AFTER three cancellations and one postponement, Settle 1st XI finally got their season underway at Marshfield with the arrival of top Northern Premier outfit St Annes, fresh from beating Blackpool the previous week.

Opting to field in damp conditions, Settle had the visitors under pressure at 39-2 with wickets for Tom Davidson and debutant Lloyd Smith.

The seasiders’ middle order then progressed steadily until the spinners made their mark. Newcomer Amar Ullah tormented his previous team-mates, taking 5-21 in 8 overs, aided by smart work behind the stumps from Robbie Davidson.

At the other end, perennial pro Ashen Silva returned 3-16 at two runs an over, leaving St Annes on 116 all out and donating unused overs to the hosts.

Rain breaks meant that Settle needed a revised total of 87 from 50 overs. Silva made 19, leaving John Davidson (17no) and opener Archie Phillipson with 47 unbeaten runs to complete a convincing victory.

There was better to come on Monday as another star team, Longridge, met their match at Marshfield. They were completely in the driving seat at 132-2, but Silva added yet another five-fer to his collection, taking 5-61 and heading off a final assault from the visitors.

Longridge may have been kicking themselves at only reaching 203-8, but they had Settle in serious trouble after a solid start from Archie Phillipson (24) and Lloyd Smith (31). Prom the depths of 63-5, skipper Will Davidson hit a rapid 20, backed up by a crucial 19 from Benjamin Hulse. But the backbone of the innings was provided by a magisterial 80 from 88 balls by Ullah. He paced himself until time was running out, then cracked a couple of sixes and two boundaries to clinch the win, last man in and eight balls to spare.

When Settle were placed directly into the NPL this season, a few eyebrows were raised by other clubs, wondering if they would be up to it. But two opening wins against stand-out teams should put concerns at rest. Third in the table with a game in hand speaks volumes.

Eddy Read announced his return to cricket in style, knocking back the stumps with the fourth ball of the match against Cartmel 1st XI. Settle seconds had just lost at home and were keen to put the record straight in Westmorland Division Two. Read’s two wickets for 14 from nine overs were matched by John Tarbox taking 3-21, the two pacemen leaving the hosts in desperation with half the side out and just 18 on the board.

But the lower order took on the rest of the attack until Richard Bradley stopped the damage by cleaning up the tail with 3-8 from three overs, Cartmel reaching an unlikely 117 all out.

James Snowden crashed five sixes and a four in a rapid 43 in the reply, with Nick Cokell scoring a more sedate unbeaten 41. But Read was in no mood to hang around, hitting 29 at a run a ball as Settle reached their target inside 26 overs and four wickets down.

Settle 3rd XI tied their first match of the year, both they and Westgate all out for 96. Lewis Holgate took 3-21, and was the not out batsman in the reply. Nick Tyrer (15) and Ryan Hewitt (19) held the side together. Overall a great start for Settle after weeks of frustration.