James Feather has spoken of his delight after being awarded a testimonial by the Rugby Football League following his long association with Cougars.
The long-serving hooker and captain, 28, has been contracted to his home-town club since the age of 19 and skippered them to Grand Final wins in 2009 and 2011.
Feather, nicknamed ‘Buster’, applied to the RFL for the testimonial for his service to Cougars and work in the local community, which has included visiting sch-ools and promoting the club in Keighley.
His testimonial year is set to begin in March, with a possible match against a Super League side or Feather’s old amateur club, Keighley Albion (now merged with Keighley Town) lined up.
A number of sporting activities will also be arranged and could include local sports clubs such as Keighley Cricket Club, Keighley Amateur Boxing Club, Silsden Football Club and Keighley Golf Club.
Feather, who works as a bricklayer and lives in Ingrow, said: “I applied to the RFL for the testimonial and was delighted when they accepted my application.
“I’ve been at the Cougars from such a young age and have helped to promote the club in and around the town by going into schools and other events at weekends.
“The club means a lot to me and that’s why I’ve been here for so long.
“I’m a Keighley lad, I live a mile and a half from the ground and I love playing for them.”
Feather cites former Cougars boss Barry Eaton as the best coach he has played for and revealed how their relationship raised the prospect of him being handed an opportunity in Super League with Crusaders.
The Welsh outfit have since dropped out of the top flight, owing to financial problems but Feather is understood to have been on their radar.
He explained: “There were rumours of me going to Crusaders when Barry was working there on the coaching staff.
“But I’ve no regrets about not playing in Super League because I’ve enjoyed it here so much.
“Barry Eaton was the best coach I’ve played for, without a shadow of doubt.
“Every year I’ve been at the club we’ve made progress, barring the season when we had financial problems and the RFL docked us points for going into administration.
“I’m proud to have played in two Grand Finals and won them both, particularly in 2011 when we beat Workington convincingly.
“JD (Jason Demetrio) had come in and taken the club forward and I think Paul March can continue his good work now.”
Cougars were heavily beaten in their first pre-season friendly against Halifax on Boxing Day but have the chance to make amends at Barrow on Sunday (2pm).
Feather added: “Marchy has inherited a good team. There are a lot of good local lads and he’s recruited well by bringing in the likes of Scott Leatherbarrow, Ross Peltier and Paul White.
“Our aim is to improve on last year and see where that takes us.”