KEIGHLEY Cougars are happy this afternoon to announce Billy Gaylor has agreed the terms offered to him by the club last week.

Billy’s new deal will see the utility remain at Cougar Park for another year, with Gaylor penning a 12-month contract extension that runs until the end of the 2021 season.

Originally joining the club in 2018 on the back of an award-winning season at the Coventry Bears, Billy struggled to break into the side originally and was released from his contract to join amateur side Siddal.

However, with the Cougars entering financial difficulties in the latter part of that season, Gaylor returned to the club to help during our time of need.

His form, which saw him man of the match in the club’s record victory over the West Wales Raiders, and loyalty was rewarded following the takeover of the club as he signed a new deal for the 2019 season.

After initially being part of a rotation system amongst his fellow hooker, Billy cemented a place as a first team regular following the appointment of Rhys Lovegrove and would go on to play both at nine and in the halves occasionally towards the back end of last season.

Before COVID-19 halted the 2020 season in its tracks, Gaylor would again become a regular in the side, mostly in the halves rather than at hooker, and continued to impress under Lovegrove’s stewardship.

After being unlucky to not win the pre-season friendly against the Sheffield Eagles at the death, Billy would feature in both League One games before lockdown.

His form, and ability to adapt to the style of play being implemented by Rhys and his coaching staff, made it an easy decision for the club to offer him a new one-year deal.

Lovegrove said: “Billy is very much a product of the new Cougars system.

“He knows exactly how we are looking to play on the field and will bring us competition both at hooker and in the halves.

“He brings energy, enthusiasm, and a strong desire to learn to the environment we have built here at the club.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him develop further, especially now we have players in the side such as Scott Murrell for Billy to learn from.”

Gaylor added: “I’m really excited to be staying at the club.

“I’m going into my fourth year with the Cougars now and I can tell that the club is really on the rise both on and off the pitch, and it is a really exciting time to be a part of the club.

“I’m hoping to continue to push my game further and learn as much as possible from both Rhys as a coach, and also the new signings we’ve made as they bring a wealth of experience to the side.

“I just can’t wait to get back down to Cougar Park now.

“There’s something about the place when it is bouncing, and hopefully with a bit of luck we will be seeing all the fans back in ground soon. Which is how it should be.”

By Joshua Chapman