MY Greenmount side have opened up a nice gap to Heywood in second place after beating Stretford on Saturday.

We have struggled a bit when we’ve been batting second this season, we seem to be giving other teams a chance when we’re chasing, and on Saturday we were on 41-5 and in a bit of trouble going for 120 or so. It wasn’t looking good at one stage, fortunately our captain (Phil Heaton) and overseas (Sachin Varadarajan) got us over the line.

With Heywood and Woodhouses in third both losing, we are now seven points clear at the top and 16 away from Edgworth in fifth so I think promotion is pretty much safe, even though we have three of the top four – Heywood, Woodhouses and Flowery Field – still to play. We have two teams down at the bottom, Unsworth and Winton, as well but we won’t be taking them lightly.

We’ve not been brilliant this season if I’m honest but we are top of the league so we’re where we want to be with five games to go. It would take some doing for us to not get promoted from this position and, now I’ve hit 50 (and no, it’s not my first half-century) I think it will be a nice way for me to sign off.

We have a lot of good young lads coming through but Greenmount will need to make a few signings before next season, especially if we are back in the Premier League. A very high standard of cricket is played at that level so it’s a lot to ask some of these very young lads to come in and play, I don’t think it would be the best thing for their development.

Our pro has already re-signed so that’s brilliant news, he’s been fantastic this year. If we can sharpen up our batting too the club will do okay without me.

I doubt I’ll be getting the call to fill in next season, they have loads they would be able to call on, but they know I wouldn’t let them down if they are struggling for numbers. To me, retired should mean retired though, so I’m not planning on coming back at all and I don’t really want to drop down into second and third-team cricket, I think I’d feel frustrated at not being at the highest possible level. Also, I could be taking the place of a young ‘un coming through. It wouldn’t seem right to me.

I see Westhoughton won the Hamer Cup, it’s a competition we won in 2015 before we left the Bolton League.

They had to come back on the Monday for Farnworth Social Circle’s innings. It’s a shame, when you get to a cup final you want it decided on the day, it’s a massive anti-climax to finish off on Monday evening, not to mention what a disadvantage it generally is for the team batting second, as the conditions can change so much. Also, players may have work commitments, and the crowd will never be the same on a Monday night.

I suppose a replay would be the fairest solution but you’d be gutted to score 250 like Westhoughton did, and have to come back and start all over again. Well done to Westhoughton and I feel for Social Circle, it’s a great competition and deserves a great finals day.