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Wharfedale has reached the third highest tier in rugby union without giving up its local roots. But how long can it keep it up?

By David Goodhart   May 2011

There aren’t many places in England where you can go to watch your local village team and see some of the highest level of play in the whole country. But the market town of Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales is one.

It is home to Wharfedale rugby club, founded in 1923, which has achieved what so many sports clubs only dream of doing. It is as local and rooted as a village team can be. In the clubhouse hang team photographs stretching back to the 1930s, with the same names cropping up decade after decade: Harrison, Hartley, Rymer, Baker and…

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