Having enjoyed success with club and county, Carlisle Rugby Club matchday captain Henry Wainwright admits the 2018/19 season has been the best of his career.

Wainwright was one of three Carlisle players who featured for Cumbria in their Bill Beaumont County Championship Division Three final as they beat Dorset & Wiltshire 23-13 at Twickenham on Saturday.

It gave cause for celebration for Wainwright, Carlisle club captain Tom Graham and team-mate James Telford for the second time in quick succession, with Matt Shields’ Carlisle team having claimed the North One West title and promotion to North Premier in April.

Wainwright scored Cumbria’s opening try in London. Then after Wainwright had drawn first blood, Mark Ireland scored a penalty to make it 10-0.

Ross Williams got Dorset & Wiltshire on the scoreboard with a try, only for Ireland to land two furtehr penalties.

Things became nervy for the Cumbrians as their lead was cut to three points with Laisiasa Vinakadini scoring and then Sam Baker closing the gap further. But the reality was Cumbria needed one more score, and Gary Hodgson duly obliged before Ireland landed a brilliant conversion to secure the victory.

Reflecting on the win at rugby's headquarters, Wainwright said: "It was a nice way to finish the season.

"With the county in the past, nobody has really bought into it. But, this year, the whole group has pulled together, bought into it and we pulled it off, so it was good."

Wainwright does concede it was nice to be joined by two club-mates in the county squad.

He said: "It’s always good when you are going into another team and there are a couple of lads that you know. It helps to pull the squad together which is good."

And Wainwright, a farmer based in Low Hesket, had particular praise for Graham - the man who he replaced as Carlisle skipper.

“Me and Tom are good mates. I didn’t know how it was going to go but it’s been a smooth transition," he said.

"He has become club captain and I have taken over the matchday captain’s role. He has been brilliant with it.

"It’s always good to have someone who has been there and done it on the pitch next to you."

Players from Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth, Aspatria, Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale, Wharfedale in Skipton, Rosslyn Park in London and Sheffield were also involved in the Cumbria squad.

When asked if this has been the best season of his career, Wainwright, who will now have a short break before he plays one more game this term in Finland for a touring team called “The Penguins” in the last weekend of June, had little doubt.

"Oh yeah, definitely," he admitted. "I have been at Carlisle for six years now and the first two were pretty bleak.

"We got flooded and then we ended up getting relegated, but that was more down to every game being an away game, to be honest, because we didn’t have a ground.

"Moving on from that, a few people changed roles behind the scenes at the club, and we have brought back local lads, and every season it has been getting better and better."

He added: "At Carlisle, it has all been local lads [playing this season].

"Some have hung around when they could have moved on to other clubs, but they have stayed loyal and it’s paid off, really."

Meanwhile, looking ahead to the 2019/20 campaign, Carlisle player-coach Shields believes Carlisle have individuals who can play North Premier rugby.

And Wainwright reckons the first-team players at the Warwick Road club are excited at the prospect of getting the chance to test themselves at a higher level.

"It will be a massive step up," he said. "The boys are excited about that, really.

"Hopefully, we will do something in the league above."