With 2019 only a matter of weeks old, some of Cumbria’s top sporting stars are preparing to target international success.

The New Year will see the leading athletes in the county aim for glory across a variety of sports.

Here, we look at some of the events where Cumbrians could make their mark this year.

Rugby Union

Four Cumbrians will hope to impress at two major events.

The Six Nations will get under way in just under a fortnight’s time, with Chris Harris, Gary Graham, Will Addison and Mark Wilson all having been selected. After the Six Nations, the quartet will then turn their attention to the Rugby World Cup, in Japan, in September.

Interestingly, despite their links to Cumbria, the four rugby aces represent three different counties.

Former Carlisle Rugby Club duo Harris and Graham have pledged their allegiances to Scotland, with Graham born in Stirling and Harris qualifying to play for the Scots through his grandmother, while Penrith-born Addison last year broke into the Ireland set-up. His mum is from County Fermanagh.

But former Penrith junior star Wilson is impressing for England and won a Fans’ Player of the Series vote for the November internationals.

Women’s rugby union

The women’s Six Nations will also take place in the coming months. 

Keswick’s Abbie Scott and Cath O’Donnell, of Maryport, are likely to be involved.


After enjoying a sensational 2018, Helen Housby, from Drumleaning, near Wigton, is hoping for more of the same.

Housby, the reigning Cumbria Sports Personality of the Year, is likely to be a key part of the England team that will go for Netball World Cup success in Liverpool in July. Last year, Housby sunk the shot that saw England beat Australia 52-51 in the Commonwealth Games final. 

Now, this year, the 24-year-old Manchester United fan, celebrating her birthday today, is hoping for England World Cup success on two fronts - with Barrow ace Georgia Stanway one of a host of players looking to earn a call-up for the England women’s side ahead of the football World Cup in France.


Ben Stokes will look to focus on matters on the field this calendar year after a challenging 2018.

Stokes, from Cockermouth, missed five months of England games, including the Ashes, before the 27-year-old was cleared of affray in August. 

But having reaffirmed himself as one of England’s most important players in their 3-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka in November, Stokes will hope to play his part as England host the Cricket World Cup for the first time since 1999, before a summer Ashes series against Australia.


Following a strong start to the year, runner Charlotte Arter, from Stockdalewath, will look to maintain her good form, ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. Scotby Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nick Miller will also hope to be involved at the event in Doha, Qatar.


Lauren Smith, of Longtown, has already made a winning start to 2019. She helped the Bengaluru Raptors win their first-ever Premier Badminton League title after they beat Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final in India.

The five-time Commonwealth Games medallist, 27, is targeting a place at the European Games in Minsk, Belarus, in June.

“It would be great to do well on that sort of stage,” she said.


Like Lauren Smith, Carlisle’s Ellie Dickinson could also be involved at the European Games where 15 sports will feature.

Dickinson, 20, could also feature at a number of World Cups, including at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow in November.


In Gwangju, South Korea, in July, the FINA World Aquatics Championships will take place. There, Cockermouth swimmers Jacob Leach and Luke Greenbank will hope to be involved.

Para Athletics

Starting in The United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Maryport marathon man Simon Lawson could feature at the World Para Athletics Championships in November.

Active Cumbria’s operations manager Richard Johnston said: “There’s loads of great international sporting events taking place during 2019, many of which will have athletes from Cumbria competing. It will be great to see if we can build on the successes achieved in 2018. 

"This year, we could potentially see Cumbrian success in World Championships in netball, athletics, women’s football, cricket, para athletics, and rugby union, so it would be great if we could announce more local world champions at the 2019 Cumbria Sports Awards in November.”