ATHERTON captain Paul Walsh said the weather could have a bigger than normal impact this season in the Bolton Association after the rain wiped out virtually the full programme on Saturday.

The reigning champions’ home game against Adlington was one of eight out of nine games in the league where not a ball was bowled due to the weather.

It is the latest in a string of washouts which Walsh believes could have a greater say that usual on where clubs finish in the league due to the shortened season.

With the Association splitting into two divisions next season, clubs are only playing each other once in the normal league season this year before splitting into three sections which will decide which division they will be in next year.

The top section will be in the First Division, the bottom in the Second Division, and the teams in the middle section – the interesting one – will battle it out to decide which division they will be in.

That means there are only 17 league games this season compared to 26 in previous years.

“The league is so condensed this season with teams only playing each other once,” said Walsh.

“There are only 17 games in the league, so four games called off means it is like a 13-game season.

“It makes it harder to get in the section you want to get into.

“We have lost more cricket in the first four or five weeks of the season than we did all last season.

“We should look to do what the Bolton League have done when they have had a full leagure programme called off and fit it in at the end of the season if we have any free dates.

“It hits the clubs’ income when you get games called off, so playing the games later in the season would help with the finances.”

Walsh echoed some of the other clubs’ frustration at having his game called off and then seeing the weather brighten up later in the afternoon.

“Our game was called off at 1.30pm,” he said. “It stopped raining and we could have been playing at three o’clock.

“They played at A&T second team and Golborne firsts, so the two clubs closest to us both got games on. We were just unlucky”.