KEIGHLEY Cougars are today delighted to announce Billy Gaylor has agreed a new deal with the club.

Billy extends his stay at Cougar Park by a further season as he signs a one-year contract until the end of the 2022 season.

And this new deal will see the utility forward extend his stay at Keighley for a fifth season after first arriving ahead of 2018 from the then Coventry Bears.

“It was a really easy decision to stay at the club,” admitted Gaylor.

“I’ve had a few years here at Keighley and every year the club continue to improve both on and off the field.

“Despite the disappointing end to the season, last year was by far one of my best seasons personally.

“That’s thanks not only to the coaching staff, but the players and the experienced boys we have in the squad who are willing to help and teach others.

“With the squad we’ve got, and the players signed so far, next season can’t come quick enough.

“I can’t wait to get back out there in front of the Keighley fans and to go one better than last year.”

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.

Returning after the pandemic, the 2021 season would be a real breakthrough year for Gaylor as he recovered from a shoulder injury sustained early in the season to become a mainstay in the team as he moved into the loose forward position.

His defensive capabilities mixed with his passing game and understanding of the systems implemented by the coaching staff saw him become a firm favourite both on and off the field as he commits his future to the club.

By Joshua Chapman