The North West Cricket Union is set to present their clubs with a draft fixture plan in the coming days, aimed at making the most of what now potentially looks like being an 8-week season.

All things being equal the Union is hoping to get the go-ahead later this month to start playing competitive cricket from 20 July- in what could be the first team sport in the country to start up after the enforced break.

There will of course be restrictions in place- clubhouses and changing facilities will not be available and social distancing will very much remain in place even during matches.

There is however hope that some of those restrictions may be eased before the end of the season.

Clubs have had this week to make use of NWCU staff to put their cleaning and compliance structures in place before limited practice facilities start to become available from next week.

At this week's Operations Committee meeting however it was agreed that a competition format would now be put before the clubs and the Union's Board of Control, should the green light be given for a July start.

The women's league could be the one to break the ice- the 20 July date is a Monday which is the usual night for that competition. The Operations Committee was keen to use every available date in the circumstances and will recommend a women's competition should start proceedings right from the get-go.

At a series of Zoom meetings with clubs recently, players were adamant that while matches will be T20 in format, they still want competitive competition for whatever remains of the season.

The proposals likely to be put to senior clubs is that groups of 4 teams, regionalised to minimise travel, will play an initial round robin tournament of six games.

Depending on where they finish in those mini-leagues, all teams will then advance to knockout stages of cup competitions. For example the four group winners will go into one competition, the second placed teams into another and so on, meaning all participating teams will finish the season with a cup semi-final at least.

It is believed that the winners of each group could be competing for the North West senior cup.

That format would then allow the season to finish on a high with four cup finals and guarantee every team a minimum of 7 weekend games.

There could be good news for the midweek game as well with a proposal of two Midweek competitions- one for competitive cricket and the other a more 'social' competition. The suggestion is that each will be a new, innovative 7-a-side contest playing 10-over games on a league basis together with the Midweek Cup.

Work is continuing to ensure a full youth programme as well with more consultation with clubs youth sections set for next week.