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SONICS DELAY SEASON-OPENER

Bristol Sonics will now begin their Conference League South campaign after Easter,  delaying their first appearance in this year’s competition by three weeks.

The Sonics were forced to request the postponement and rearrangement of fixtures with Nottingham Outlaws and Oxford Cavaliers due to a mix of injuries and unavailability leaving the squad threadbare. The Sonics will now start their season on Saturday April 11th, when 2014 Conference League South champions Valley Cougars visit Landseer Avenue.

The Sonics continue to train on Monday nights at Landseer Avenue, home of Dings Crusaders RFC, in preparation for an extended campaign that runs until September. All potential new recruits and existing squad members are encouraged to make these sessions, or contact Dom Swann or Wes Rodgers as soon as possible to register their interest in being involved this season.

Player/coach Dom Swann, one of a trio of coaches spearheading the Sonics first team squad in 2015, said: “It is with great regret that we announce the postponement and potential rearrangement of our first two fixtures. We did everything in our power to try and get a side on the park for these first two weeks, but a number of injuries and unavailable players meant this  was impossible. We are struggling right now, but things will improve over coming weeks and I’m confident that by April 11th we’ll be in a much stronger position. Going forward, we are working hard to recruit players and expand our squad significantly so that we do not have issues later in the season.”

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole said: “I’d like to put on record my thanks to the Rugby Football League, Nottingham Outlaws and Oxford Cabaliers for their understanding with regards to this matter. We pride ourselves in getting a competitive team out and it was with a heavy heart that myself and other members of the committee made the call to try and switch things around. Helpfully the RFL has built blank weekends for rearrangements into the schedule, so we hope to use these if possible.

The last 12 months have been particularly difficult for the Sonics, after many years of growth. Although there are many positives to be taken, including the amount of our junior academy graduates joining the Rugby League Academy at SGS College, we need to take steps to ensure that this translates itself into a stronger, more vibrant first team squad. We have not been helped by decisions out of our control, with regards to changes in Rugby League in the region. We have previously made clear our feelings about these decisions, and their possible affect on the Sonics, not just now but in the long term. While we cannot blame our problems on these decisions, it is very obvious that they have not helped.

We believe that this is a minor setback. We have a long term plan to grow and strengthen the grassroots of the game in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, something we have been committed to for some time. This includes running more than one side at adult level, and, more importantly, a range of teams at junior and youth level, something that is otherwise severely lacking in the region. We believe this is the way to ensure that Rugby League takes root in the West of England. This kind of long term approach will be of benefit not only to us, but also the professional player performance pathway operated by SGS College and the University of Gloucestershire All Golds semi-professional club. Unlike some other clubs, we believe that success at first team level is all the sweeter if it’s the result of a period of organic growth and junior player development.”

 

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SONICS SEEK NEW RECRUITS

With the start of the 2015 amateur Rugby League season fast approaching, Bristol Sonics are encouraging potential players to step forward.

 

The Sonics begin their Conference League South campaign next Saturday (21st March), with a home game against Nottingham Outlaws at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground.

 

Buoyed by a new coaching team, spearheaded by the Sonics’ longest-serving player, Dom Swann, the Sonics are keen to expand their player base ahead of a season that lasts until September.

 

While the first team season begins this weekend, the Sonics also boast an ‘A-side’, which starts its’ West of England League campaign in May. By offering two sides, and performance-based movement between the teams, the Sonics can offer Rugby League to players of any standard, regardless of previous experience in the 13-a-side code.

 

Dom Swann said: “Rugby League is a terrific, all-action sport and you’ll find the Sonics present squad, staff and supporters very welcoming. Since we launched the club in 2002, we’ve given opportunities to many hundreds of players of different levels of experience. If you want to play a high standard of rugby, our first team in Conference League South is perfect. If you’d rather have a slightly gentler entry point, our ‘A’ side is more of a social side, geared to bringing through younger players, newcomers and older guys.

 

We’ve had quite a few players come through our pathway and sign for academy set-ups at semi-professional clubs, or become Kingstone Press Championship 1 regulars, such as Marcus Brooker at Oxford. One of our players, Mike Coady, even signed for Super League side Leeds Rhinos a few years back. If you’re talented and motivated, the links and opportunities are there.

 

If you just want to improve your fitness and try your hand at a great sport, we can also accommodate you. If this interests you, get in touch with a member of the coaching team, or come down to training on Monday nights at Dings Crusaders. We start at 7pm and we’ll make you very welcome.”

 

Swann says training has been going well, but with such a long season, the coaching team would like a larger squad at their disposal. He’s naturally keen to point out that places in both the first and second team will be awarded on merit. He says: “One of our key principals this season is picking on performance, and that means training as well as matches. If you’re keen to have a go, come and train and show us what you can do. We’ll pick you if we think you can do a job. We don’t want favouritism, just the best possible team on the park week in, week out. By training and playing together, we can improve on last season’s results and start climbing the League again.”

 

Potential players can register their interest and find out more by emailing wes.rodgers@bristolsonics.com, or by calling Wes on 07730 600 721.

 

Training takes place on Monday nights at Dings Crusaders RFC, Landseer Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol – 6.45pm meet for a 7pm start.