COUGARS favourite Ritchie Hawkyard has been granted a 12-month testimonial by the Rugby Football League to begin next year.

‘Titch’, as he is affectionately known, has been granted the honour for making over 200 career appearances for Bradford Bulls, Underbank Rangers, Swinton Lions and Keighley, as well as for his exceptional fundraising efforts for charity.

The full back also has international recognition after earning a sole cap for the Scotland national team in a 2007 friendly against France.

Making his first team debut for the Bulls against the Huddersfield Giants in 2007, Hawkyard left Odsal at the end of the season to join the Swinton Lions and in a nine-year spell with the club helped them earn promotion into the Championship on two occasions, first as champions in 2011 and then as play-off winners in 2015.

He also had a brief spell with the Underbank Rangers in Huddersfield during his time with the Lions, featuring in the 2009 National League Three Play-Off final in Warrington as they fell to defeat at the hands of the Bramley Buffaloes.

Since joining the Cougars in 2016, Hawkyard has become a firm fans favourite and played his part in the 2016 iPro Sport Cup final triumph in Blackpool as they defeated York City Knights.

This season he made a sensational return from an horrific facial injury – suffered after a clash of heads with Hunslet's Jimmy Watson – to help Keighley qualify for the Super Eights.

The exciting full back has an excellent coaching record also, having coached Slaithwaite open age for a decade, Underbank Rangers open age for three years and a sole season in charge of the open age and under-18s side at Sygenta. He also coached Colne Valley High School in the Champions Schools programme.

Away from the field, ‘Titch’ – whose brother Darren played alongside him at three different clubs – has an outstanding record when it comes to fundraising for charities. Each year he organises and hosts an annual tag rugby tournament in the memory of his late father, who passed away after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

The tournament is always a huge success and raises funds for a number of charities, which include Parkinson’s Charity, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Breast Cancer Research, the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund and Alzheimer’s Charity.