A SEASON of long road trips over the windswept Pennines lies ahead for Kendal after the RFU confirmed they will play in North East 1 next season.

The club’s relegation from North Premier last term left them waiting to be advised as to the competition they will compete in during the coming season following news that the structure of rugby union in the North of England was to be reviewed.

But it has now been decided that they will be placed in the North East set up and the fixtures, which are due out in the next few days, will feature trips to the likes of old rivals Bradford & Bingley, Cleckheaton and Morley and also less familiar venues such as Durham City, Moortown and Driffield.

“Our historical and geographical ties are with the North West and we were expecting to be in North 1 West, but that is not to be,” said Kendal chairman Steve Green.

“We have done our best to remain in N1W but to no avail.

“The decision was finally made at Twickenham and, I suspect, with no real insight into the prevailing weather conditions over the A66 in winter.

“Unfortunately there is no appeal against this ruling.”

However, Mr Green said though there was obviously some disappointment at the lack of local derbies, Kendal were still looking ahead with relish to the new season under new coaching co-ordinator Garry Holmes.

An experienced coaching team has been assembled with the likes of Richard Harriman, James Gough, Stuart Wilkinson and director of rugby Chris Hayton all involved as the club seek to revive their fortunes after a disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

But that season did end in some style on Saturday when a host of Kendal players covered themselves in glory by being key members of the Cumbria side which won the Division Three County Championship at Twickenham on Saturday.

Glen Weightman was man of the match after a fantastic display, and his Mintbridge colleagues Kirk Chettleburgh, Dini Noyo, Dom Musetti, Steve Nelson and Danny Barker all performed with distinction as Cumbria lit up the sport’s headquarters with a superb display as they saw off Dorset & Wiltshire 23-13.

And there was also a fine contribution from a quartet of players from Kendal’s local rivals Kirkby Lonsdale, with brothers James and Dan Thompson, Ben Walker and Harry Huddleston all featuring in the game.

On a memorable day at a stadium bathed in bright sunshine, Henry Wainwright gave Cumbria the lead when he spotted a hole in the defensive line and plunged over the whitewash, Mark Ireland adding the extras.

Ireland extended the lead with a penalty but the defending champions hit back when Ross Williams scored out wide.

However, Ireland then added two more penalties to send Cumbria in at half time 16-5 up.

Dorset & Wilts staged a second half revival with a try from winger Laisiasa Vinakadini followed by a Sam Baker penalty.

But that was as good as it got for the southerners and with three minutes to go, former Kendal Gary Hodgson clinched victory when he twisted out of a tackle and grounded the ball.

Ireland’s brilliant conversion then putting the icing on the cake with skipper Ken Houghton lifting the trophy as a deafening roar from the travelling Cumbrian support rang around the famous stadium.