Cumbria booked their place in the final of the Bill Beaumont Senior Mens County Championship with a well-deserved 26-10 win against Oxfordshire at Aspatria’s Bower Park.

They will face Dorset & Wilts at Twickenham on June 8 in the Division Three final which has an early kick-off at 11am.

The victory was achieved against an Oxfordshire side who had started the game as favourites with the majority of their side playing for Henley in National Two South, several levels above where most of the home-based players ply their trade.

However, tenacity and a refusal to be beaten saw the Cumbrians through as they bossed the second half and dominated the final quarter of the game.

It was clear from the early stages that the home side would be dominant at the set scrum as they had their bigger opposite numbers going backwards from the off. Also clear from the off was the efficiency of the visitor’s line-out as they hardly missed their jumper all afternoon.

Unfortunately for the Cumbrians, their only downfall on the day, their lack of discipline, played into the hands of Oxfordshire as time after time they kicked down the touchline as Cumbria infringed; won the line-outs and the home side lost their hard-won field position.

It was just this scenario that saw the visitors open the scoring. A penalty was kicked to the corner within five metres of the home line where a well-executed line-out and driven maul produced a try in the corner. It was training ground stuff but very difficult to defend if done correctly.

Cumbria, however, gathered themselves and got right into the visitors’ faces at the restart and forced an immediate penalty when the ball carrier hung on to the ball after being brought to the ground. Mark Ireland struck the kick sweetly and the hosts were only two points adrift.

As the first half progressed Cumbria got more into their game and got themselves into promising positions only for a stray pass or spilt possession to let them down.

Scrum-half James Telford had a couple of incisive runs but couldn’t quite link up with the support but

Cumbria did take the lead just before the break.

Ireland took on a 45 metre penalty that looked to be about on the limit of his range but again he hit it sweetly and it sailed over.

The home side looked to hang on to this narrow lead until the break but again another penalty against them saw their opponents with a line-out on their line.

They set up the driven maul and as it inched towards the line Cumbria got the ball to ground and stifled the attack but illegally in the eyes of the referee and influential lock Ben Leacock was yellow carded for his troubles.

The home side snuffed out the next attack but again illegally and the visitors went for a third line-out on the line and this time succeeded in forcing their way over for a 10-6 interval lead.

Cumbria were on the front foot from the off in the second half after the visiting forwards fumbled the restart. The ball fell to Tom Graham who barrelled into the 22 and the home said laid siege to the line and were only thwarted when Peter Weightman was tackled into touch in the corner.

The majority of the play was now in the visitors’ half and after quarter of an hour Ireland took the opportunity to reduce the arrears to one point with another well taken penalty.

Just three minutes later he had the chance to give his side the lead with his boot but this time the ball came back off the post.

Cumbria were having much the better of things but couldn’t break down an Oxford side who were clearly tiring.

It was Glen Weightman, who was having a good afternoon, who finally provided the inspiration to open them up. An inch-perfect chip wide to the left saw replacement winger Harry Huddlestone take the ball at pace, on the full and go in at the corner.

Ireland struck the conversion from the touchline and they led by six.

The visitors made one last big effort to get themselves back into the game but the resolute Cumbrian tackling was up to the task.

Glen Weightman then made the game all but safe with a well taken drop goal to pull out the lead to two scores and the icing was put on the cake with the final play of the game to complete a famous victory.