Adam Blades is back at Huddersfield Rugby Union Club.
The 35-year-old tight head prop has spent the last seven seasons at Otley and will bring massive experience to Lockwood Park for the National II North campaign.
Blades left Huddersfield at 21 to spend eight seasons with Halifax, where he was a teammate of current Huddersfield head coach Gareth Lewis.
“We are delighted Adam is re-joining the club,” said Lewis of the county representative who played 150 games for Halifax and 180 at Otley.
“He is a proven performer at the level we are going into and will bring valuable experience, professionalism and front-row expertise.
“Adam is excited about the challenge ahead and I’m sure this enthusiasm will be an added boost to the squad as they endure a tough pre-season programme.
“In addition, he will also build our coaching capacity, taking a lead role on the scrummage.”
Blades’ return is the latest tonic for a new-look squad aiming to build on last season’s National III North title success with solidity at the higher level.
And the challenge suits Blades down to the ground.
“I needed a bit of a change and when Gaz (Lewis) put feelers out that he was looking for a bit of experience in the squad it all fell into place,” said Blades.
“I’m looking forward to working with Gaz again because he is a good coach who has put a good squad together and hopefully we are in for quite a good future.
“And fingers crossed there’s the opportunity to do a bit of coaching, too, and bring my experience of numerous years of playing first-team rugby at National level to the younger lads.
“I have experience to pass on, so hopefully it’s a good fit for myself and for the club and the younger lads can get a bit of knowledge from me.
“I enjoy the playing side as well, obviously, and I’m not just coming to see out the last couple of years of my playing career – I’m here to give it a real good shot.”
Huddersfield have a pre-season friendly at home to Pocklington on Saturday, August 26, before starting their National II season at South Leicester the following week, Saturday, September 2.
“It’s a massive step up from National III to National II and, speaking to the lads when Otley beat Huddersfield in the Yorkshire Cup last season, it was probably up front where they fell a bit short in size and experience,” added Blades, who made 17 appearances last term.
“That’s probably another reason Gaz wanted to bring me in, because it’s a big step up and a tough league to play in.
“In the last couple of seasons we’ve had to work very hard to the last couple of games of the season at Otley to secure our status.
“And you never know how teams are going to come through pre-season – some sign a lot of players while some lose a lot of players – and usually in the first few weeks you find out where you are going to be, but it’s tough.
“We will be setting our stall out, first of all, to stay in the league and then to find a decent position, because it’s a long and tough challenge.
“We play tough games week in, week out, and it’s very intense, without a break until Christmas, so it’s important we prepare well and get ready to meet the challenge.
“Gaz has got a good blend in the squad, with some experience and some different types of players and, while there may still be some additions to come, I think it’s shaping up well.”