The current Kells Amateur Rugby League Club can trace its origins back to 1931. Legend has it that the team's after-match washing facilities consisted of buckets of water in the back yard of East Row overlooking the field. These rather spartan arrangements were dramatically improved when the club obtained the use of Haig Pit baths and from that time a bond was secured between club and Mine, which continued unbroken until the closure of the Colliery.
The club made an inauspicious start, and did not achieve any notable successes during the 1930's - in fact the club ceased to function when it was disbanded for the duration of World War one. On the cessation of hostilities, Kells Centre Amateur Rugby League Club was reformed and immediately achieved success. On February 3, 1946 Kells were drawn against the mighty 'wires' of Warrington in a Rugby League Challenge Cup First Round tie. The early rounds in those days were two-legged affairs and in the first match played at the Recreation Ground Kells lost by the narrowest of margins - 3-0. In the return game at Wilderspool they lost the game 27-0, but won the respect of their professional hosts. Featuring in the team of that era were Buchannan and Proud brothers, Bob McFarlane, the father of 'Spanky' McFarlane of Workington Town, Whitehaven and Cumberland fame and Jack Graham who became Whitehaven's first local professional when they entered the Northern Rugby Football League.
With the advent of a professional club in Whitehaven, many Kells players graduated to the paid ranks. Billy Garrett however, was the first to gain professional international honours. Another prop-forward - Bill McAlone was regarded as one of the best un-capped forward of his era. Later there was John Tembey who represented Gt. Britain at Test level. In the late fifties Kells again reached the first round of the Rugby League Challenge Cup, drawing the powerful Hunslet side at Parkside. Though losing 55-9, Kells had a side packed with names who would progress, and shine in the professional game - Eddie Brennan, the late Matt McLeod, Ray Devlin and the exquisite Philip Kitchin who also represented Great Britain in Test match football.
Into the sixties and the Kells conveyor belt continued to deliver great players; Paul Charlton, Eddie Bowman, Tommy Thompson, John McFarlane and Harold McCourt to name but an handful. In 1965 Kells again qualified for a place in the Challenge Cup, but due to a mix-up were not registered at Rugby League Headquarters at Chapletown Road and were exempt from the draw.
With the advent of the seventies the amateur game experienced something of a decline. Kells however, remained a force in Cumberland Rugby League circles and produced three gems in the shape of 'Boxer' Walker, Derek McMillan and Johnny Jones who all signed for Workington Town. While Barry Smith who later returned as coach, was making the Whitehaven No 7 jersey his own. Towards the end of the seventies Kells made two important developments which in retrospect perhaps account for their pre-eminence today. In 1979 they opened their own Club House and Changing Rooms thereby breaking their long-established links with Haig Colliery. Around this time there was a boom in Youth Rugby League and Kells under the guidance of Paul Charlton, Phil Kitchin and Alec Bowman set up teams in the under 11, 13 and 15 age groups which was to reap rich rewards in the following years.
The Eighties saw this youth policy starting to pay dividends as Kells Under-19s appeared in two consecutive BARLA National Cup Finals. Unfortunately success eluded them on both occasions. However, the die had been cast and several of those players - Gary Hetherington, Brian Tomlinson and Frank Johnston all moved into the professional game at Whitehaven. Kells enjoyed tremendous success during 1981-82 with the senior side and 'A' teams both winning the championship titles of their respective divisions with only one defeat between them! They also picked up the Slalom County Cup (beating Egremont Rangers 12-3) and Amateur Cup (18-9 against Wath Brow Hornets and runners-up in the Cumberland Cup (losing 8-15 to Maryport). The following season the Top-Four Trophy was taken 12-8 against Lowca the Slalom County Cup was retained 15-11 against Hensingham, while the Cumberland Cup was surrended 10-13 to Wath Brow Hornets. The decade saw Kells achieve greater success with another two appearances in the Rugby League Challenge Cup. In 1986 they lost narrowly to Hunslet at Elland Road, while twelve months later drew 4-4 with Fulham at the Recreation Ground before losing the replay at Chiswick. These games however, enhanced the reputation of the Kells club and indeed the amateur game as a whole.
While the nineties have perhaps not been as productive as the club would have wished, they made a positive start to the new millennium with a pre-season nines competition victory.