THERE was an unexpected result in the new North West League as repeat Ribblesdale League champions Settle suffered their worst defeat since a nine-wicket drubbing by Read in 2018.

Despite being at full strength with the return of many key players, the Dalesmen mustered just 131-9 at Tonge on a day made for batting. The hosts had only managed three wins last season so Settle’s top order were caught by surprise at 38-5 until pro Ashen Silva dug in for 25 from 92 balls. As more wickets tumbled, Ben Hulse held out for the top score of 34 from 81, while Eddy Read was characteristically defiant, cracking an unbeaten 25 from 19 deliveries, two sixes on the way.

Read also gave Settle early hope in the reply, promptly clean bowling opener Abdullah Ishaq for a duck. But Tonge pro Hassan Dumindu hit 65 not out in a 132-run partnership to ease his side to a nine-wicket victory with 15 overs still remaining. Settle’s bowlers were fairly economical given the conditions. especially Tom Davidson and Silva at just over three an over, but the breakthrough eluded them. This was a sporting game in Settle’s first full encounter with a former Bolton side, and the Craven men have the capacity and experience to put Saturday’s league upset behind them.

There was better news for Settle’s second string after they comfortably beat Salesbury at home in NWCL Conference North. The Lancastrians plodded to 119 all out in 45 overs after Dan Strickland removed the top three for just three runs - a great effort for a recently converted wicketkeeper. Will Tyrer took 2-41 with his off-spin, but U15 Harvey Green stepped up to return his best senior figures of 3-14, with a run-out for good measure.

The reply was tailor-made for obdurate Settle opener Paul Clarke who calmly steered his way largely through the covers for an unbeaten 56. In a fine all-round performance, Green celebrated his recent success with West Yorkshire juniors by posting 27 from 70 balls with composure beyond his years. Their fifty partnership wrapped the match up in 35 overs.

Sunday’s Lancashire Cup tie at Read led to further disappointment for Settle 1st XI as the hosts racked up 254 all out. Eddy Read removed an opener with his fourth ball, but John Tarbox had a couple of chances go begging. The hosts then muscled on with a hundred partnership for the second wicket until Ashen Silva struck twice. The fielding highlight was John Davidson’s direct hit run-out with a single stump to sim at. Skipper Will Davidson took 3-41, while Ben Hulse cast aside last week’s wicketkeeper’s gloves to claim 3-36 as the pick of the bowlers.

John Davidson then had to work hard for his 32 as opener facing very tight bowling. His dot balls and singles were broken up by straight sixes and a couple of boundaries, while Ashen Silva top-scored with 40 before holing out. After the middle order struggled, James Snowden hit a lusty 20, followed by Hulse, Read and Callum Mathew clattering 17 apiece in the fading hope of reaching the target. Tarbox played some pedigree shots for 15 from twelve balls but was left unbeaten as Tom Davidson could not bat because of injury sustained while bowling.

This Saturday the firsts entertain familiar opposition in Salesbury, while the seconds make their first ever trip to Barrowford. On Sunday the Development XI get an airing at Salesbury.