THE Isle of Wight is to stage a County Championship match next summer for the first time since 1962.

Owing to World Cup fixtures taking place at the Ageas Bowl, Hampshire County Cricket Club will ferry their players and equipment to Newclose, Newport.

Hampshire are looking to play on the Island for at least the next four years following discussions between the Isle of Wight Cricket Board and cross-Solent ferry firm, Red Funnel.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Club cricket has been played at Newclose since 2009 and it has also been used by Hampshire’s second XI and the MCC, with success.

A fixture for Hampshire starting on Monday, May 20, has been pencilled in.

The match was brokered thanks to the efforts of Newclose general manager, Hugh Griffiths, and his team.

The ECB has, since the agreement was rubber-stamped, sent a groundsman to inspect the square and discussions are taking place with Newclose owner Martin Gardener over the provision of funds for improving drainage at Newclose.

Hampshire last played a county match on the Isle of Wight at the J.Samuel White ground in Cowes, which is now disused.

The news of the deal delighted the chairman of the Isle of Wight Cricket Board, Phil Mew.

He said: "We think it's fantastic for the Isle of Wight and the whole Island community, to be able to bring top class cricket here for the first time for many years.

"The Board will be throwing its entire weight behind it to make sure it is a great success.

"Another benefit too is that it will also attract more people to the Island."