ROB Baldwin, Wharfedale's club captain last season, is joining Keighley.

The 32-year-old back-rower will become a major part of the Yorkshire Division One club – he is dropping three divisions – under new head coach Dave Duxbury.

Wharfedale's director of rugby James Doherty said: "I have spoken to Rob and he just felt that he needed a change.

"There is no animosity towards Wharfedale as a club or their coaches and players, but a big factor is that James Cunliffe, who is one of his best mates, is player-coach at Keighley, and it is also handier for Rob in terms of travelling.

"Rob has been an outstanding and loyal servant for Wharfedale and, as such, deserves to choose his own future."

Baldwin told the Keighley club's website: “I'm really excited to be joining Keighley and look forward to playing my part in a team that has huge potential.

"Obviously, there is a real buzz about the place with the installation of the new AGP pitch underway and a new coaching team. I feel the management are taking the right steps for the club to be an even bigger success and I can’t wait to get started.”

Director of Rugby Russ Gibson added: “Rob is a quality addition to our squad and someone who will bring a wealth of experience and professionalism from his time in the National Leagues.

"His leadership will be invaluable both on and off the pitch, which we have already seen pre-season. I’m sure his obvious quality will bolster the team, but also help Dave and his coaching team continue our development."

Baldwin is expected to be the best-known name in a raft of signings by Keighley.

Meanwhile, Alex Brown has been appointed new first-team captain.

Keighley's first friendly at Preston Grasshoppers a week on Friday will be the first chance for the players to get to grips with the global law trials introduced by World Rugby from Tuesday of this week.

They include the ruck, to stop tactics such as those used by Italy in last season's Six Nations, and the scrum, where the scrum half putting the ball in can stand a shoulder width off centre on his own side.