A robust all-round performance by Paul Dockerty could not prevent Settle 2nd XI from losing their first match of the season.

Electing to bat at home against Heysham, the top order struggled in cold and damp conditions against a sustained accurate seam attack.

It was hard to predict what a good score would be with unknown opposition, so Paul Clarke calmly opted for Boycott-like defence as wickets fell at the other end. He made 12 from 51 balls, and at 21-3, Dockerty (10) provided a platform for the mid-order to establish a partnership. Debutants Lloyd Smith (19) and Will Smith (16) put on 32 for the fifth wicket, but apart from resistance from under-15 Noah Smith (10), the lower order fell to leave the hosts on 87 all out in 37 overs.

The writing was on the wall as the Heysham openers racked up 66 before Lloyd Smith took his first wicket for Settle. Dockerty then saved blushes with a seven-over spell to produce figures of 3-12, but the visitors took just 24 overs to complete a five-wicket win.

Settle seconds will regroup for Saturday’s trip to Cartmel 1st XI, where the hosts amassed 244 in their opening match.

The season finally gets under way for the first team as the weekend is set fair for a Bank Holiday double-header. Two powerful Premier League sides visit Marshfield - St Annes on Saturday and Longridge on Monday - when the home crowd anticipate two exciting contests.