Bristol will have its first representatives in the Carnegie National Champion Schools Rugby League competition, as Bristol Brunel Academy (pictured) and St Mary Ratcliffe Temple (below in action against BBA) progressed into the Regional Finals this week. Over 80 children took part in the WESPORT area competition, held at Aretians RFC, the home ground of the Bristol Sonics Rugby League Club.
Club officials and Rugby League Community Coaches were on hand to put the young players through their paces. These are exciting times for Rugby League in the South West, with Bristol City Council considering a bid to host a match in the 2013 World Cup, and the Sonics preparing to announce an exciting junior initiative for the summer. Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos will travel to Bristol to take on South West Students, coached by Karl Fearnley and Dom Swann, at Filton College on 27th February.
BBA and SMRT will go to the regional festival at North Petherton on 15th February, where they will face schools from Devon and Gloucestershire. The Carnegie National Champion Schools Rugby League competition is the largest rugby league knockout competition in the world, with its Year 7 boys final taking place at Wembley Stadium as the curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final. The regional winners will be just four games away from taking centre stage at the National Stadium in August.
Schools Rugby League teams from Bristol will take their first steps on the “road to Wembley” this Monday (January 24) at the city finals of the nation-wide Carnegie Champion Schools competition.
Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10 teams from St Mary Redcliffe Temple School, Brunel Adacemy in Speedwell and the City Academy, Easton, will battle it out at Aretians RFC, Little Stoke, with places in the South West regional finals of Rugby League’s largest national competition up for grabs. It will be the first time schools teams from Bristol have competed in the Carnegie Champion Schools competition, which culminates in a “finals day” at Wembley before the prestigious Carnegie Challenge Cup Final in August.
Carnegie Champion Schools is the world’s largest knockout Rugby League tournament. Every year, nearly 2000 secondary schools teams
Both of the Sonics’ Open Age teams will take to the pitch against old rivals this weekend as the first team travel to Telford Raiders whilst the ‘A’ team host the Oxford Cavaliers. Both teams will be hoping to repeat the results of the reverse fixtures earlier in the season which brought satisfying victories for the Bristol men.It’s a case of first vs second in the Midlands West Qualifying group which the Sonics’ first team have topped from day one. The two teams have enjoyed some close contests over the years although it was a fairly one-sided affair last time the teams met with the Sonics racking up ten tries against a youthful Telford team at Aretians in May.However, the Raiders will be full of confidence following a convincing victory over the Leamington Royals last week.Head Coach Karl Fearnley has asked his side to put in an 80-minute performance on Saturday: ‘At this stage in the season it’s about building some consistency and working to our structure for the full game, which we’ve not managed yet. We performed well when we last met the Raiders but they made us work hard for our tries, and caused us quite a few problems when they attacked so know we’re in for tough game at their place. They lacked a bit of experience earlier in the season but they will have improved considerably.There is pressure on everyone’s place in the side at the moment so the players will need to perform if they want to be involved in the big games coming up.’At the same time the Sonics’ A team will be welcoming Oxford Cavaliers to Aretians. The Sonics’ second team have enjoyed some good form since notching up their first ever Rugby League Conference West Of England division victory – a thoroughly satisfying 36-22 win against the Cavaliers in Oxford last month. Another win this week will close the gap on 2nd placed Wiltshre Wyverns to just one point.Both games kick-off at 14:30 and entrance is free. Players and spectators travelling to Telford should meet at Aretians for 11:00. If you can’t make it to the games don’t forget you can follow live score updates on twitter.
With the first games for the 1st and 2nd teams just less than a week away training switches to its regular time of 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Tuesday 3rd May. The sessions will be at Filton College WISE Campus (BS34 8LP) and players are asked to be there ready to start at 7pm.
Its never to late to the join the club so new players are encouraged to come along. We may be training on grass or 3G astroturf so moulded boots are recommended.
Head Coach Karl Fearnley urged all players to make it to training this week: “We’ve had good numbers during pre-season including a host of new players which bodes well for the 1st and 2nd team squads. We now need to get all these guys together so we can get maximum value from the sessions and this week will be crucial as we prepare for the first weekend of games. Places are up for grabs in both squads so players need to get themselves in front of the coaches this week to stake their claim. “
The South West Counties Rugby League Championship comes to Bristol on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 2011 and several Sonics players will be on show. Teams representing Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire, Somerset & Dorset, and Wiltshire will be competing for the title at Aretians RFC.Most of the Sonics players will be representing Gloucestershire with the county squad being drawn together from Bristol and Gloucester’s clubs and universities. Sonics captain Dom Swann will also be turning out for Cornwall. The action starts at 13:30, entrance is free.