RICHIE Hawkyard has left Keighley Cougars to join Oldham Roughyeds, saying it was time to move on.

Hawkyard, 32, formerly of Bradford Bulls and Swinton Lions, has arrived at the Vestacare Stadium, having left Keighley and chosen to sign for the fellow Betfred League One side.

The full-back is a nephew of Colin Hawkyard, an all-action second-row man and fans’ favourite, who played 189 games for Oldham in a 10-year Watersheddings career spanning the 1970s and 80s.

Richie Hawkyard said: “I’ve always had a soft spot for Oldham, ever since my dad took me over to train with them when I was a kid.

“Keighley wanted me to stay with them, but there was a lot of uncertainty about the club’s financial future. They promised me a testimonial for all my years in the game but I decided it was time to move on.

“A few clubs spoke to me, but Oldham suited me best and I thought it was time to finally become a second Hawkyard at the club.

“I know I’m getting on a bit, but I’ve always looked after myself and I still feel very comfortable in training and when playing. That won’t be an issue.

“If I was going to retire I would have done it after the injury, but it’s a season and a half since I did it.

“I’ve played a lot of rugby since and I plan to play a lot more.”

Hawkyard coached amateur side Slaithwaite for several seasons while playing at Swinton and it was there that he coached Luke Nelmes, now a team mate at the Vestacare.

He spent three years as a youngster in the Bradford Bulls academy side and played three Super League games in 2007 before moving to Swinton.

In nine seasons with the Lions he scored 44 tries in 159 games before moving to Keighley for the start of the 2016 season.

With 15 tries, he was the Cougars top try scorer in his first season.

His second season, 2017, was marred by a horrific facial injury but he still scored seven tries in 17 games despite surgery to correct a broken jaw, broken cheekbone and smashed-up eye socket.

He bounced back in 2018 to miss only a few games and to earn the respect of his peers, coaching staff and fans to the extent that he walked off with the club’s Man of Steel award, players’ player-of-the-year award and supporters’ player-of-the-year award.

Oldham coach Scott Naylor said: “I’ve always admired Richie and I’ve tried to sign him a couple of times before. I like the way he plays.

“He will definitely improve us as a team and as a back division. He is vastly experienced.

“I’ve always seen him as a full-back but I’ve no doubt he can play other positions too. He’ll give us options, but his main position is full-back.”