KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced that Billy Gaylor has agreed a new deal with the club.

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

And this new deal will see the utility forward play 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 campaign, 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 we’ve 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 Coventry, Gaylor 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 their time of need.

His form, which saw him named 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 among his fellow hookers, Gaylor cemented a place as a first team regular following the appointment of Rhys Lovegrove and went on to play both at nine and in the halves occasionally towards the back end of that season.

Before Covid-19 halted the 2020 season in its tracks, Gaylor again became 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, when his drop goal attempt hit the upright, Gaylor featured in both League 1 games before lockdown.

Returning after the pandemic, 2021 was 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, after moving 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 now commits his immediate future to the club.