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SONICS CHAIRMAN PROMOTES BRISTOL 2013 RL WORLD CUP BID

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole today urged organizers of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup not to pass up the opportunity to award Bristol the right to host matches in the tournament – and boost Rugby League in the South West in the process.
Talking after welcoming members of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup bid inspection team to Bristol City’s Ashton Gate Stadium on Thursday, Cole explained how hosting matches in the tournament would provide a “huge boost” for Rugby League in the city and the wider region.Bristol-born Cole, who helped set-up the South West’s leading community Rugby League club, Bristol Sonics, in 2002, said: “I can’t stress how much of a boost to the game in the region hosting matches in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup would be. Giving Bristol the opportunity to host International Rugby League would leave a lasting legacy and help us boost the game’s profile and, ultimately, get more youngsters playing the game – not just in the city but throughout the South West.”It would mean a huge amount for volunteers and supporters in the South West to be a part of Rugby League’s biggest global tournament. The game has made huge strides in the region in the last decade, but to really kick on and lay down lasting roots we need the opportunity that the 2013 World Cup would provide to engage with both youngsters and sports enthusiasts. To have international teams playing here would be a dream – not just for myself or the Sonics, but for everyone that cares about the sport in the region.”Directly appealing to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup organizing committee, Cole highlighted the great work that has recently been done in the region, which has resulted in a great increase in player numbers and engagement with youngsters in everywhere from Bristol and South Gloucestershire to Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.Cole said: “Over the last 2 years, we’ve seen a huge increase in interest in the sport and, ultimately, player numbers. At the Sonics alone we now have six junior cluster clubs at U14 level, an U16 side, two open-age adult teams and two social touch rugby teams. We’ve also been working with the RFL to offer coaching in schools, and have run two schools competitions in the last six months. We’re not alone, either – junior coaching is now happening in Swindon, Somerset, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Devon. Filton College now runs an elite Rugby League Academy programme for 16 to 18 year-olds. There are also plenty of armed forces sides in the region, and successful student teams at the University of Gloucestershire, Bristol University, Bath University and Exeter University. These are exciting times for the sport. If the 2013 World Cup came to Bristol it would really help move the game forward here.”Cole was among a delegation of Bristol 2013 RL World Cup Host City Bid Team members who welcomed the Rugby Football League’s inspection committee to the city on Thursday. Other partners in the bid team include Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Destination Bristol, Filton College, Westsport, Bristol City FC and Bristol Rovers FC.The 2013 Rugby League World Cup inspection committee will this week visit each city that has bid to host matches in the 2013 tournament, which is being jointly hosted by England and Wales. An announcement on which cities will host matches will be announced in the autumn.

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SONICS LAUNCH ACADEMY UNDER 16s TEAM

Bristol Sonics are launching a Summer 2011 under16s academy team, after being granted support from Wesport through the Sportivate funding programme.Training will be held weekly at Filton College’s WISE campus, Tuesday evenings from 1745h sharp.Games are currently being scheduled with teams from Gloucestershire and the Midlands league.All players welcome. Get involved!Contact:Stafford.lloyd@bristolsonics.com07714264300

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SONICS A TOPPLE LEAGUE LEADERS

The Sonics A team produced a brilliant first half performance to go into the break 16-4 up and survived a concerted second half fight back from the Wiltshire Wyverns to put themselves firmly into the race for the play-offs.

Bristol got the scoring underway after seven minutes, Joe Atwell sprinting 60-metres to touch down. Andy Parsons added the conversion.

Wyverns pressed hard and finally gained their reward when Henry Mitchell powered over for an unconverted try.

Bristol responded positively when James Gross picked his way through the Wyverns’ defence to the posts, Josh Craven adding the extras.

They then had a try disallowed before Billy Head crossed on the stroke of half time.

Fired up after the break, the Wyverns scored first when Chris Bull charged over for an unconverted score but the Sonics hit back through Gross’ second converted by Parsons.

Again the Wyverns responded, Matt Howard going over for the score converted by Ashley Chalk. Wiltshire battled hard to close the gap further but the Sonics kept them out and when Ed Tofts stretched over for Jake Lewis to convert, they led 28-14.

Wyverns crossed with ten minutes left when Rhys Jones caught Bristol napping from close range but a well-worked score from AJ Currey finally put the result beyond doubt two minutes from time.

