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2012 FIXTURES ANNOUNCED

Bristol Sonics will start their 2012 Conference League 3 campaign by entertaining Kippax Knights on Saturday 21st April 2012. The Knights were 2011 Grand Finalists so the match will provide a good measure of how far the South West’s leading club has come. Sonics Head Coach Karl Fearnley is relishing the start of the season: ‘It’s a tough start but there are no easy games in this division. The match will be a yard-stick against which to measure ourselves but I’m confident that with the pre-season plans we’ve got in place we will be more than competitive.’The regular season concludes on Saturday 1st September 2012 with the Sonics hosting fellow newcomers St Albans Centurions. Playoffs for the top teams will continue through-out September. The full fixture list can be found here. In other news, pre-season training continues to attract record numbers and the club will shortly be announcing dates of trial matches as competition for 1st team squad places intensifies.

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SELECTION STARTS NOW FOR SONICS!

A new year and a new challenge for the Bristol Sonics as the first team steps up to National Level in Conference League 3. With the first fixture announced for 21st April 2012 (last season’s Grand Finalists Kippax Knights at home) the Sonics now have around 2 months to get themselves ready for their most demanding season yet. ‘Most of the current sqaud have been actively training since the start of the year and now is the time to kick on and prepare in earnest for the season’ said Sonics Head Coach Karl Fearnley. ‘But the door is very much open to new players who want to test themselves at this level.”If you want to make your mark on a National stage, even if you’ve never tried league before, then now is the time to put yourself in the frame. To put yourself in contention for a first team squad place you’ll need to come along to one of the pre-season training events and play in one of the trial matches.’ The confirmed dates for the next few weeks of pre-season are shown below (also see below for location details):Thursday 16th Feb: 8-30 until 10pm – Indoor Training (Indoor 3G, Wise Campus, SGS (Formally Filton College ))Sunday 19th Feb: 2pm – The Downs (Water Tower, Durdham Downs)Thursday 23rd Feb: 8-30pm – Indoor Training (Indoor 3G, Wise Campus, SGS)Sunday 26th Feb: 2pm – Indoor Training (Indoor 3G, Wise Campus, SGS)Thursday 1st Feb: 8-30pm – Indoor Training (Indoor 3G, Wise Campus, SGS)Sunday 4th March: Trial Game ( Bristol – location tbc)Further dates will be announced in due course including a second trial game. The first team squad will be announced in mid March, following this second trial game to enable player kit to be ordered.First Team Player BenefitsAccess to the best coaching team in the SW (including Leeds Rhinos Staff)Free Away travelDedicated player performance plans Use of the SGS WISE Campus GymDiscounted kit package (bag, t-shirt, polo, hoodie, tracksuit bottoms, vest)For more information please contact Karl Fearnley – Head Coach – karl.fearnley@bristolsonics.com / 07884 315237

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SONICS SIGN OFF WITH A WIN

Bristol Sonics produced an impressive second half performance to overcome battling St Albans Centurions 24-18 and end their first Conference League 3 season on a high.The Sonics were below par by recent standards, and had to produce a “purple patch” midway through the second period to finally put away a gutsy St Albans side who were struggling with injuries,The win was Bristol’s fifth in six outings, a run that has seen them move off the foot of the table and finish three points short of the play-off places.It was a win they really had to battle to achieve. St Albans were the better of the two sides in the first half, and were arguably unlucky to be behind at half time. Although there wasn’t much in it, Bristol found it hard to find any fluency and were guilty of giving away too many cheap penalties. Thankfully, they did enough to stay in the game and brilliantly moved through the gears in the second half.The visitors had far the better of the early exchanges, completing their attacking sets and defending stoutly. Bristol, on the other hand, failed to complete any of their first three sets of six, dropping the ball while trying to attack in their own half. It wasn’t long before St Albans took advantage, full back Alessandro Ricci diving over wide out following a right-to-left passing move. Gareth Waters added the first of three successful conversions to put the Centurions 6-0 ahead.Bristol looked sluggish and lethargic, but were soon back in the game. On 15 minutes they worked their way into the St Albans’ 20 and forced a goal line drop out, skipper Dom Swann just inches away from touching down his own grubber kick. From the resulting set of six, Rob Verber strolled in on the left after good work from Swann and hooker Joe McKenna.St Albans’ livewire hooker Ryan Kambouris went close to scoring on 22 minutes, before a penalty for crossing allowed the Sonics to work their way down field and create the space for Tom Verber to storm through some weak tackles and touch down following a 40 metre break. Swann’s conversion made it 10-6 to the home side.Despite taking the lead, Bristol still weren’t themselves and continued to invite pressure thanks to needless penalties and simple errors. It wasn’t too much of a shock when St Albans regained the lead on 31 minutes. The Sonics defence looked vulnerable to the inside pass all day, and it was a switch play that created the room for prop Dylan Rampling to barge over from 10 yards out.

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CONFIDENT SONICS GUNNING FOR STAGS

Bristol Sonics captain Dom Swann says his side as “full of confidence” ahead of this Saturday’s tough Conference League 3 clash with title chasing Hemel Stags.The Sonics go into the match against table-toppers Hemel at Clifton RFC (2.30pm kick-off) on the back of two remarkable wins against Nottingham Outlaws and Bramley Buffaloes – their first victories of a difficult first season in amateur Rugby League’s national leagues.Having lost their first 11 matches of the season, some by deflating scorelines, Bristol have constantly improved over recent weeks and finally recorded their first win two weeks ago, grinding out a well deserved 30-14 victory over Nottingham at Aretians. Last Sunday things got even better for the Sonics, as they recovered from 22-6 down early in the second half to grab an unlikely 28-22 win at Bramley Buffaloes thanks to a long range try in the dying seconds from young winger Mike Norman.Now Bristol will look to back up their thrilling victories with an unlikely win over Hemel Stags, a team who next season will line up in Rugby League’s Championship 1, the game’s lowest professional division. Having endured a torrid time at Hemel earlier in the season, the Sonics will be keen to show the Stags just how much they’ve improved in recent weeks.Sonics captain Dom Swann believes his side have what it takes to pose Hemel a few problems. He said: “There’s a real buzz around the squad right now – we’re full of confidence after those wins. A few people have been asking a few questions about whether we’re good enough to play in this league, but the way we’ve played over the last month shows that we’re a match for anyone on our day. We know Hemel are a fantastic team, full of guys who next year will be semi-professional, so we’re up against it. Even if we don’t win, it should be a much better game.”Hemel come into the game on the back of a surprise defeat to Coventry Bears, and will be keen to bounce back straight away in order to keep their title bid on track. But Swann remains confident: “One of the best things about our performances in recent weeks has been our intensity. Against Nottingham and Bramley we had to dig deep and put in a real defensive shift. We did that and got the results. If we do that again, Saturday’s game will be closer than many people are predicting.”Bristol Sonics play Hemel Stags at Clifton RFC, Cribbs Causeway, on Saturday 4 August, kick-off 2.30pm.Meanwhile Sonics A travel to Somerset in a match that will decide which team grabs a home playoff spot. Both teams plus Oxford Cavaliers are level on 8 points and the Sonics could yet sneak the top spot if results go their way.