Club rugby in Cumbria is in disarray after another change of heart by the powers that be.

An eight-team Cumbria League One, mainly consisting of clubs expecting to play in North Lancs/Cumbria, has been put forward. The clubs and Cumbria RFU have appealed against the decision and a meeting is being held in Lancaster tonight.

The new format all stems from the decision by 19 Lancashire clubs to pull out of the league pyramid system run from Twickenham.

Effectively, they didn’t want to travel to Cumbria, but were happy enough to form their own Lancashire-based competition.

There were still enough teams in Lancashire to continue forming a North Lancs/Cumbria League of 14 teams. Clubs like De La Salle and Bolton have been quite vocal in their support for Cumbria.

But a compromise has now been reached which will see the rebel clubs join a combined Cheshire and Lancashire structure from level seven to nine – which leaves Cumbria out on a limb.

Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale, Penrith and Carlisle are not affected, as they play at a higher level but the other 15 Cumbrian clubs have been allocated places in an eight-team Cumbria One division at level seven and a seven-team Cumbria Two division at level eight.

Aspatria, Wigton, Keswick, St Benedict’s, Whitehaven, Upper Eden, Cockermouth and Hawcoat Park would contest Cumbria One.

Cumbria Two would include: Furness, Silloth, Workington, Carlisle Crusaders, Windermere, Egremont and Millom.

The RFU say this is a one season only solution, and acknowledge they are not applying their own rules in terms of transferring clubs between regions to create leagues of equal size. The statement adds that further consultation will take place to find a satisfactory solution for beyond next season.

But already there are fears that, after just one season, the status quo will be retained, leading to a feeling of isolation and fears about the sustainability of the 15-man code in the county.

The Cumbria RFU appealed the latest RFU diktat on behalf of their member clubs, and their appeal was upheld by a two-man independent panel.

Representatives from the Cumbrian clubs will be attending tonight’s meeting, when Lancashire and Cheshire clubs have also been invited.

Aspatria secretary Barney Clegg said: “A Cumbria League of eight, with teams playing each other three times, is being likened to Armageddon.

“It would have a serious impact on Cumbrian rugby.

"Young players, with ambition to play at a higher level and against clubs from outside the county, would move further afield.

"Significantly no fixture lists have been issued, and that in itself, has held clubs back. We have no match sponsorship in place.

"We would have that sorted for the list of home matches.”