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SONICS AIM TO SECURE TOP SPOT

BRISTOL Sonics will be bidding to win the Rugby League Conference West Midlands qualifying group when they host Birmingham Bulldogs on Saturday.The Sonics moved two points clear at the top of the group following an impressive 32-24 win over title rivals Leicester Storm at last weekend’s ‘Midlands Magic’ event and can only now be denied top spot by tomorrow’s visitors to Aretians (2.30pm).A victory will guarantee the Sonics a place in the four-team Midlands Premier League, where they will fight for the title and a place at the National Final play-offs in August.The Sonics go into the game in fine fettle after tries from Mike Norman (2), Joel Keen, Dan Evans, Peter Butcher and Josh Sampson, complemented by the accurate kicking of skipper Dom Swann, secured victory over Leicester .”I was pleased with many aspects of our performance last weekend,” said director of coaching Karl Fearnley. “It was great to get a result against a tough, well-drilled side like Leicester . That said, we made life difficult for ourselves in the second half by making a lot of errors and giving away needless penalties.”Meanwhile, Bristol Sonics A travel to face Co-operative Rugby League Conference West of England leaders Wiltshire Wyverns. The Sonics’ second string came agonisinglyclose to overturning the men from Corsham at the start of June, losing a thrilling match 26-28. However, they grabbed their first win a week later away to Oxford Cavaliers and will go into this weekend’s game full of confidence.The weekend of rugby league continues on Sunday with the third of four junior festivals taking place at Southmead RFC. The first games kick-off at 13:00 and, as ever, entrance to all matches is free.

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SONICS WEATHER STORM FIGHTBACK

Bristol Sonics got back to winning ways on Saturday, lighting up the first ever Cooperative Rugby League Conference Midlands Magic event with an impressive first half try blitz and a 32-24 win over fellow title rivals Leicester Storm.The Sonics, who two weeks ago narrowly lost to unbeaten Northampton Demons, hit Leicester with a devastating opening spell of four tries in 20 minutes. Yet a sloppy second half meant Bristol had to dig deep to weather a spirited Storm fightback and hold on to a vital two-points.

On a stormy afternoon of sunshine and heavy showers at Coventry University’s Westwood Heath ground, it was Bristol who started the brighter. The Sonics opened the scoring after just three minutes, centre Joel Keen cutting back inside to touch down between the posts after a fine left-to-right attacking move. Captain Dom Swann added the first of four conversions to ease the Sonics into a 6-0 lead.Leicester found it hard to cope with Bristol’s hard-running and expansive wide play early on, and it was no surprise when the Sonics extended their lead after just 10 minutes. After attacking hard down Leicester’s left, long passes from hooker Harry Marson, Swann and Keen found winger Mike Norman in space. He clinically rounded his opposite number and touched down close to the posts, Swann calmly stroking the conversion between the uprights.
Six minutes later Bristol ripped Leicester’s defence apart on the flanks yet again. This time it was full-back Dan Evans taking advantage of the space created by a pin-point pass from scrum half Tom James. Evans scythed through unopposed on the left to score from 40 metres out.

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SONICS AIM FOR A MAGIC PERFORMANCE

BRISTOL Sonics continue their Rugby League Conference title bid by taking part in the inaugural Midlands Magic event in Coventry on Saturday (3pm).An entire round of fixtures is set to take place in the same venue on one day for the first time, where the Sonics will face Midlands section title-rivals Leicester Storm in the University of Coventry’s Westwood Heath grounds.Sonics director of coaching Karl Fearnley has called for a ‘magic’ performance from his players as they bid to get their title bid back on track after losing for the first time this season in their last match against the Northampton Demons.He said: “The Midlands Magic event is a great format – playing all of the division’s matches in one place on one afternoon is an excellent idea.”It’s also a great opportunity for us to lay down a marker and show the rest of the clubs in this league what we can do. I want to see a magic performance to match the Magic format.”We played well in patches against Northampton, but were also outplayed badly.”If we put in a similar performance against Leicester, we’ll be on the wrong end of a hiding, but if we play how I know we can, we’ll have a great chance of securing the points.”The Sonics dumped the Storm out of the play-offs in their last encounter and skipper Dom Swann added: “They’ve got the motivation to want to beat us and they’ll be tough. Leicester have a strong pack and playing them is an arm wrestle.”If we can win the forward battle, we should be able to score enough points to beat them. After the Northampton game, we need to get back on track – and fast.”Fearnley is set to have full-back James Gross and second-row Joe Coghlan available for selection again.The likes of Andrew Bond, Mike Norman, Peter Butcher, Andre Samura, Matt Douglas and Ryan Hall are all in contention after impressing in the ‘A’ side’s victory over Oxford Cavaliers last weekend.

