Cumbria captain Rob Dawson believes the county's semi-final showing in the Bill Beaumont Cup suggests a bright future for rugby union in the region.
The Cumbrians were beaten 22-17 by Surrey at Bower Park on Saturday, despite leading 14-10 at half time to miss out on the Twickenham final.
"There are some good young players around," Dawson told BBC Radio Cumbria.
"We've got a mix of those young guys and a bit of experience, so Cumbrian rugby is on the up."
Two of the key players in Cumbria's efforts were three-quarter Gavin Cartmel and full-back Alistair Ledingham, both try scorers in the defeat.
"Gavin had a good game on the wing, and Alistair at full-back was outstanding," Dawson continued.
"We talked through the week that they might target him [Ledingham] being such a young lad, only 17, but he stood up today and was one of our best players.
"Ali is very similar to Gavin, they have very little fear of what is in front of them and when the opportunities come they have the pace to back themselves and cause havoc."
Cumbria's only County Championship victory came in 1997's 21-13 Twickenham success against Somerset.