PRESIDENT John Spencer is confident that Wharfedale's character will help them come out of lockdown better than most other clubs.

Like many community sports, rugby has been hit hard by the crisis with clubhouses shutting and no matchday revenue coming in.

On the pitch, the National 2 North side finished ninth last term after the Rugby Football Union finalised the position of teams in the community game by using a mathematical formula.

This current period is unprecedented for Spencer but if he has learned anything over his 42 years in the role, it is the club's ability to stay strong in tough times.

The club legend thinks the Greens will be able to cope until rugby does return, although he can't see that happening at its usual time.

He said: "I have never seen anything like this before. We have had to do what everyone else has and that is shut up shop.

"Wharfedale has such an intense character that it will take us less time than any other club to get back into shape both mentally and physically. I am not worried about that but I will be relieved when we are back on the field and being competitive.

"I think sadly it won't start on time. The Premiership are talking about having pre season friendlies in August but I think the community game will be later than that.

"It all depends on the scientific and medical advice from the Government who will make the decision. We are not going to argue because the safety of the people concerned is paramount.

"We are very conscious that we are in the middle of a very strong passionate community. We are looking forward to spectators and our players coming back together."

The 72-year-old, who was born in Grassington, started playing at The Avenue in 1964 and went on to captain his country numerous times.

Spencer played for the Greens until he was 42 and says the club will always hold a special place in his heart.

He added: "I have just enjoyed every minute of it. I played in all six teams at one stage.

"Wharfedale rugby club is my life outside my family commitments. Wharfedale has been the spirit of my soul.

"It has been absolutely fantastic to make all the friends I have met there and it continues. A lot of players find it is more difficult to leave the club than join.

"I have seen a lot of changes especially in terms of styles of rugby and commitment to the club. Players tend to wander more between clubs. We are lucky that we don’t get a lot of that.

"I don’t think much has changed over the 55 years. We still have a unique Wharfedale character. It has always been very keen on the core values in the game. Friendship, respect and sportsmanship."

Despite not having a start date yet for the new season, club groundsman Fred Fox has already began work on getting the pitches ready for whenever the 2020/21 campaign does get underway.