KEIGHLEY Cougars can this afternoon confirm the club’s retained list, in conjunction with Rugby Football League deadlines at what is now classed as the official end of the COVID-19 impacted 2020 season.

A total of eight players will depart the club following the expiration of their contracts on the 30th November, with a further player being released from the final year of his deal after agreeing a mutual termination of his contract with the club.

Matthew Bailey heads the list of players not being retained, the former two-time player of the year departing Cougar Park after 9 years with the club, in which time he made 125 appearances for the club.

Former captain Benn Hardcastle also leaves the Cougars after 3 seasons since arriving from Newcastle Thunder prior to the 2018 season. In that time, Hardcastle recorded 434 points for the club in 42 appearances.

Another long serving player to leave the club is Ritchie Hawkyard. ‘Titch’ leaves the club following joining for a second spell ahead of this year. During his four years with the Cougars across two spells, Ritchie scored 36 tries in 65 appearances and was a part of the side that lifted the iPro Sport Cup in Blackpool in 2016.

Macauley Hallett and Will Cooke, who both joined the club prior to the 2019 season from Featherstone and Hunslet respectively, will also be leaving Keighley. ‘Macca’ departs having scored 6 tries in 26 appearances, whilst ‘Cookie’ leaves on the back of 3 tries in 18 games for the club.

Full back Louis Sheriff, who arrived in West Yorkshire midway through last season from Sheffield, leaves after 18 months at Cougar Park having made 11 appearances during his time with the Cougars.

Lewis Wray departs following 17 appearances in an injury hit 2 years at Cougar Park since joining from Wakefield Trinity with Steven Hayes, who was released from the club in March after work commitments caused a change in personal circumstance following a successful trial with the club, also leaving.

The final player to depart the club is Matt Welham. Welham had signed a two-year deal prior to the 2020 season, but the club and player have mutually agreed to terminate the final year of Matt’s contract following a change in personal circumstance outside of the game for the centre.

The Keighley Cougars would like to thank all nine of our departing players for their service to the club and wish them all the best in their future endeavours away from Cougar Park.

Following the five player retention announcements made by the club so far, terms have been offered to a further four players with announcements on their futures to follow in the coming weeks.

These players join the eleven who signed two-year deals prior to the 2020 season, and the five new signings made for the 2021 season to date by Head Coach Rhys Lovegrove.

James ‘Buster’ Feather will be retained by the club but will also join Lovegrove’s coaching and backroom staff ahead of the new season.


RETAINED (CONTRACT EXPIRES 2022): Dalton Desmond-Walker; Kyle Kesik; Dan Parker.

RETAINED (CONTRACT EXPIRES 2021): Mo Agoro; Jordan Aitchison; Jack Coventry; Spencer Darley; Dan Hawksworth; Aaron Levy; Jack Miller; Jason Muranka; Taylor Prell; Alfie Seeley; Ben Stead; Jake Webster; Ryan Wright.


TERMS OFFERED: Jack Arnold; Billy Gaylor; Josh Lynam; Kieran Moran.

PLAYERS TO DEPART UPON EXPIRATION OF CONTRACT (30th NOVEMBER): Matthew Bailey; Will Cooke; Macauley Hallett; Benn Hardcastle; Ritchie Hawkyard; Steven Hayes; Louis Sheriff; Lewis Wray.


By Joshua Chapman