COUNTY Championship cricket will return to Newport after an absence of 54 years when Glamorgan play Gloucestershire in a four-day contest next season.

With preparations in full swing ahead of the ICC World Cup matches at Sophia Gardens, Glamorgan have allocated their match against the West Country outfit in mid-May to Spytty Park.

Gloucestershire played Glamorgan in Newport in 1939 when legendary England batsman Wally Hammond scored 302 at Rodney Parade – the Welsh county’s previous ground in the city.

Emrys Davies, the great Glamorgan opener, replied with an unbeaten 287 to save the game for his side.

This match was one of 27 first-class fixtures Glamorgan staged at Rodney Parade between July 1935 and May 1965.

It followed Glamorgan’s merger with Monmouthshire during 1934, with other grounds such as Ebbw Vale and Abergavenny also being subsequently added to the Welsh county’s fixture list.

Spytty Park has already hosted plenty of Glamorgan 2nd XI and Wales Minor County fixtures as well as the List A game against Pakistan A in July 2016.

But the clash with Gloucestershire, which starts on Tuesday, May 14 will be the inaugural first-class encounter at the ground.