PREPARATIONS for Glamorgan’s first County Championship fixture in Newport for more than 50 years have stepped up a gear.

Matthew Maynard’s Glamorgan face Gloucestershire in a Division Two clash at Spytty Park from May 14-17.

The Welsh team last played a County Championship game in the city in 1965, when Rodney Parade hosted their encounter with Warwickshire.

In readiness for next month’s clash, host club Newport’s pavilion underwent a makeover during the winter and the ground looked in fine fettle when staging the Welsh Varsity match last week.

It was then that Newport chairman Mike Knight and Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace, who plays for the host club, signed the official ‘Staging Agreement’ for the fixture.

With the game being the first ever County Championship tie to be played at Spytty Park, Knight said: “It has been a long time coming and I’m sure that not many people in Newport ever thought they’d see county cricket return to the city.

“We’re ready for it and confident that we’ll put on a great occasion.”

He added: “A major operation has been under way throughout the winter, with ground inspections, organising hospitality marquees, portable bars, temporary stands and seating, media facilities and that’s all before the main business begins when the game starts.

“Interest in the game has been huge and we’re told that the hospitality marquee has nearly been sold out for day one already.

“Crowds of up to 1,500 are expected and we’ve even had people from Bristol visiting the ground to see what it is like and where it is.

“We just hope the sun shines and the people of Newport turn out in force to show their support for the return of county cricket to Newport.”

Spytty Park has hosted Glamorgan second XI fixtures and the county played a one-day game there against Pakistan A in 2016.

Tickets for the Gloucestershire match are available through the Glamorgan website and hospitality tables of 10 can be purchased by calling Knight on 07793 823294.