THE JW Lees Brewery Pennine Cricket League is making contingency plans for the departure of up to four clubs.
Advertisements are being placed in newspapers for new clubs to join the league for the 2018 season.
League chairman Nigel Tench admitted they are still in the dark as everything hinges on whether the Lancashire League decides to create a second division.
He said: “It is the closing date this week for clubs to make enquiries about joining the Lancashire League so we ought then to get a clearer idea as to what will happen.
“We are aware three clubs – Littleborough, Norden and Walsden – have made enquiries and I expect another to do so.”
Mr Tench added the Pennine League has also requested talks with the Lancashire Cricket Board and Lancashire League to try and limit the damage done to the Pennine League.
The Pennine League has also sent out a release to all clubs outlining reasons why they ought to remain.
Mr Tench said: “One reason is that our junior cricket is better than anywhere other league.
“Last year, the first of the Pennine League, we had 96 junior teams, but this year the number will be 104.
“Some clubs have started junior teams from scratch while others have increased their number, and it is flourishing.
“Our third-team league is also strong and Royton and Glodwick have both left to Greater Manchester League to join us.
“There are lots of positives, including grants of up to £1,000 to clubs for ground improvements.”
The first season of the Pennine League, that followed a merger of the CLL and Saddleworth League, in 2016 was hailed a huge success with the cricket competitive and both the Premiership and Championship titles not decided until the last day of the season.
Mr Tench added: “I am disappointed, especially as less than two years ago the CLL wanted to initiate talks with the Lancashire League when there as talk of forming the Greater Manchester League.
“They wouldn’t talk to us, but now want to cherry pick our strongest teams, four of the top six clubs in last season’s Premiership.”
Mr Tench and league secretary Trevor Harrison have offered to go to clubs for question-and answer sessions.
“We recently went to Milnrow and allayed a lot of the fears of players and officials from the club,” explained Mr Tench.