BRADFORD Dudley Hill have appointed Paul Baxter as head coach following the departure of former stalwart Anthony Huby.

Like Huby, Baxter enjoyed a successful playing career at the club and was part of the National Cup final side who just lost out to Ellenborough Rangers in 1997.

With a new committee in place, the Parry Lane club are hopeful his appointment can herald a revival in fortunes following relegation from National Conference League Division One last season.

It is the second time Baxter has held the head coaching position at the club, having taken over from Chris Robinson for the 2008-2009 season.

Baxter said: “When I realised the position was available at Dudley Hill in the National Conference League, I had to look at the opportunity.

"I had been coaching Queensbury open age in the Yorkshire Men's League after being out of the game for over eight years.

"I owe everything I learned as both a player and coach to my mentor Kelvin Lockett.

"Under Kelvin I achieved a lot of personal honours, such as the 1997 cup final and playing for the Irish Wolfhounds. I want Dudley Hill to be recognised as the flagship team in Bradford again, which it has been for many years.

"I believe this will be achieved with the help of chairman Lee O’Connor, his new committee and my coaching staff. We held our first training session on Thursday and there is some great talent within the squad.”

Baxter had to overcome adversity in his playing career. After the 1997 campaign with Hill, Baxter and some team-mates were heading to Whitley Bay for an end of season celebration but were involved in a car crash.

Baxter ended up with two shattered ankles, while another of Hill’s promising young players, Stuart Tighe, lost a leg.

Baxter showed tremendous character to not only retake his place on the rugby field but play in exactly the same fashion as he did previously.

Team manager Steve Wright said: “It is fantastic Paul is back at the club. The last time he coached us he had the enormous task of taking over from club legend Chris Robinson.

"He grabbed the opportunity with two hands and moulded the side to the way he wanted it.

"Getting back on the field after the accident is testimony to his personality and that sort of determination and willingness can only be good for the team as his ideas filter down to the players.

"The club is riding the crest of a wave at the moment. With Lee O’Connor grabbing the reins as chairman, he has rallied a fantastic new committee, who are bouncing impressive ideas off each other that can only take this great club forward.

"Add Paul’s love of the club and coaching class into the mix and it really puts us ready to push to the higher echelons of the amateur game again.

"He has recruited some fantastic talent already but we are always looking to extend the squad.

"So if any players are interested in joining us during these exciting times, feel free to contact us through our improved social media outlets on Twitter and Facebook. Search Bradford Dudley Hill and message us for training times and venues.”

Baxter’s first competitive game in charge of the side will see Dudley Hill face off against local rivals Milford Marlins in the Challenge Cup First Round over the weekend of January 26-27.

Wright said: “We obviously know them very well having met twice last year and quite a few times over recent years. Although we lost both games, the aggregate difference was just 13 points.

"We know their main strength lies with full back Josh Sunley and if we can nullify his threat, we will be confident of progressing.”