KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced the signing of Chris Cullimore ahead of the 2022 season.

‘Culli’ joins the Cougars on a one-year deal from League 1 rivals Midlands Hurricanes, known as Coventry Bears until earlier this month.

And the hooker is no stranger to Cougar Park, as he returns to the club for what will be his third career spell in Keighley colours.

“When the opportunity of re-joining the club came about, I jumped at the opportunity,” admitted Cullimore.

“The club is fantastic, and (head coach) Rhys (Lovegrove) plays a great style of rugby.

“In my time away from the club I feel I have progressed within some areas of my game and I’m looking forward to applying this with the talented team that Rhys has already put together.

“Continuing my development alongside the competitive challenge for playing positions was a big factor in my decision to re-join the club, as well as the great people involved with the club and their aspirations for the team, which is something I am excited to be a part of.

“I’m looking forward to what will be a huge season for the club, both on and off the field, in their push for promotion.”

A product of the Huddersfield Giants academy system, Cullimore first joined the Cougars ahead of the 2016 season as a member of the reserves team.

His impressive performances that season saw the hooker loaned out to Oxford RL, where he made his professional debut.

Cullimore caught the eye during that loan spell and departed Cougar Park to sign with the Halifax Panthers for the 2017 season.

He was at The Shay for 18 months, appearing once in a Challenge Cup victory over Hunslet, but spent most of his time at the Panthers out on loan at the West Wales Raiders and Hemel Stags before returning to the Cougars midway through 2018.

Initially joining on loan to aid the club through its financial woes at the time, Cullimore debuted for Keighley in a 32-16 away victory against Hemel in July of that year and went on to make a further five appearances at the back end of that season.

Opting to join the club permanently for the 2019 season, he became a regular in the side following the appointment of Lovegrove, taking his record for the club in that time to three tries in 18 appearances.

But the Cougars head coach decided the hooker needed to develop in an environment where he would be guaranteed game time.

And that development came during a two-year spell with the then Coventry Bears, as he featured on a weekly basis under Richard Squires.

His performances in the Midlands saw Cullimore catch the eye, as the now Hurricanes made a push for the League 1 play-offs, and this prompted Lovegrove into bringing him back north to Cougar Park.