KEIGHLEY Cougars will be running a women's team from the start of the 2020 season following the re-branding of Keighley Albion Ladies.

The Keighley Albion Ladies team, promoted this season as League One champions, will re-brand as Keighley Cougars Ladies and compete in the Championship. They will also play their home games at Cougar Park.

Cougars director Tim Wood explained that it had always been the intention of the new regime to run a women's team to run alongside the men.

He said: "With the huge growth taking place in girls' and women's sport generally and in rugby in particular, we wanted to give the opportunity to local women to play the sport at the highest level possible.

"This was part of the thinking behind having to reduce use of the ground by other sports."

The club was pleased to be approached by the Albion Ladies team looking for the support of a professional club.

Sarah Lancaster, Cougars Ladies team manager, said: "We have a talented team with a great mix of experienced and younger players that won promotion from League One to the Championship in the 2019 season.

"We want to push on and help the players reach their potential and ultimately play in the Women's Super League.

"One of the criteria is that we are branded as and supported by a professional club.

"We welcome the support both on and off the field that the Cougars offer as we aim to push on to the next level in 2020."

"We also aim to retain positive links with Keighley Albion and I hope to run a Keighley Albion women's side in the Women's Amateur Rugby League Winter League.

"We see this winter team as comprising some of the younger players from the Cougars Ladies as well as girls coming through college, schools and junior rugby into open age for the first time."

Mick O'Neill, Cougars chairman, added: "We are delighted to welcome the ladies team to Cougar Park to run alongside the men.

"We hope both teams, the men and the women, achieve success in 2020 and we will do everything we can to support the women's game in the Keighley area."

Keighley Cougars Ladies welcome new players looking to join an ambitious and professionally supported team and will be holding an open trial starting at 7pm on Wednesday, December 4 at Cougar Park.

All are welcome, just turn up with your kit or, for more information, telephone the Keighley Cougars Ladies' Team Manager, Sarah Lancaster, on 07779 660945.