CLUB cricket in South Wales returns this weekend on the back of an extraordinary winter for the game at the top level.

England’s Ashes nightmare, their series defeat to New Zealand and the Australian ball tampering scandal made for an eventful few months.

Gwent clubs will be hoping to hit the headlines for all the right reasons this season, with the action getting under way tomorrow.

And what a fixture to start the new term for South Wales Premier League Division One side Newport, who just missed out on retaining their title in 2017.

They welcome reigning champions Cardiff to Spytty Park in a showdown between the teams that have contested the previous two league championships.

Newport edged out Cardiff in 2016 before the capital outfit got their revenge to take the trophy by just five points.

Following tomorrow’s clash, Newport go to Port Talbot Town, host Ynysygerwn, visit Ammanford and then travel to newly-promoted St Fagans.

It is a special day for Malpas as they play their first match in Division Two after promotion from South East Wales League Division One last summer.

Only one point separated Malpas and nearest rivals Newbridge at the end of a rollercoaster campaign that went right down to the wire.

They begin life in the second tier of the South Wales Premier League at home against Clydach, who could only manage seventh place in 2017.

The introduction of Malpas to the division means the prospect of more local derbies with the likes of Panteg and Newport Fugitives.

The Fugies were a solid fifth at the end of their debut season in the tier two, and the way they more than held their own should give Malpas added belief that they can do the same.

A trip to St Helen’s to face Swansea awaits the Fugies tomorrow, while Panteg entertain Tata Steel looking to better the fourth place they recorded last time out.

Abergavenny’s return to the top tier of the South East Wales League kicks off at home to Usk, as Newbridge host another promoted team in Cardiff Gymkhana.

Elsewhere, Croesyceiliog welcome Tondu to Gwent and Chepstow go to Sudbrook.

Blackwood, relegated from Division One, are at Radyr in Division Two, where Ponthir and Monmouth go to Barry Athletic and Whitchurch-Heath respectively, and Rogerstone take on Cardiff Central at home.

In Division Three, Ebbw Vale and Pontymister & Crosskeys have home advantage against Hopkinstown and Machen.