HEAD coach Jon Feeley dipped into Catalan culture for a phrase that best sums up Wharfedale RUFC.

At the club’s players’ dinner in the clubhouse, he said: “FC Barcelona have an expression ‘Mes que un club’ – ‘More than a club’ - to describe themselves, and that is us.”

But apart from finding a phrase for a sports club that best represents their area and is also one of its greatest ambassadors, Feeley began his speech by praising the Green Machine’s Colts side.

Earlier this month, they travelled to Worcester, where they memorably defeated Old Elthamians 31-21 in the final of the National Under-18 Cup – an achievement that Feeley said was fantastic.

Full back Ryan Hodgson, prop Sam Dickinson – both sons of famous Wharfedale RUFC fathers - and second row Joe Myers were representing the Colts at the dinner. Feeley added: “They (the Colts squad) showed commitment and talent and there are some very special players there, and it is now our job to give you an opportunity to fulfil that potential.

“Is it the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? I want to see you all at pre-season training.”

Feeley then touched upon the first XV’s season in which they finished eighth in National League Two North, crucially one point and one place above neighbours Otley.

Memorable wins included seeing off leaders Hull Ionians in January at The Avenue, but Feeley focused on victories at Preston Grasshoppers the week after and at Huddersfield the following month, with Feeley admitting he knew Wharfedale would win both matches as early as half-time.

He said: “The energy that we had at Huddersfield was relentless, as was that of the Colts in their final.

“At Preston Grasshoppers we won in absolutely atrocious conditions on a plastic pitch.”

Feeley not only praised his players for their efforts over the course of the season, but also his backroom staff, notably Jon Skurr, fitness coach Chris Black and physiotherapists Jill Alexander-Riley and Rachel Galley, who collectively must be the envy of many clubs from higher up the pyramid.

“It is no coincidence that we had the third best defence in the league,” said Feeley referring to Skurr, “and I am extremely grateful to him.

“Defence wins you games and the attack decides by how much.”

Club chairman Robert Fort said: “Clubs are envious of our deep roots in the Dales community and are deeply envious of our support base and volunteers, and probably our financial stability.

“Our sponsors underpin everything that we do and the Cavalry Club contribute a huge amount, while we can also give job opportunities within the community for young lads.

“It is a huge privilege to be club chairman, even though I never wore the green shirt.”

Club captain Richard Rhodes said: “It has been a good season but we haven’t quite reached our full potential”, adding that Feeley and Skurr had been great additions to the coaching staff and that it was massive that they initially signed on for two seasons.

He also lauded vice-captain George Hedgley, Harry Bullough, Sam Gaudie and Ben Blackwell on the playing front, Rob Baldwin for his “professional touches” off it and Matty Wareing for his unwavering commitment and support.

Director of rugby Baldwin thanked the sponsors, committee, supporters and players, praising Harry Bullough in particular for his intercepting ability, while noting that Bradley Viner (son of former Bradford Salem and Wharfedale stalwart Mark) was one for the future.

Awards went to Ralph Wellock (David Palin Trophy as the most improved player), Jim Bowers (David Foley Trophy for services to the club) and the Development XV (Kath Harrison Trophy for the team with the highest win percentage) after a recount with the Foresters.

Website editor Adrian Parry, who also worked on the club grounds, was presented with a club jacket.

Meanwhile, Elliot Stockton joined the select band of players who had represented all four of the Dalesmen’s teams in the same season.