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JUNIOR PLAYERS GET FIRST TASTE OF RUGBY LEAGUE

Over 50 junior RL players converged on the Brislington Enterprise College on Sunday to take part in the city’s first junior RL tournament for clubs. Following the successful Bristol Schools Tournament at the end of May, players from the Sonics’ six newly formed ‘Cluster Clubs’ were joined by Gloucester Meteors for the ground-breaking Under-14 competition.With a number of players unavailable due to half-term some of the Bristol Clubs merged to make 3 teams –

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BRISTOL BIDS TO BRING INTERNATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE TO THE SOUTH WEST

International Rugby League could return to Bristol after 102 years if the city’s bid to host matches in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup is successful.100 years ago this December, Bristol City FC’s Ashton Gate stadium hosted its first and so far only international Rugby League match – a game between the touring Australian Kangaroos and the West & Wales, which the tourists won 23-3.Now a consortium from Bristol, headed by representatives of the growing local Rugby League community, have declared their intention to bid to host matches in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which is being held in England and Wales.The initiative has come from within the South West Rugby League community, spearheaded by ambitious Bristol Sonics club, and is supported by a wide range of partner businesses, local government agencies and sports organizations in the region.Bristol’s professional football teams, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, are fully behind the plan, with Bristol City’s new stadium and the Memorial Stadium being considered as potential host venues. Filton College has been put forward as a base for a team training camp.Both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council have also joined the bid consortium, alongside the WESPORT Sports Partnership and tourism marketing body, Destination Bristol.The announcement of Bristol’s intention to bid to host matches in the 2013 World Cup comes at a time when Rugby League in the city is enjoying rapid growth and a surge in popularity in schools and local community clubs.The city’s leading Rugby League club, Bristol Sonics, begins its ninth summer season on Saturday, 7thMay. The Sonics will this season run two open-age (adult) teams in the Rugby League Conference, as well as six satellite junior clubs dotted around the city.The Sonics have recently announced details of a pioneering partnership with Filton College. The further education institution recently appointed its first Rugby League Academy Coach, former Oxford University and Harlequins youth coach Dan Garbutt, and is partnering with the Sonics to explore the possibility of a professional team in Bristol within the next five years. Filton is already preparing to host the Kenyan Olympic team in 2012 at its state-of-the-art WISE campus, and the Bristol Academy of Sport is the headquarters of both professional basketball and women’s football.Bristol recently hosted the first Southern Counties Rugby League Championship, and last year staged the European Touch Rugby Finals at Filton College. The Bristol 2013 Rugby League World Cup bid is the next step in an ongoing process of attracting high quality sporting events, and in particular Rugby League events, to the city.’This is a fantastic development for the profile of the game in the South West’,said RFL Regional Manager, Joe Catcheside. ‘We already have a growing number of Bristol schools playing rugby league, and the city has one of the largest Touch Rugby competitions in the UK. Bristol Sonics are the most successful club side in this part of the country, and hosting a World Cup match would be a true reflection of the growth of Rugby League as a local sport in the South West’.Bristol Sonics Chairman and founder member Phil Cole, an enthusiastic supporter of both Bristol City FC and international Rugby League, said: ‘It would be a dream come true for me if Bristol City’s new stadium or even the Memorial Ground hosted matches in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. The sport in the city is growing rapidly, and there’s even talk of a professional club one day. League is a sport that’s on the up in the city, and I’m delighted that the Sonics can play a part in trying to bring the sport’s biggest tournament to Bristol.’This is the first time the RFL has used a formal bid process to determine its host venues for a World Cup, and the evaluation is based upon the levels of support and development activity planned in the prospective host cities, as well as a technical consideration of the facilities available.Although there has been no cost involved in bidding for the Rugby League World Cup, successful cities stand to benefit to the tune of several million pounds through ticket sales and sponsorship, increased inward investment in sports development, and through the tourist spend in hotels, bars, and other local attractions.The evaluation process will begin with a site visit towards the end of this month, followed by a consultation period over the summer. If Bristol is successful, the announcement will be made in autumn, and will signal the start of a programme of events and activities to consolidate and develop rugby of all codes and forms right across the city and its wider region.Bristol City Football Club will be announcing its support for the city’s 2013 Rugby League World Cup bid during its final NPower Championship fixture of the season on Saturday 7 May. Please note that a photo opportunity featuring members of the bid team will take place at half time. Any press/photographers wishing to attend should email Pete Smith at Bristol City FC on pete.smith@bcfc.co.uk