THERE are just a couple of weeks left in the 2018 season and it’s been an interesting year for our clubs.

Some with high hopes of survival were relegated, others made late-season pushes for promotion while some who were favourites for silverware slipped away quietly into the night.

That being said, there is still plenty to play for over the last two weekends for a handful of our clubs and not just pride.

Once the season winds down, kit bags will be in the loft until the message comes through of when winter training begins.

Many of the professionals/overseas players will return home – if they haven’t already – to continue their cricket, while ground staff, who’ve had a good year and not received as much praise as they should this year, will finish their end-of-season work and the clubs themselves will undertake the process of planning for 2019.

The work doesn’t stop for the clubs throughout the winter.

There’s the task of keeping the club open with a host of functions looking to keep the players and members involved such as presentation nights, fireworks displays, race nights and New Year's Eve parties – all of which help boost the coffers.

The work isn’t stopping for us either – we use the winter months to attempt to speak to businesses about the commercial opportunities available at our clubs, whether it be advertising on playing kits or planning where they will be having a perimeter board should they choose that option.

Our weekends and evenings will be utilised to deliver flyers all over the North West from Bury to Bolton, Preston to Manchester to Liverpool and even Southport for our clubs because we have a responsibility to continue to help build relationships between clubs and business, not just while the cricket is taking place but in the off-season too.

This winter will see us working hard to enhance and improve on what we’ve accomplished over the last three years and to continue to strive to increase the interest and attendance levels at amateur cricket clubs in 2019 and we’ve got some exciting plans in place already.

I’d like to end by thanking all the businesses all over the North West that have supported amateur cricket throughout 2018.

Without this our clubs would not look as professional on or round the grounds and long may this continue.