Distington boss Carl Hewer has used his motivational skills in the build-up to a clash with big rivals Kells tonight.

The reigning Iggesund Cumberland League champions Distington will face off with close rivals Kells in the second round of the BARLA Cumbria Cup.

And coach Hewer is determined to make sure his team don’t become complacent, despite victory last weekend over their closest league rivals Ellenborough.

“For me, I used to play for Hensingham, I know how hard it is to go to Kells and get a win against them,” said Hewer. “It’s always a tough challenge with Kells.

“We’re going as strong as we can, we always do at Kells. I imagine they will bolster their ranks as well.”

This is a slight distraction for Distington tonight, away from their main target, hanging on to their league crown after they have taken the title for the first phase of the season.

At the halfway stage, the league has now split into two divisions, although there had to be a late alteration to the seventh team contesting the top flight.

Kells A would have taken that slot had they won on Tuesday at bottom side Ellenborough A. Most people expected that to happen, but in fact it was Elbra’s second team that came out on top 22-20.

Hewer believes there are many competitive games to come in the league.

He added: “I think it is better now that they have split it, you’re going to get a contest. The closer games and higher-level rugby will be better for the development of everyone involved.”

Lorraine Degraff of the Cumberland ARL is excited for the upcoming game after the league split and the decision to host an away and home game for each match-up.

She said: “I’m really looking forward some absolutely fantastic matches. We have had a really successful first phase.”

The new league format gets under way this weekend with a nice trailer for the big Conference clash taking place at Gillfoot Park tonight. Egremont A, who finished sixth in the first phase, entertain Wath Brow A who are third.

Tomorrow, Lowca host Ellenborough A in Division One.