FORMER Otley player Mark Luffman has replaced Wharfedale's Jon Feeley as head coach of the Yorkshire senior men's team.

After three seasons in the role, Feeley has stepped down from the role following the birth of twin boys last November.

Feeley said: “After the birth of my twin boys in November, I have taken the decision to step down as head coach of the Yorkshire senior men’s team.

"To lead the team has been my privilege and it has been an honour to work with such a talented group of players from across our great county.

"To lead the coaching team requires a great deal of time and commitment, which is necessary if the players are to reach their potential in the County Championship, which I cannot now give.

"Anything less would not be fair to them, but I leave confident in the knowledge that I have improved the culture and results of the team and they will continue to strengthen under Mark Luffman's excellent guidance.

"We have established a very talented group with high expectations and I have loved every minute of working with them and will miss it greatly.

"I have no doubt that this year's championship, in our 150th year, will be a special one.

"Finally, I would like to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to support the team, from the incredible medical staff to the management, especially team manager Benji Pickin (Bradford & Bingley), a legend of a man.”

Luffman, 48, has stepped up from assistant coach to head coach with immediate effect and has told of his desire to carry on Feeley's great work.

The former Yorkshire Carnegie Academy coach said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Jon as an assistant coach.

"Yorkshire have an exciting group of players, both with experience of previous campaigns but also some new youngsters making their way in the National Leagues.

"I am excited to take up the role of head coach and look forward to working with the other coaches and management team to select a strong squad ahead of the County Championship in Yorkshire’s 150th year.”

Yorkshire start their campaign in the Bill Beaumont County Championship with away matches against Northumberland and Cheshire on Saturdays May 9 and 16, followed by a home match against Lancashire on Saturday, May 23 at Wharfedale.

Former Bradford & Bingley centre Stuart Dixon is the team's new chairman.

He said: "I am honoured to have been offered the position of senior XV chair for this season and am looking forward to working with the coaches, medics and management team in what will be an exciting County Championship during Yorkshire’s 150th year.

"Having been fortunate enough to represent Yorkshire at various age groups and to have also won at Twickenham, I understand fully the prestige and competitive nature of the championship and will do my utmost to support the group in any way possible in order to progress from last season’s performances."

Dixon added: "Rob Baldwin and Dan Cook have done a great job over the last few seasons to support the whole team and build a great culture within the group.

"I hope to carry on and build on that good work with the support of some fantastic Yorkshire clubs in the National Leagues and beyond and look forward to three very challenging County games in our group, particularly hosting Lancashire in our only home game."