IT'S a sporting story right out of the Rocky movie mould.

In just two weeks, Ella Town went from throwing around a rugby league ball for the first time during a family picnic in Greenwich Park, to becoming the youngest player in a senior ladies competition in rugby league history when she made her debut for Keighley Albion Ladies on her 16th birthday.

But it wasn't a winning start for her, as her side crashed to a 36-16 defeat against Hull KR at Craven Park, but remain top of League One.

The teenager, who is studying for her GCSEs next summer, showed no signs before of playing the sport, instead opting to take up hockey.

Her proud father, Paul Town, 50, says the Bradford Grammar School student is already hooked on rugby league and may look to forge a career in the sport in the future.

He said: "It's a bit of a strange one, a shot in the dark.

"It happened three weeks ago, we were down in London visiting relatives. One of Ella's relatives brought a rugby ball to the picnic and she started throwing it around.

"Then we came back and I took her down to training at Keighley Albion.

"She just said she wanted to do it. It was a big stage for her first game, at Hull KR, making her debut on her 16th birthday.

"She is really excited by it all. She is really up for it. I was twice as nervous as she was when she made her debut. She took it all in her stride.

"She has really good hands. I was thinking 'where has that come from?' We don't see her as making history.

"It's early days. She has started at a really young age. She has quite a lot of power in her. I was tackling her in the park and I said to her 'run at me as hard as you can' and she bruised me.

"She has to enjoy it first and foremost. There is a bigger stage out there for ladies rugby league now. If it comes, it comes in the future."

Paul says taking up the sport at Albion, making her debut in the clash on September 15, has also put a spring in her step.

He added: "She is really buzzing about the Keighley club. She is more vocal.

"We will get her in the gym during the winter and build her up a bit more."

There are other sporting connections for Paul as his passion, particularly for football and rugby league, has led to a picture perfect business.

He runs Stadium Portraits, where he has painted a host of Britain's greatest grounds from Exeter City to Aberdeen and virtually every team in between.

Paul, a Bradford City season ticket holder, has also captured his beloved Valley Parade on canvas.

He is also a fan of rugby league, but has swapped following Super League Leeds Rhinos for Betfred League One's Keighley Cougars. He is currently working on a portrait of their Cougar Park home.

Paul, of Baildon, said: "I follow Cougars. I got hooked on it really. I watched Leeds before, but my love for the game has come back watching Cougars."

He says his love of art and sport have combined well for him and proved popular in Britain and beyond.

He added: "I have gone back into construction, but gave it up for four years as I was so busy. The two were running alongside each other.

"It's gone global. I have clients all around the world. I know someone who has 10 of my paintings in his house in Arkansaw.

"I have an exhibition of my work at Hampden Park in December. My work goes down well in Scotland. I can go to a bar in Edinburgh and people will tap me on the shoulder and talk about my paintings. I have kept away from publishing and galleries. I want it to be specialist and bespoke to the fans really.

"I'm working on paintings of Halifax RL and Wolverhampton Wanderers. It just evolves. If I have got something in my mind that I want to paint, I just paint it."