NEWPORT Cricket Club have been awarded first-class status as Spytty Park prepares for the return of Glamorgan.

The Sophia Gardens county will be returning to the city on Tuesday, May 14 when they entertain Gloucestershire in the County Championship.

With Cardiff preparing for the World Cup, Glamorgan will play a four-day contest in Newport after an absence of 54 years since Rodney Parade hosted a meeting with Warwickshire.

The club have been preparing for the visit of the West Country rivals and hosted England and Wales Cricket Board pitch inspector David Bates along with Glamorgan head groundsman Robin Saxton.

They carried out an inspection of the facilities and a detailed study of the playing area, taking core samples from the square and outfield and flying a drone over the ground to record data.

Newport officials were informed during the visit that Spytty Park is one of 20 UK grounds to gain a classification as a Category D venue, with A able to host Test cricket, B a one-day international venue, C a county ground and D eligible for first-class County Championship action.

Chairman Mike Knight said: "Obviously to hold first-class county matches is a tremendous honour for the club and indeed the City of Newport itself.

"The commitment from Glamorgan and the ECB to improve our facilities even further will be a great help to the club.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to develop the club further and our members and young players will have a superb venue to play at on a regular basis."

Meanwhile, Glamorgan batsman Colin Ingram has extended his one-day contract by two years.

The South African left-hander, Glam's captain in the T20 Blast this summer, will be with the county for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.

Big-hitting Ingram has topped Glamorgan's white-ball run charts in each of his four seasons since joining in 2015.

He has amassed 1,770 runs at an average of over 41 with three centuries.

"I love playing for Glamorgan, love Cardiff and I love Wales so I am delighted to sign a new white-ball contract and extend my time at the club," said Ingram, who made 40 appearances for South Africa.

"Over the last few years we've competed extremely well in white-ball cricket and put together a lot of very good performances.

"With the squad we have and the new signings we've made over the winter, I firmly believe we can keep challenging for the knockout stages of the competitions over the next few years."

Ingram has become a one-day specialist since giving up red-ball cricket in 2017 after being hindered by knee trouble.

He won the Big Bash in 2018 with Adelaide Strikers before he captained the side in this year's competition.

Ingram is currently playing for the Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League and recently struck 127 not out from just 59 balls, the highest ever score in the competition.

He will also feature for Delhi Capitals in this year's Indian Premier League before he returns to Glamorgan for the Blast.

"Signing Colin for another two years is a massive statement from the club," said director of cricket Mark Wallace.

"Any team out there would want him in their side to secure his services is a big boost for us.

"He is an incredible destructive batsman and over the last few years has proved himself to be one of the very best white-ball players in the world.

"As well as his batting, he also brings very good leadership qualities to the side and has a wealth of experience in the game, which will help or young players continue to develop as we look to carry on our good form in white-ball cricket and compete for silverware."