GLAMORGAN head coach Matthew Maynard believes his side could be heading to Newport more often in the future after the return of County Championship cricket to the city this week.

Maynard’s men begin their four-day fixture against Division Two rivals Gloucestershire at Newport Cricket Club’s Spytty Park home tomorrow.

It is 54 years since Glamorgan last played a County Championship match in Newport – Rodney Parade hosted the previous one in 1965 when Warwickshire were the visitors.

First-class cricket is back in Newport as Glamorgan’s Sophia Gardens HQ will be staging games during the forthcoming World Cup.

Maynard, who experienced limited-overs cricket for Glamorgan at Rodney Parade in his playing days, is glad the Welsh county have been able to return to Newport.

And with Cardiff set to be part of the ECB’s new 100-ball city-based competition next year, Maynard reckons it could open more doors for Newport.

“It’s going to be great having a Championship match there,” he said.

“So much has been spent on Sophia Gardens, you want to keep all your games there because you’ve offered members hospitality and other benefits.

“But I used to love playing in Swansea, Colwyn Bay and Abergavenny, I loved those festivals, and you had one-day cricket in Newport, Merthyr Tydfil, Ebbw Vale, Aberystwyth and Pontypridd.

“It doesn’t happen across the country as much these days, but there’s a really good opportunity this year to play a first-class match at Spytty Park.

“That’s going to be great for the region and good for Glamorgan as well.”

He continued: “Newport Cricket Club is a very strong club. It’s really well run and the coaching structure there with the youth system is really good.

“They’ve got a lot of good things in place there already, and the Knight brothers work tirelessly for the club, as well as many others.

“With the new franchise cricket coming into being in 2020 and Cardiff one of the hosts for that, 50-over cricket is going to be played at the same time and there could be an opportunity for Newport.

“The upside is there’s going to be more cricket, maybe not as much first-class, but certainly white-ball cricket.

“You’ve got Swansea in the west, Newport in the east, Cardiff in the middle and north Wales as well.

“Hopefully it will be a long-lasting thing for the region.”