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SONICS WITHDRAW FROM WEST OF ENGLAND LEAGUE

Bristol Sonics has withdrawn from the West of England League with immediate effect.

The club took the dramatic step following a second successive week in which it was unable to raise a side. The move means that the Sonics will not play any competitive fixtures in 2018, putting the future of the club at stake.

The club, which was founded in 2002 and is among the longest running in the region, issued the following statement.

“Today, the committee and coaches of Bristol Sonics RLFC have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the West of England League with immediate effect. This means that the Sonics will not take to the field in organized competition this season. Weekly sessions of touch rugby league and light training will continue to take place on the Durdham Downs, with the aim of playing some friendly fixtures later in the season. The Sonics hope to re-apply to join the West of England League for the 2019 season.

The decision to step down from the West of England league was not taken lightly. Extensive and strenuous efforts have been made behind the scenes to address the club’s problems, which mostly stem from volunteer burnout, player availability and player commitment. The Sonics started 2018 with a squad decimated by injuries, retirements and transfers to other West of England League clubs. Although we have actively been trying to recruit new players, with modest success, this is not enough to get through a full West of England League season.

We passionately want Rugby League to succeed in Bristol and for the Sonics to be a force again in future, with a full compliment of adult, junior and youth sides. This can only be achieved with commitment from a new group of volunteers, players, coaches and supporters. We have already begun the process of rebuilding and would encourage anyone who wants to see Rugby League survive and thrive in our great city to get in touch with Sonics founder Phil Cole via email on phil.cole@bristolsonics.con, follow us on social media and look at our website regularly. Any players who wish to try their hand at the sport are encouraged to come down to sessions on Wednesday nights. For full details of these, and our rebuilding plans as they develop, please keep an eye on www.bristolsonics.com.

Bristol Sonics club founder Phil Cole said: “Unfortunately this day has been coming for a few years. Although those involved saw the writing on the wall, our small but dedicated team of volunteers was unable to stop the slide. I know they did everything they could to avoid withdrawing from the league, and I’m grateful in particular to player-coaches Blake Knowlson and Simon Bannister, who have worked tirelessly in recent months to try and get a team on the pitch.

“Rugby League has a long history in Bristol and we passionately want to see this continue. However, we need fresh blood, fresh ideas, passion and commitment. We will be using the next few months to work out what went wrong and form a plan moving forwards. I would encourage anyone who wishes to see Rugby League survive and thrive in Bristol to come forwards, whether they are previous players who are committed to the sport in their home city, passionate Rugby League fans, or people with a skill set that they think could be of use to the Sonics. This is not the end, merely the beginning of a new chapter.”

Further updates will be posted on www.bristolsonics.com in the weeks and months ahead.

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Training Starts Wednesday 18th April

Open Age training starts on Wednesday 18th April 7pm on Durdham Downs, opposite the water tower. It is likely to remain on thew Downs for a few weeks until the grass pitches at Dings Crusaders’ Shaftesbury Park ground are available after reseeding. Any changes will be notified on the website and social media.

All new players are welcome and the first sessions will be introducing the basics of the game and followed by a drink at the top of Whiteladies Road. New players can just turn up on the evening or get in touch in advance through the website or social media.

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Open Meeting Wed 28th March

With the 2018 West of England Rugby League season fast approaching, Bristol Sonics RLFC is holding an open meeting to discuss the future of the sport in the city.

The meeting is an opportunity for all those interested in Rugby League in Bristol or South Gloucestershire to get together, meet others that share your passion and debate the path forwards in the months and years ahead.

The Sonics are particularly keen to involve anyone who is interested in playing, coaching, volunteering or sponsoring the club, but casual supporters are also encouraged to attend. We’ll be discussing both adult and junior/youth Rugby League, possible high profile RL developments in the city and looking at ways that we can strengthen both Bristol Sonics and the wider roots of the sport in the city.

The meeting will take place at Shaftsbury Park in Frenchay, the new home of Sonics’ good friends Dings Crusaders RFC, on Wednesday March 28th 2018, starting at 7pm. For more details on location and directions from the ring road/M32/M4, check out this post on Dings’ website:http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/dingscrusadersrfc/news/directions-to-the-new-ground-2183654.html

If you cannot make the meeting due to other commitments but are interested in getting involved, either as a player, volunteer, coach or supporter, please email matt.anniss@bristolsonics.com and we’ll do our provide you with all the information you need.

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SONICS CHAIRMAN WANTS NEW PLAYERS AT PRE-SEASON TRAINING

New Bristol Sonics Chairman Byron Edwards has issued an invite to all prospective Rugby League players to head down to pre-season training this week.

With the 2017 West of England League season fast approaching, the Sonics begin pre-season training on Wednesday, April 5th, at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground (6.45pm for a 7pm start).

Chairman Edwards, who also plays as a prop forward for the Sonics, has invited all those interested in playing Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to head down to training and stake their claim for a first team place.

He said: “The Sonics are always looking for new adult players regardless of age or previous experience and with training starting on Wednesday, now is the time to head down to Dings and get involved. We’ll make you very welcome and you don’t need to worry if you’ve not played League before, as we’ll give you coaching on the rules, tactics, technique and the finer points of the sport.

League is a fast, dynamic, exciting, all-action contact sport that rewards effort and team work. The sport is not known by those who play it as “The Greatest Game” for nothing!”

Edwards is one of three Sonics players who recently traveled across to Dublin as part of the West of England Lionhearts representative side that beat Ireland Under-20s 36-32 in a thriller. He believes that the potential to represent your country on the international stage will be a draw for some prospective players.

