AFTER almost four months away with Yorkshire Division One side Keighley, Rob Baldwin is rejoining Wharfedale.

However, the experienced No 8 will not be putting his boots on to try and help the National League Two North basement boys in their fight against relegation.

Instead the 32-year-old, who has also played for Otley, Leeds Carnegie, Yorkshire and England Counties, will fill a wide-ranging position at The Avenue of player development director.

Wharfedale's head coach James Doherty said of Baldwin: "He is returning in a non-playing capacity, and he is not replacing anybody as it is a new role.

"He will be player development director, which means that he will be looking after the senior colts who train with the first team, the second-teamers who are looking to get into the first team, and the first-teamers from one to 20 technically, tactically and psychologically.

"He will also be involved with recruitment as he has a great set of contacts

"Rob has been through the mill as a player and deserves to give his body a rest.

"I am not surprised that he is hanging up his boots.

"I have played in the same side with him for Wharfedale and Leeds Carnegie and his body really suffers after games.

"He has two young children and it is a case of priorities."

Keighley's director of rugby Russell Gibson revealed: "Rob called me last week to say that he had been approached by Wharfedale to go back up there in a non-playing role to help the club out.

"It's no secret that Wharfedale are struggling at the moment, Rob is a Wharfedale lad through and through and when asked to help what else can you do?

"If I was in the same position, I'm sure I would do the same."

Gibson added: "Obviously we are sorry to lose such a quality player.

"Both Dux (head coach Dave Duxbury) and myself have thanked Rob for his involvement with Keighley RUFC and we wish him success in his new role."

Wharfedale, who are at fifth-placed Sale FC on Saturday, were given a lift by Wharfedale Foresters' performance in their 22-15 defeat at home to Darlington Mowden Park in the Northern Pilot League on Monday night.

Doherty said: "Darlington's side was littered, and I mean littered, with first-teamers, such as Jordon Poole, Dan Preston-Routledge and Talite Vaoileti, and we were outstanding, but particularly Jack Johnson at No 10, who played as well as I have seen him.

"Sale are a good team, as was proved by their 39-16 win at leaders Stourbridge last time out."

Wharfedale have rung the changes after the horrendous second-half collapse against Sheffield Tigers which saw them concede 45 unanswered points to lost 53-33.
There are seven changes in all, three are positional, while Robbie Davison, skipper Phil Woodhead, centre Joel Hill and back row forward Jack Kitching all come into the side.
Tom Davidson reverts to full back from centre to facilitate Gill’s return, while Latvian international Robbie Davison comes in on the right wing as Tom Mann and Jake Parkinson step down.
Woodhead,, who has recovered from inury takes over from Archie Hancock at scrum half to resume his half-back partnership with Tom Barrett.
In the pack, Kieran Frost goes into the back row from lock in a swap with Adam Howard while Kitching takes over from George Hedgley at flanker as Wharfedale look for a lift.
Wharfedale: Tom Davidson; Robbie Davidson, Charlie Graham, Joel Gill, Oli Cicognini; Tom Barrett, Phil Woodhead (c); Joe Altham, Ian Larkin (c), Reece Ward, Adam Howard, Richard Rhodes, Kieran Frost, James Tyson, Jack Kitching 
Replacements Dan Stockdale, Toms Asejevs, Stevie Graham, Tom Whyte, Jack Johnson