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SONICS AIM FOR DOUBLE DELIGHT

Bristol Sonics will be aiming to serve up a pair of wins at Aretians this Saturday, as they return to their regular home for a special Jubilee weekend Rugby League double-header.Both the Sonics first and second teams will be in action, with the matches taking place “back to back”, allowing fans the chance to enjoy a whole afternoon of Rugby League for free.And in both games, the Sonics will be taking on familiar old foes.First, Bristol Sonics A – the club’s second team – host Oxford Cavaliers (kick-off 13.00), a team the Sonics first faced nearly 10 years ago. On the occasion, the Cavaliers won by a landslide, but since then the Sonics have enjoyed the spoils more times than not. Sonics A coach Aran Simm will be keen to get his side back on track after a controversial narrow loss to bitter local rivals Swindon St George a fortnight ago.Aran Simm said: “The last result was very disappointing, because it’s a game we could, and should, have won. At half time we had it won, then we lost our discipline in the second half in the face of strong provocation. There’s no excuse. On Saturday I’m expecting the lads to bounce back with a win. Oxford are a decent team, though, so it won’t be easy by any means.”The second game of the afternoon is the headline event – a first appearance at Aretians this year by the Sonics’ first team, who now play in Conference League 3. Bristol take on old rivals Coventry Bears, who pipped them to the RLC Midlands Premier title in August 2010. Saturday’s match will be the first clash between the sides since the Bears won the Midlands Premier Grand Final in golden point extra time.The Sonics have yet to win yet in Conference League 3, but Head Coach Karl Fearnley hopes to change that record on Saturday. He said: “Every single week we’ve improved, and I don’t think a win is that far off. We got ourselves in a position to win last time out against South Wales, but lacked confidence and couldn’t quite get the win. Coventry are a quality side and I’m expecting a very tough game. If we do things right we can pick up our first win. The lads are all pumped up to put on a show.Fearnley is likely to be able to name his strongest side this season, as a host of familiar faces return to the squad after injury and absence. Although some of the Sonics’ student contingent will be missing, influential hooker Harry Marson and experienced loose forward Joe McKenna look likely to return. Marcus Brooker, who has now scored five tries in two appearances, could well be the star man for Bristol again.Entrance to Bristol Sonics v Coventry Bears and Bristol Sonics v Oxford Cavaliers A is free. Fans who can’t make the game can follow the action on

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SONICS RUE MISSED CHANCES

BRISTOL SONICS were left to rue missed chances after falling to an agonizing one-point defeat at the hands of Anglo-Welsh rivals South Wales at Whitehall RFC.The Sonics bombed a number of clear chances to score tries and were guilty of numerous sloppy errors as they chased their first victory of their inaugural Conference League 3 campaign.Bristol overcame a slow start to take the initiative early in the second half, but two scores from the visitors with 15 minutes remaining put them back in front. Marcus Brooker’s third try of the afternoon on 77 minutes gave Sonics hope of snatching victory, but the visitors held out in the dying seconds.Bristol Sonics head coach Karl Fearnley said: “I’m obviously very disappointed with the result, but I can’t fault the effort the lads put in. That was our best performance of the season to date and if we keep going like this that first win will come sooner, rather than later. Had it not been for some silly errors today and a lack of composure at key times, we could easily have won this game. All credit to South Wales for digging in and grinding out a win. They did the basics better and that’s what won it for them in the end.”Bristol started brightly, breaking the Hornets’ line in their first set of six, but it was the visitors who took the lead. Centre Jamie Lainge intercepted a loose Lewis Beer pass 40 metres out and sprinted away to touch down.

