WHARFEDALE'S new director of rugby Rob Baldwin has praised his captain Phil Woodhead for showing the strength of character to bounce back from a difficult start to become one of the stars of the campaign.

It was Woodhead's first season as skipper but the excitement of that quickly dissipated as his form and the team's results suffered early on. However, Baldwin knew that the scrum-half's determination would see him turn the situation around.

He said: "Phil's commitment and attitude to rugby and to Wharfedale never faltered during any of the struggles.

"He's been 100 per cent dedicated throughout training and with his availability for games. He's remained professional and kept a level of integrity through the tough times and the good times.

"Phil's learned a tremendous amount during the season, and then in the last five or six games he's really come into his own. He's found form and played like the Phil that we know.

"He's played a big part and has been the one player in particular that has got the results for us. Especially up at Tynedale away.

"It was Phil that scored the late try and put us in the position to do so. For me, he singlehandedly did the job for us up there. He was outstanding in that game and in the win at home to Hinckley.

"There was a penalty try that he would have scored as well as another try. He showed his class and he was brilliant."

Woodhead's fine end to the season was rewarded as he received a late call up to the Yorkshire squad for their County Championship clashes against Northumberland and Eastern Counties.

Playing alongside his club teammates George Hedgley, James Tyson and Josh Burridge, Woodhead helped the side to victory in those encounters, adding to their opening game win in Cheshire.

They missed out on progressing to the County Championship final at Twickenham though, losing out on points difference to their great rivals Lancashire.

Despite this disappointment, Baldwin, who travelled with the squad as a player/coach, claimed that there was a real buzz in the Yorkshire camp this year.

He enthused: "They've put in a new management structure to get more from the available players. There are some great players in the region but they just weren't turned on by playing for the county at the end of a long season.

"Some of the guys were switching off and not enjoying the three or four weeks with the county. The new coaches, Jon Feeley, Jon Skurr and Mark Luffman, have come on board and they're brilliant.

"Guys are enjoying turning up and playing now. It's a chance for them at the end of the campaign to forget about what their club season has been like, and have a go with a different group of players and challenge themselves in a different way."