NEWPORT skipper Matt Norris is keen for his side to “lay down a marker” when they take on South Wales Premier League leaders Cardiff tomorrow in a top-of-the-table clash at Spytty Park.

Veteran spinner Dean Cosker returns to the Newport ranks as the reigning champions attempt to topple the early season pacesetters.

Second-placed Newport were involved in the only game to beat the weather last weekend, and they took full advantage of everyone else’s bad luck to close the gap on Cardiff.

Callum Taylor, who had already taken 3-22, guided Norris’ men to a three-wicket victory over Penarth thanks to an unbeaten knock of 45.

That triumph sees Newport, who are still to lose a match this term, lie 18 points behind the team at the summit of Division One.

“It should be a good game this weekend and everybody is looking forward to it,” said Norris.

“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge because Cardiff are always up for it.

“It’s massive for us and we really want to lay down a marker against a very good side.

“We’ve got a strong batting line-up and if we bat first we’ll look to make a big total and then restrict Cardiff.

“If we bowl first we’ll try and apply some early pressure and then use the spin of Callum Taylor, Dean Cosker and Josh Aston.

“Cardiff are strong and we will need to be strong in all three departments (batting, bowling and fielding), just like we were last weekend.”

On that Penarth success, Norris added: “It was great for us that we could play and everyone else had their games rained off.

“We had been in that position against Ammanford so we were able to make up for it and move up the table.

“It was a low scoring game against Penarth and we were glad to get the win.”

In Division Two, Newport Fugitives, who drew with St Fagans last time out, can extend their lead at the top when they travel to bottom side Swansea.

Panteg, in fourth, host second-placed Tata Steel as they look to end a run of five matches without a win.

The weather was also the big winner in the South East Wales League last Saturday with only one fixture surviving the rain – Chepstow beat Usk to climb to fourth.

Tomorrow sees leaders Newbridge go to Pontypridd, while basement boys Blackwood entertain Croesyceiliog.

Elsewhere, Sudbrook are home to Malpas, Chepstow welcome Pentyrch and Usk host Brecon.

In the second round of the Welsh Cup on Sunday, Panteg face Sully Centurions, the winner then meeting Chepstow in round three.