More than 100 youngsters were put through their paces by Cougars coach Paul March and members of his first-team squad last Saturday.

Despite the winter weather, Keighley Albion Juniors players turned out in force for a special training session at University Academy Keighley.

The event was the first of several link-ups planned for the season as Cougars look to strengthen their junior rugby ties in the town.

Homegrown first-teamers James Feather and Josh Lynam were among those who oversaw skills sessions for youngsters aged bet-ween six and 16.

Albion secretary John Normington said: “We really appreciated Paul and his Cougars team coming down to coach and the kids loved it.

“I have been involved with amateur rugby league for a long time and this is probably the best ever engagement we have had from Cougars for the last 20 or 30 years from an Albion perspective.

“It was started by Jason Demetriou and now Paul is really building on it. He is massively into junior rugby and (chairman) Gary Fawcett is also right behind it.

“I know that Cougars also have a really good schools programme.”

Saturday’s session was held to kick-start Albion’s season, which starts in March.

The club plan further fun days with the Cougars when they are promoting a ‘bring a friend’ theme to encourage existing players to bring others to try the game.

And from April, Cougars are set to provide monthly coaching sessions for Albion players aged 12 and above, allowing March and his team to spot any potential talents of the future.

It is all part of a plan to establish a clear pathway for young, local players to realise their full potential at rugby league.

Included in the pathway is a Craven College course for 16 to 18 year-olds providing studies alongside rugby league training and playing.

Since starting seven seasons ago, Keighley Albion Juniors have grown from half a dozen kids to approximately 160 across nine age groups.

The club are looking to further increase the number of age groups by at least another two next year, with numbers expected to hit 200 in the next two years.

* Keighley Albion under-nines got their season underway with a friendly against Odsal Sedbergh.

Odsal showed up in numbers and Keighley had to work extremely hard for every try, playing some great rugby to break through.

Try-scorers were Lucas Evans (3), Jake Bartlam (2) and Robson Weir but tired legs took their toll on Albion as Odsal triumphed.