KEIGHLEY Cougars have beaten off stiff competition from clubs in both the Championship and League 1 to the signing of Harvey Spence.

The half-back arrives at Cougar Park for the 2022 season on a two-year deal following the expiration of his contract at Featherstone Rovers.

And the 21-year-old enthused: “I’m really happy to have signed for Keighley.

“I’m looking forward to pre-season getting underway and having the opportunity to work with Rhys Lovegrove and the rest of the boys.

“The big goal for this season is promotion and I hope we get it.”

Signed by the Leeds Rhinos for their scholarship system, Spence worked his way up the ranks at Headingley prior to departing at the end of 2020.

Given the chance to play for the Leeds first team in pre-season that year, his fine performances for both Leeds and Featherstone on dual-registration caught the eye of then-Rovers coach James Webster.

Webster acted quickly to secure the half-back’s services on a permanent basis ahead of the 2021 campaign after his time with the Rhinos came to an end.

With chances limited at the Millennium Stadium, Spence moved on loan to Oldham for the second half of the season and became a regular in the side.

He impressed on an individual level, but was unable to help prevent the Roughyeds’ relegation to League 1.

Spence will now be lining up against Oldham in the third tier next season, with Cougars chairman Mick O’Neill MBE beaming: “To be able to beat so many clubs to a player as outstanding as Harvey is all that needs to be said really.

“Harvey has the same ambitions as the club, to develop into the best that we can be and push for promotion to the Championship.

“We are putting together a youth movement in order to build a talented and winning young side that complements the experience of our older end.

“We know as a club that we really need to be fired up both on and off the field this year to achieve our goals.

“We’re doing our part by signing these exciting new players and now we hope the fans will do their part too by coming down in their droves.”