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SONICS PUMPED UP FOR HORNETS VISIT

Due to forces beyond the control of Bristol Sonics Rugby League, we’ve had to change the venue for tomorrow’s Anglo-Welsh derby against South Wales Hornets, kickoff 2:30pm. The game will now be played at:

WHITEHALL RFC
Foundry Lane
Speedwell
Bristol
BS5 7UE

Since their formation in 2002, the Sonics have yet to register a win in four games against Welsh opposition, losing heavily on each occasion. Yet the last meeting between Bristol and a Welsh side, Torfaen Tigers, was way back in 2004. Since then, the Sonics have risen through the divisions and Head Coach Karl Fearnley believes they’re in good shape to spring a surprise on Saturday.Fearnley said: “We played a few matches against Welsh sides back in the very early days of the club, but we’re a different team now. We’ve been suffering in recent weeks adjusting to the intensity and physical demands of Conference League Three, but every week we’ve been getting better. I expect is to be in a position to really challenge the Hornets on Sunday, though it will be another very tough match. They’re an excellent side.”The Sonics entertain the Hornets – the Conference League Three second team of professional club South Wales Scorpions – on the back of three heavy defeats to Conference League Three pacesetters Warrington Wizards, champions Huddersfield Underbank Rangers and Championship One-bound Hemel Stags. Having plunged to their worst defeat of the season last weekend – a 74-12 loss at Hemel – Fearnley says fans will see an improved performance on Saturday.Fearnley said: “The last few weeks has been a steep learning curve for us. We’ve played arguably the four strongest teams in this league and come up short. Now we’re back at home, there’s quite a few familiar faces back in the squad and I fully expect us to improve dramatically. The rivalry between west country and welsh clubs in sport is such that our lads will be bang up for it on Saturday. It’s our most important game of the season so far.”Fearnley will welcome back a string of first choice forwards for the game on Saturday, including props Matt Douglas, Sammi Charad and Gary Carpenter, second-rower Wayne Cochran – who impressed for the Sonics’ seconds last weekend – and loose forward Joe McKenna (pictured). The latter was released by the Hornets parent club, South Wales Scorpions, before the start of the season.Fearnley believes McKenna will have a point to prove on Saturday. He said: “I know that Joe has no grudges about what happened with the Scorpions, but he’ll be keen to show his worth. He’s an incredibly experienced player, having grown up playing League in Cumbria, and he makes a massive difference when he appears for us. It’s going to be great to welcome him back, as he’s missed the last couple of matches. I know that when things get tough I can rely on him to take the game by the scruff of the neck and put a big shift in.”Saturday’s game also marks the return of the Sonics’ first team to regular home Aretians RFC, after two games at Clifton’s Station Road ground. The Sonics have an impressive record at Little Stoke Park. On their last outing there, they won the Midlands Premier Grand Final against Leicester Storm. In the last three seasons, Bristol have only lost a handful of games at Aretians and will be looking to secure their first victory of the campaign on Saturday.Meanwhile, Bristol Sonics ‘A’ – the club’s second team – face a trip to Swindon St George. Having beaten Somerset Vikings last weekend in their opening fixture, Aran Simm’s side will be looking to avenge a surprise play-off defeat at the hands of Swindon last August. Like the first team’s game, the match kicks off at 2.30pm.Entrance to Bristol Sonics v South Wales Hornets is free. Fans who can’t make the game can follow the action on http://www.twitter.com/BristolSonicsRL

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SONICS SECONDS SMASH SOMERSET

Bristol Sonics’ second team ran in ten tries on their way to an entertaining 48-26 West Country derby win over rivals Somerset Vikings at Aretians on Saturday.The Sonics seconds, boosted by a number of players with first team experience and a raft of new faces, proved too strong for a Somerset side missing their inspirational player/coach Chris Richards and a string of other first choice players.But Bristol had to fight off a sustained second-half fight back from the visitors, before a flurry of late tries sealed the victory.Bristol began well and took the lead on six minutes, loose forward Wayne Cochran brushing off some poor tackles to touch down. Three minutes later the Sonics extended their lead, debutant winger Matt Craythorne juggling the ball before sprinting 50 metres down the left touchline to score. Further tries from hard-working forwards Ryan Hall and Nathan Rainer – coupled with two Will Garnett conversions – gave Bristol a 20-0 lead after just 20 minutes.Somerset had been well out of the game but began to fight back with a string of barnstorming forward runs and neat play from hooker Craig Williams. On 28 minutes they finally got on the score sheet, Joe Bussell charging through to touch down. Dan Hinton added the first of three conversions for the Vikings.Seven minutes later, neat work from Williams released George Giles down the left. He hared 50 metres down the wing before plonking the ball down between the sticks. Hinton’s conversion made it 20-12.The Sonics were beginning to struggle, but some magic from half backs Lewis Beer and Will Garnett opened the space for Luke Savage to break the line 20 metres out and sprint clear to score in the corner. Garnett missed the conversion, putting Bristol 24-12 ahead at the break.Somerset dominated the early stages of the second half and enjoyed two sets of six deep in Bristol territory.

