DURING my involvement with junior cricket, both as team manager and Bolton League junior secretary from the late 1970s to early 1990s there were any number of closely-fought matches, but also many where one team was clearly too strong for the other.

Looking at the results in the Bolton League and other local leagues it is clear this is still a problem, and possibly more so.

At the moment, generally, most clubs in the Bolton League play all the others once.

My personal opinion is the quality would be improved by the better teams playing each other twice, and similar with the weaker teams.

There will be a group of teams in every division who fall between the two.

These are the teams when there are one or two very good or even exceptional players, who, if they perform, can carry their team-mates even against the stronger all-round sides.

But if they fail or are not available their teams can be matched by the weaker ones.

There are a number of ways the leagues can be structured to accommodate teams of unequal strength, but this involves clubs identifying their strengths and weakness and liaising with the junior officials well before the fixtures have to be drawn up in the New Year.

Mismatches can represent a waste of an evening for most of the participants, and young players will leave cricket without competitive games.

Although some clubs completed their T20 fixtures on Tuesday, there are still a number playing tonight.

The group winners have already been determined and Horwich, Westhoughton, Bradshaw and Farnworth Social Circle will have home ties in the quarter-finals which will be drawn over the weekend.

The eight clubs will play next week.

Atherton have topped their group, but with the least number of points of the five group table-toppers so will play their quarter-final away.

Three more runners-up will also qualify for the quarter-finals, playing their matches away.

The three will be the second-placed teams with most points.

Lostock are in pole position with 37 and will be guaranteed a place if they beat Adlington.

Walkden have 36 points, but have completed their fixtures.

They can be overtaken by a number of clubs, including the two below them in their group, Kearsley and Little Lever, who play each other.

The winner of this match will overtake Walkden provided they obtain at least one bonus point.

In the West group of the competition – which is officially called the PA Sports BCL T20 sponsored by Dixon Air Conditioning – both Little Hulton, who play Daisy Hill, and Golborne, who entertain Westhoughton, can qualify.

Both have to win and take at least one bonus point to have a chance.

In the North Group, Heaton need to beat Bradshaw to have a chance of qualification, but may need at least one bonus point.

Victory for Farnworth at Tonge should assure them a place in the last eight, but Tonge, too, can qualify if they win, depending on results elsewhere.