WHARFEDALE, who started pre-season training on Tuesday, have already signed two players and welcomed back a favourite.

The new recruits are prop Reece Ward from Old Brodleians and lock Kieran Frost from Towcestrians, while the popular returnee is hooker Stevie Graham.

Wharfedale's head coach James Doherty said: "Reece comes highly recommended to us by George Hedgley, who was a team-mate of his for Yorkshire Under-20s.

"He is on tour with them this summer but will train with us before and after that and seems a nice lad.

"The same is true of Kieran, who is at Leeds University and wants to push on, having played for Towcestrians in National League Three Midlands, which is only a division below us."

As for former Greens front-rower Graham, who has been at Ilkley and Sandal since he was last at The Avenue, Doherty said: "I just got a very positive text from him saying that he wanted to come back, and his experience will be very useful to us.

"In fact our pack is shaping up well, providing that we stay injury free.

"We have lost James Tincknell to Hull Ionians in the backs but we have some good news regarding those positions as a couple of them will be joining us on dual registration from Yorkshire Carnegie, although I can't give any names yet."

Wharfedale have arranged two pre-season friendlies.

They will face Kirby Lonsdale, who won all 26 matches in lifting the North One West title last season, on Saturday, August 12 at The Avenue (3.00) and, ironically in view of Tincknell's departure, the Greens will visit Ionians the following Saturday.

"That is ideal preparation for us as we want to give the players the Bank Holiday weekend off ahead of a tough start to the league season on Saturday, September 2 at Macclesfield," admitted Doherty.

"We then face Otley on September 9, but this time at our place rather than theirs, and I am delighted that Sheffield and Huddersfield have been promoted as it means more Yorkshire sides in our division.

"It will also be interesting to see how Sale FC get on and it will be great to renew acquaintances with clubs such as Blaydon, who we enjoy such a good relationship with.

"If anything our league will be stronger next season than last and I cannot see any easy five-point fixtures."

There will be some fitness work in training this week to see where the players are at, confirmed Doherty, but he added: "We will also be doing plenty of work with the ball early in the season as fitness should be a given."