Long-serving Kells’ coach Peter Smith is stepping aside after almost 20 years in the job.

Smith will take a new role at the club, overseeing it’s development and the position of coach will be advertised.

He said: "It’s something I have been thinking about because the time was right. I was beginning to get sick of the sound of my own voice.

“It’s been a poor year really, although we survived in the Premier Division of the Conference on the final day. We have had injuries, suspensions and I think certain attitudes haven’t been right at times.

"Nothing is set in stone but we will be having a meeting to decide just what my role will entail. It will be to focus on the development of the club through all the age groups.

“I believe the position of first-team coach will be advertised and the committee would like me to sit on the panel which chooses my successor.”

Smith had been assistant coach to Gary Hetherington at Kells for two years, before taking over in 2001, but he was also working at Whitehaven as assistant coach and originally had to ask Paul Cullen if he could take the two jobs.

After success in the Iggesund Cumberland ARL, Smith guided Kells through the divisions of the National Conference to the top flight and they have been members of the Premier Division for the last three years.

They have also had numerous Challenge Cup battles while Smith has been in charge with semi-professional opposition including Batley, Hunslet, Halifax and Rochdale. More recently, they put in a great performance in defeat against the Toronto Wolfpack.

Kells run two open-age sides – in the National Conference and Iggesund Cumberland ARL – as well as junior sides from Under-6s through to Under-16s.