the board both openers were gone as Dante Niles took a sharp catch in the gully to give Eddy Read his first scalp, and Harry Snowden flattened the stumps at the other end. Read (2-13) struck again to remove skipper Will Wrathall lbw for two runs.

At 28-3 with the bowlers on top, the last thing a team needs is a run out. Pro Ashen Silva chose the right end with a superb throw as the batsmen came back for a second run, to leave Read four down after fifty minutes and the innings in peril. However, pro Shrikant Mundhe kept his team intact with an excellent half-century, supporting the fightback by the middle order.

Settle’s spinners kept the runs in check but it needed more pace for a breakthrough, with Tom Davidson (2-31) finally trapping Mundhe lbw. Skipper Will Davidson removed Ben Dinning who held out for 32, before Snowden (2-26) came back for his second spell with a wicket and a run out.

Chasing a 167 target, Settle’s openers departed after defending cautiously in the face of hostile pace, but at 38-2 Robbie Davidson (19) and Silva put on 40 brisk runs to hustle the score along. Wickets fell again until Benjamin Hulse and Silva put on 79 in a partnership which turned the game. Silva was dropped in the covers after passing fifty but was finally caught in the deep for 78 masterful runs, a professional performance to cap his already outstanding season. Hulse made 25 from 35 deliveries, holding the innings together with Silva gone. He had a difficult job to do, keeping his wicket intact but with runs still needed and quickly. He drove cleanly into the gaps, running the fielders ragged before falling leg before. After a great season with the bat, Hulse was the worthy winner of the Man of the Match award.

But Read had taken a grip on the game once more, tying down Dante Niles until the Barbadian struck a vital boundary before being caught. With just ten balls remaining and two wickets standing, Harry Snowden hit the winning run to the delight of the home crowd.

It was a gripping match between two top teams with highly talented players. For those present, the cut and thrust of Northern league cricket far outweighed the thrash of competitions like the Hundred.

Settle had already beaten Whalley on Saturday in the league. Eddy Read (3-36) and Dante Niles (4-14) left the hosts on 121 all out, while Archie Phillipson (36) and John Davidson (57 no) gave the Marshfield men a nine-wicket victory.

Settle seconds took a knock in their defence of the Division One championship, losing to Padiham by 129 runs. There was some reward as Harris Dinsdale took three wickets and Will Tyrer two, and Daniel Strickland and Edward Bradley made 31 each. But there are still three games to go with any one of five teams in with a chance of the title.