When Carlisle Cricket Club won the Cumbria Premier Division title last year - 37 years after their previous one - they could have been forgiven for resting on their laurels, enjoying the celebrations, and putting the 2020 season out of their minds.

But that is not the Carlisle way.

Instead, they went out of their way to secure a marquee signing, as they immediately turned their thoughts towards retaining the title again this summer.

All-rounder Paul Hindmarch - a former Durham professional - returns to his Cumbrian roots to play for Carlisle this year, and is quite a coup for the Edenside club.

“Last few years I haven’t been able to play as much as I’d have liked, so I can’t wait to play this summer,” enthused Hindmarch. “They had a great season last year, and have a great set-up, so I’m excited to be joining the club.”

Born in Carlisle, Hindmarch went to school in Keswick, before signing for Durham, something he still ranks as a highlight of his cricketing career.

“Signing my first professional contract at Durham was a very proud day,” said Hindmarch. “It didn’t quite all go to plan after that though.”

After playing for a few years in Durham’s Second XI, he returned to Cumberland, where he played minor counties cricket, while also developing his other skill - coaching.

He had a spell as cricket development officer for Cumbria Cricket, before becoming fast bowling coach for Surrey’s academy, and performance coach for their Under-10s.

From there, he became head coach of the cricket academy at Whitgift School, who have a long tradition of cricket, and is where England batsman Jason Roy went.

It is an aspect of the game which gives Hindmarch as big a thrill as playing does.

“I get the same buzz watching young players succeed as I do when I’m playing,” he said.

“I Absolutely love coaching - it is my real passion now.

“Working with players and seeing them improve is really satisfying. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Surrey and Whitgift - both incredible environments to be involved in.

“I’ve learned great deal about coaching the game during my time there.”

Those coaching skills are something Carlisle secretary Mark Davidson is hoping to cash-in on, as they aim to ensure the next Cumbrian cricket star can develop at their club.

Davidson said: “We’re delighted to have Paul at Edenside for the 2020 season.

“Bringing Paul here is seen as part of the club’s ongoing commitment to progressing the solid base already in place within the coaching structure and leading into the player pathway development programme.

“The many successes at both junior and senior level in recent years are a product of the developmental structure at Carlisle, and I know that Paul will make a key contribution to this over the summer.”

Of course, the region’s biggest cricketing success is current World Cricketer Of The Year, Ben Stokes.

Like every cricket fan, Hindmarch was captivated and enthralled by his England heroics in the Ashes and World Cup last year.

“It was an amazing summer for the game, and great that a local lad was at the forefront,” said Hindmarch. “Ben [Stokes] is a world class player and trains ridiculously hard, he deserves all the plaudits he’s getting at the moment.”

Hindmarch has coached some top prospects during his spells at Surrey and Whitgift School, and some are already making a name for themselves at national and international level.

But what he would really like is to guide another local youngster to burst onto the scene and have a similar impact to that of Stokes.

“I’ve only been back in the region for a few months, but I’m really impressed with the young cricketers in the area.

“Cumbria has always punched well above its weight in terms of producing first class cricketers.

“Stokes is arguably the best cricketer in the world right now, and it’s very inspirational for junior cricketers that he and many other lads have come through the Cumbria set up.

“It’s great for young players to have aspirations to follow the likes of Stokes, as there are no shortcuts to the top, it takes hard work and dedication!

“It’s no surprise that the fittest man in the England team was there at the end in the [World Cup] final playing a match-winning innings.”

A few similar match-winning innings’ is what Carlisle will be hoping to get from Hindmarch this summer, and with coaching skills to match his playing ability, they could get that, and a great deal more.