Division One

After defeat last week Halstead, bounced back with a 254 run victory at Galleywood to join Clacton at the top of the division. An opening stand of 332 between Adam Morris (102) scoring his maiden century, and Josh King (216) set Halstead up for an enormous 347 for 2.

Read more: Week 6 (May 22) - King and Morris rack up 332 opening stand in big Halstead win

Defeats for both the unbeaten sides in Division One, opens up the title contest. In Division Two, West Bergholt make it two from two, Great Waltham and Eight Ash Green are off to a winning starts. In the T20, champions Coggeshall open up with a comprehensive win over Galleywood.

Read more: Week 5 (May 15) - Halstead and Sudbury lose unbeaten starts

Unfortunately, as more teams start their Sunday season, a few have fallen foul of the rule book this week.

Read more: Week 4 (May 8) - Rules headline, rather than Cricket !

The Weekly Roundup end of season wrap up, with the traditional Divisional Teams of the Season. As usual no prizes, just the accolade of appearing in the Divisional twelve man squad for 2019. All nominees have been chosen by yours truly, and are based on statistical performances. To appear in a twelve, a player had to play a minimum of four games in the division.

Read more: Divisional Teams of the Year 2019

With the new season already three weeks old, and virtually no cricket last weekend (Wivenhoe were 6 for 0 after three overs at Clacton when the weather intervened), it is time to look into that crystal ball as the Division Two and Three season’s commence this weekend.

Another turburlent close season sees the forty over competition reduced to just 19 teams, with the withdrawal of Abberton, Chappel & Wakes Colne and Copdock before the AGM, and Braintree subsequently. Sudbury have rejoined the competition having last played in 1990 where they were crowned Division Four champions. That means there will be three divisions, Division One and Two will have six sides and Division Three will have seven.
The T20 sees an increase in membership, with twelve teams taking part this year. Abberton, Elmstead, Frinton, Witham and Halstead are all joining the competition, while Ipswich, 7 Para RHA and Braintree have withdrawn. Two groups of six will play each other once, with the top two in each group proceeding to Finals Day, this year at Halstead CC, on Monday 26th August.

Read more: The return of the Crystal Ball !

It was perhaps the toughest close season the NECL has endured in its 42 year history, with no less than nine teams withdrawing from the competition, which has seen the weekend league drop from 32 to 23 teams for the 2018 season.

A league restructure means that there will be just three divisions in 2018, with seven teams in Division One, and eight each in Division Two and Three. The points system is the main change for the season, with tables now being decided by total points rather than average points. In an effort to get more cricket on, points will also be awarded up to the point of abandonment.

The T20 competition will have ten teams again this season, with Galleywood replacing Great Bentley. Two groups of five will contest a round robin competition, with the top two from each group proceeding to Finals Day on 27th August at Castle Park.

The pre-season weather of a Siberian blast in March, followed by wet weather of biblical proportions has seen many ground staff scratching their heads as to how to get pitches and grounds prepared for the start of the season. Luckily, the Division Two and Three programme does not commence until the first week of May this year, but a number of Division One games in April are already at threat. However, with warmer weather scheduled for this week, it is hoped that the NECL season will get up and running at the weekend.

So in a pre-season tradition, where do I expect the silverware to be heading in 2018, and who are likely to struggle.

Read more: 2018 NECL Preview