NEWPORT’S bid to regain the South Wales Premier League title continues tomorrow at reigning champions Cardiff, the side they beat twice last season yet still couldn’t stop finishing top of the pile.

The capital outfit pipped the Gwent team to first place following another titanic battle between the two rivals – roles were reversed in 2016 when Newport edged Cardiff to the trophy.

Seeing this weekend’s hosts deny them back-to-back championships in 2017 is something that still rankles with Newport coach Mike Knight and his squad.

As well as defeating Cardiff home and away last summer, Newport completed their campaign with more victories than the title winners.

It was the four fixtures Newport lost to the weather – as opposed to Cardiff’s two – that proved decisive after the final ball was bowled and the sides were separated by just five points.

But, as Knight says, the chance to reclaim the big prize has given Newport’s players no shortage of motivation this time around.

“Obviously we were disappointed not to win it last year because we beat Cardiff twice and lost fewer games than them” said Knight, who misses his first Newport match in a decade tomorrow.

“We felt we were the best side in the league so there’s a fair bit of motivation to try and win it back – it’s time the trophy came back to Newport.

“If we get our full side out I think we’ll take a lot of beating. We’ve got a very strong batting line-up and a bowling line-up including three excellent spinners, and very good opening bowlers and medium pacers.

“We’ve also got a few good all-rounders that strengthen both departments.”

Newport’s start to the summer has been a promising one with an 18-point advantage over St Fagans at the summit after nine games.

As for Cardiff, who lost to Ammanford last weekend, retaining the title looks unlikely as they sit fifth, 45 points behind Newport.

Knight’s troops got the better of Mumbles six days ago thanks to Callum Taylor and Mark Wallace’s third-wicket partnership of 175.

“It was a great partnership between Mark and Callum but outside of that our batting wasn’t great,” added Knight.

“We were in a really good position then we didn’t play very well towards the end of the innings.

“Had Aneurin Donald carried on batting for Mumbles it might have been a different story. Once we got him out things changed a little bit and we won by 29 runs.”

He continued: “We’ve got a bit of a cushion at the top after St Fagans lost last weekend, but we’ve got to turn that into a big gap.”

Michael Clayden continues as skipper tomorrow with Matt Norris unavailable.

In Division Two, Malpas, up to sixth following an eight-wicket win against Carmarthen Wanderers, go to third-placed Clydach.

Newport Fugitives host Swansea and Panteg visit Tata Steel, who are fourth.

Newbridge won the top-of-the-table showdown with Miskin Manor in South East Wales League Division One last Saturday to close the gap on the leaders to two points.

Struggling Tondu visit Newbridge tomorrow while Miskin Manor go to bottom club Brecon.

Croesyceiliog and Sudbrook entertain Usk and

Abergavenny respectively, and Chepstow are away to Pontypridd.