DAVE Duxbury says that his rugby career has come full circle now that he has been appointed as Keighley Rugby Union Club's new head coach.
The 52-year-old, who will be assisted by player-coach James Cunliffe, said: "I used to live at Sandbeds (between Crossflatts and Riddlesden) and played my first game of junior rugby for Keighley when I lived there.
"I was a contemporary of Martin Whitcombe and Neil Scott at Keighley, and we have remained friends ever since."
Duxbury joins Keighley from Skipton, where he has been at the helm for 18 months, taking them to promotion from Yorkshire Division Four this season, as well as reaching the Yorkshire Silver Trophy final.
He has also previously been in charge at West Park Leeds and Baildon, having gained promotion with them both and taken the Jenny Lane side to Twickenham twice.
Lock Cunliffe joins from Bradford Salem, having coached there for two seasons.
He also coaches Yorkshire Carnegie’s successful junior development squad.
Cunliffe used to play for Wharfedale and York RI and has been at Salem since 2012, captaining the side in 2013-14 and 2014-15 – when Salem went undefeated all season, winning promotion to Yorkshire One and lifting the Yorkshire Shield.
Keighley director of rugby Russ Gibson said: “This is an important appointment for the club, following Dan (McGee) and Hamish (Pratt) stepping down.
“We needed a seamless transition into the 2017-18 season, which Dave and James will bring.
"They have wholeheartedly bought into what we are about and are excited about the forthcoming season.
“'Dux’ has enjoyed success throughout his coaching career and his appointment will continue the work over the last two seasons, which is getting the best out of players through development.
“He has experience with playing on a 3G pitch with West Park, which will be invaluable as we transition from grass to an artificial pitch this coming season.
“James will have responsibility for the forwards and will also take on the strength and conditioning role. He is also eager to keep playing and will bring a wealth of experience into the squad.”
Duxbury said: "We could be playing on an artificial pitch one week and be ankle deep in mud the next week, so it is important to develop two styles of play.
"But we need to be be able to handle the ball from one to 15 and learn to attack the space.
"The artificial surface will benefit everyone, even the forwards once they realise that they can get a grip for scrums."
He added: “I see it as great opportunity to work at a club which I know well.
“The club has a strong group both on and off the field, helping with the continued development of local talent.
“We can’t place enough emphasis on the importance of the integration of Keighley’s developing player programme into the senior section to continue this work.”
Cunliffe said: “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Dux and coach at the club that my dad played at.
“The infrastructure, senior playing base, junior set-up and the Keighley DPP system was a massive factor in the decision-making process.
“This is a great, forward-thinking club for me to develop at as a coach and to develop the brand of rugby at Keighley.”
Keighley have a players meeting on June 1 (7pm) at the club. New players are welcome.