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SONICS SECONDS SET FOR SOMERSET SHOWDOWN

Bristol Sonics’ second team kick off their second season this Saturday (12th May) with a mouthwatering West Country derby against West of England League title hopefuls Somerset Vikings at Aretians RFC, Patchway, Bristol (kick off 2.30pm).In a packed weekend of action, Sonics’ first team continue their tough Conference League 3 campaign on Sunday (May 13th) with a tough trip to Conference League three heavyweights Hemel Stags, one of the competition’s in-form teams.Sonics’ second team player/coach Aran Simm has named a strong squad for the clash with long-time rivals Somerset Vikings. It features a mix of 2011 second team regulars, exciting newcomers and fringe first team players – including a number who have played in this season’s Conference League 3 campaign. The forward pack in particular is bristling with experience, with Simm himself being joined by Andre Samura and Ryan Hall – two of the success stories of the Sonics 2011 RLC Midlands Premier winning season – big loose forward Wayne Cochram and recent first teamers Nathan Rainer and Lewis Beer.Somerset head to Bristol on the back of a 60-point hammering of Swindon St George, and will be out to avenge the Sonics’ Seconds’ friendly victory at Aretians last season. Matches between the two sides are rarely disappointing – in 2003 Bristol beat the Vikings 42-40 with a last minute try – and tomorrow’s encounter is likely to be another nailbiter.Aran Simm said: “Having seen the first team start their season almost a month ago, all the second team lads are chomping at the bit to get going. We couldn’t have asked for a tougher first game, because Somerset are in excellent form. We’re all raring to go and would like to set down a marker for a successful season. Last year we did really well after a slow start. This year we want to hit our straps from the word go.”The fact that Sonics’ first team travel to Hemel on Sunday offers an opportunity for Head Coach Karl Fearnley to assess the potential of Simm’s side, with a view to drafting players into his squad later in the season.Hemel will provide a stern test of the Sonics’ ability to compete at Conference League 3 level. With the Stags stepping up to Rugby League’s semi-professional divisions next season, they’re expected to be one of the leading contenders for the CL3 title this year. They’ve started the season impressively and will be looking to rack up points against a Sonics side who have found the going tough so far.Fearnley is confident his side can continue to improve this weekend and provide difficult opposition for the Stags. He said: “Losing by 62 points last week was a difficult experience, but there was plenty to get excited about. Huddersfield-Underbank are a tough side, but we competed with them for long spells. We knew when we entered this League that it would be hard going to begin with, but every week we’re improving a little bit. This week will be no different. If we keep improving week on week, results will improve – we just have to be patient.”Fans who can’t make this weekend’s matches can follow the Sonics’ progress on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BristolSonicsRL. The Sonics media team will be “tweeting” live score and incident updates direct from Aretians and Pennine Way.

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SONICS TO CELEBRATE HISTORIC SEASON ON 22ND SEPT

As the 2012 season draws to an end Bristol Sonics have announced that they will be holding their End of Season Awards Evening on Saturday 22nd September at Clifton RFC (7:30 – late). Not only will they be celebrating their first season in the national leagues, but September marks 10 years since the foundation of the Sonics at Horts pub in Bristol city centre.Sonics’ Chairman and co-founder Phil Cole has urged former players, supporters and club members from the past 10 years to join in the celebrations. Tickets are