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Elmstead, Frinton, Witham and Halstead are all joining the competition, while Ipswich, 7 Para RHA and Braintree have withdrawn.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

The 12 players selected for each of the Divisional Teams of the Year are listed below, and are my own personal opinion and statistically based. Because of the number of games lost through concessions and withdrawals, to qualify, players have had to have played five games in Division One and Three, four games in Division Two and Four, and three games in the T20.

No prizes are awarded for being selected in the Team of the Year, just the prestige of being one of the 60 players selected.

Read more: Divisional Teams of the Year 2017

The season is almost upon us, with the opening salvo’s taking place this Sunday. Sadly at the end of the 2016 season the league lost three more clubs as the battle of diminishing participation in recreational cricket, particularly on a Sunday, continues.

Purleigh, West Mersea and Kirby all withdrew from the competition, the latter two being members of the league for well over 35 years. Braintree were accepted in Division Four of the 40 over competition, meaning that in 2017 there will be four divisions of eight teams.

After a successful inaugural 2016 season in the T20, the competition has expanded for the 2017 campaign with ten teams in two divisions competing to qualify for the Finals Day to be played at Castle Park on August Bank Holiday Monday. The three teams joining the competition are 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery, Braintree and Ipswich.

So in the annual tradition it’s time to look into the crystal ball to see what I think will happen in the next six months.

Read more: 2017 Preview - The Crystal Ball returns !!

For the fourth year I have the privilege of declaring the Divisional Teams of the Year, and we have got down to just four ever presents – Matt Durrell of Wivenhoe, Tristan Moseley of Chappel & Wakes Colne, Jon Jones of Great Horkesley & Lexden and Kurt Lamont of Ardleigh. Jarryd Walsh of Mistley and Jack Hebron of Colchester & E.E, are the first players to appear in two sides in the same year, having qualified for both the Division 1 team and the first ever T20 side.
As always these are my own personal opinions and based on statistical performances in each division. No awards will be given out, just the prestige of having your name in the Divisional twelve. Qualification is five games in the 40 over competition, or four games in the T20.

Read more: 2016 Divisional Teams of the Year