WHARFEDALE Rugby Union Football Club have appointed a new chairman and secretary.

Robert Fort was elected as chairman at last Thursday's annual meeting, with Philip Eddleston taking over as secretary.

They replace respectively David Baker, who will remain on the committee, and Howard Whiteley, who is likely to spend increasing amounts of time abroad on business, particularly in the United States.

However, Baker, who has also stepped down due to work pressures, will continue to represent the club in district, county and National Clubs' Association meetings.

Fort, a local society referee for the past 15 years, has been on the committee for four years, sharing fourth official duties with Antony Davies for the last three seasons.

A former international tax partner with Price Waterhouse and Deloitte, Robert lives in Burnsall.

Eddleston is a Cavalry Club member with five children, who have all played for the club's minis, where he has been involved as a coach for the past six seasons.

A director of a textile business with factories in Accrington and Sri Lanka, Philip lives at Coniston Cold.

Treasurer Alex Howarth reported a small surplus for the year ending June 30, 2018, and said that the club's finances remain stable.

The accounts will be finalised for the club's financial annual meeting in October.

Fort said: "David and Howard will be hard acts to follow, and chairman and secretary are two of the most important positions in the club, but we have now have a stronger committee overall with David Baker staying on, plus the addition of Clare Gains and John Sykes.

"Clare, who has been involved with Skipton Hire Company and Blue Sky Events, will head up our commercial side, replacing John Utley, while John Sykes will head up health and safety, which is an area that we hope to strengthen.

"We also have a new bar manager in Lisa Roddis, who replaces Judith Wood."

With the addition of Rob Baldwin as director of rugby, Fort said: "There has been huge change within the club over the past few months, but it is still Wharfedale RUFC and people are still committed to the values and ethos of the club."

Baldwin also spoke at the annual meeting, giving members an insight into the coaching set-up and the progress of pre-season training, with his overall message being upbeat.

More signings are expected before the National League Two North season starts on Saturday, September 1, with a trip to Peterborough Lions.