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Yorkshire Cup win gives Wharfedale something to build on
Buy this photo Josh Prell was one youngster to impress
Coach Jon Feeley believes winning the Yorkshire Cup was important for both Wharfedale and its players.
The recent 34-29 win over Otley brought to an end a long and demanding season for the National League One outfit.
Feeley said: “I wasn't aware until this year that Wharfedale, despite being an established Level 3 club, had won it so few times!
“But more importantly, it was a reward for the players who had put such an effort in over the year.
“A good league position is rewarding to a point, but it's really good for the players to have something tangible to celebrate together at the end of the year to reflect the work they have put in.
“After such a tough league campaign it’s a big ask to then win a cup competition, however they managed it much to their credit.”
Feeley was delighted with the manner in which they secured their second Yorkshire Cup triumph.
He said: “It was in many ways a yard stick to measure how far we've come. We lost to Otley in pre-season, but we finished it beating them with some great rugby on a bigger stage, virtually unrecognisable from the team that started the year.”
Now Wharfedale are looking ahead to next season and Feeley is looking to build on the progress made in his first season at the helm.
“We have to be better next year as the level will continue to rise with the calibre of teams coming up and Ealing coming down.
“There are gaps in our game plan which need addressing, I hope to have more time this pre-season to move onto those areas,” added Feeley.
“Last year was very much about creating a mindset and new way of playing, having laid the foundations I now want to build on that and make it more difficult for opponents to both defend and attack.”
Looking ahead, Feeley is also anxious that his players develop as individuals and hone their skills.
"Next season I won't just be looking to the young players to break into the first team squad, I will also be looking to those who established themselves this year to improve and move their rugby forward," he said.
"They all need to up skill and develop physically so they can make a greater impact for longer periods. Josh Burridge, Josh Prell, Jake Armstrong and Dan Stockdale all had great impact at different stages, consistently putting that form together and then getting better will be their greatest challenge.
"I would like those on the fringes of the first team to take their game forward and make life difficult for those in possession of a first team shirt, especially Will Davidson, who needs to make his brother Tomsweat, Tom Whyte who's lineout work was outstanding and showed what a potential asset he could be and Jimmy Bullough who need to make the battle for the 9 shirt three-way.
"But equally, we have players with championship experience like Rob Baldwin and James Doherty whose challenge will be to raise the performance of those young players around them to the level they have experienced.
"Steely, Rhodesy, Woody and the returning Adam Whaites will also be expected to lead by example."
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