Keighley Cougars made history last Thursday as they officially launched their women's and girls' pathways programme, marking a significant milestone for the club.

With nearly 30 enthusiastic attendees present, the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead, with a second session to be held tonight at Silsden Rugby Club.

The highlight of the event last Thursday was the announcement of Darren Collins as the head coach, a seasoned professional with experience nurturing talent at clubs like Bradford Bulls and Featherstone Rovers and their talent pathways.

Collins' expertise and passion for the game promise to be instrumental in shaping the future of women's and girls' rugby at Keighley Cougars.

His appointment signifies the club's commitment to fostering talent and providing opportunities for aspiring female players to thrive in the sport.

The ambition is clear for Cougars, and that is to field a competitive women's rugby team within the competitive league structure by 2025, while having age groups below to support the pathway.

For more background on the programme, please follow the embedded link.

Steve Watkinson, chief operating officer at the Cougars, said: "With our new stand boasting dedicated women's changing rooms, we're equipped to host double-header games alongside the men's team, fostering inclusivity and equal support for all players.

“Led by Darren Collins and supported by passionate volunteers, we're committed to showcasing the talent of our local female athletes and promoting gender equality in sport.

“This innovative approach not only elevates women's rugby in the district but also enhances the matchday experience for fans, uniting our community in celebration of rugby league in all its diversity."

As the program kicks off, Keighley Cougars extend a warm invitation to individuals interested in volunteering.

Whether it's serving as assistant coaches, gameday staff, or team managers, there are various roles available for those eager to contribute to the success of the women's and girls' pathways initiative.

Volunteering offers a rewarding opportunity to be part of a vibrant community and make a difference in the development of rugby league in Keighley.

If you are interested in volunteering, please email

In a closing statement, Cougars said: “With the support of dedicated volunteers and under the guidance of Darren Collins, Keighley Cougars are poised to make waves in women's and girls' rugby, inspiring a new generation of players and fans alike.

“Join us on this exciting journey as we embark on a path towards excellence and inclusivity in sport.”