It was such an honour to represent the West of England Lionhearts over in Ireland and the forthcoming international tours they have planned for 2018 and 2019 are hugely exciting. The squad is made up of players from clubs across the West of England – not just Bristol, but also Bath, Gloucester, Chippenham, Oxford and Swindon, for starters – who own their place through performances across the league season.

When I first started playing League for the Sonics two or three years ago I never dreamed that it would allow me to represent my country abroad. If I can do it, then I’m sure there are loads of other players not involved in League at present who could take up the game with the Sonics and earn their own representative cap. The first stage to getting that call-up is coming down to training and taking your place in the 2017 squad.”

The Sonics will begin the 2017 season – their last at Landseer Avenue, before moving with Dings Crusaders to their new Shaftsbury Park home in Frenchay later in the year – at the West of England 9s competition in Swindon on Saturday May 6th. The following week, they will kick-off their league campaign against new club Bath RLFC at Chippenham RFC. The Sonics first home game, against 2017 Champions Portsmouth Navy Seahawks, will take place on Saturday June 3rd.

 

Bristol Head Coach Dom Swann has big plans for 2017 and has set his side the task of getting to the West of England League Grand Final, after the 2016 season ended with a limp play-off semi-final loss to eventual beaten finalists Swindon St George. He said: “Last season was a missed opportunity, but in hindsight we got what we deserved in the semi-final. To compete for honours we need a bigger squad and more players at training. I will pick players on merit due to their performances in both training and matches. Any new players that come down to training will have as much chance of making the team as those who are returning from previous seasons. I urge anyone who fancies playing to come down to training on Wednesday night and stake their claim for a place in the team.”

 

Bristol Sonics pre-season training takes place at Dings Crusaders RFC, Landseer Avenue, Lockleaze, every Wednesday night from April 5th(6.45pm for a 7.00pm start).

 

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2017 Season

Preparations are underway for the 2017 season and the club would like to hear from prospective players. Having reached the West of England semi-finals last season, the club has set its sights on going all the way in 2017.

Sonics coach Dom Swann is looking to build a strong squad for this year’s campaign: “We played some good rugby at times last season but didn’t have the strength in depth towards the business end of the season. So we’re looking to build a large squad this year. Competition for places is key to us progressing and it would be great to be able to field a second team again this year so we’re looking for players of all experiences and abilities.

Last season we had a lot of players new to the game and I’m sure they’ll all tell you how much they enjoyed the season. We’re a really open and friendly club so I’d encourage anyone to come and give rugby league a go. There will be plenty happening off the pitch as well this season with regular socials and hopefully a tour”

The Sonics will be competing in a new-look West of England division with pre-season training starting on Wednesday 5th April 2017.

Any prospective players should register their interest using the Contact Us page.

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2016 SEASON

Preparations are underway for the 2016 season and the club would like to hear from prospective players. Having come close to a grand final victory with a rebuilt squad last season, the club has set its sights on going one better in 2016.

Sonics coach Dom Swann is looking to build a strong squad for this year’s campaign: “Last season was about rebuilding as we had a high turnover of players from the previous year. But thanks to everyone’s hard work we really progressed as a squad so we’re now looking to kick-on from last year’s success. Experience tells us that we’ll need a big squad, especially as it looks like we’ll have more games this summer. Competition for places is key to us progressing and it would be great to be able to field a second team again this year so we’re looking for players of all experiences and abilities.

Last season we had a lot of players new to the game and I’m sure they’ll all tell you how much they enjoyed the season. We’re a really open and friendly club so I’d encourage anyone to come and give rugby league a go. There will be plenty happening off the pitch as well this season with regular socials including a trip up to Newcastle for the Super League Magic Weekend.”

The Sonics will be competing in a new-look West of England division with pre-season training will start on Wednesday 6th April 2016 at Dings Crusaders RFC. Keep an eye on the website and the club’s social media accounts before then for further announcements about the upcoming season.

Any prospective players should register their interest using the Contact Us page.

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“OPEN MEETING” TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF RL IN BRISTOL THIS SUNDAY

Bristol Sonics will hold an open meeting this Sunday to discuss the future of Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, and are urging anyone in the area with an interest in the sport to attend.

 

The meeting will take place at the Sonics home, Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground in Lockleaze, at 12 noon on Sunday 10th May, directly after the Sonics’ juniors (under 15 and 16) have completed their first training session of the season.

 

On the agenda will be the way forward for not only the Sonics as a club, but also priorities for developing the sport of Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire over coming years.

 

After years of growth, the Sonics have struggled to maintain momentum in recent years, and are suffering from a lack of volunteers. Having been forced to withdraw from the elite Conference League South competition last month, the club wants to use this opportunity to re-assess the way forward over coming years and are open to fresh ideas. The meeting, which will be hosted by Chairman and co-founder Phil Cole, is an opportunity for Rugby League enthusiasts in the region to have their say and signal their intention to get involved in shaping the way the sport develops in the city over coming years.

 

Phil Cole said: “I can’t stress how important this meeting is. We’ve achieved a lot with the Sonics, building the club up from scratch over 13 years to a point where we were able to compete at the highest possible level in the amateur game. We also helped secure a Rugby League World Cup game in the city in 2013. We’ve also introduced many youngsters to the sport and a number of our players have gone on to enjoy successful professional or semi-professional careers in Rugby League. However, as a club we are struggling a little right now. If we’re going to move forward and continue to grow Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, then people who love the sport in the area need to get involved. If they don’t, the club and the sport will start to struggle more and within a few years we might be back to square one. Nobody wants that.

 

“This is why we have called this meeting. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to make it to the meeting. The Sonics was formed after a similar open meeting in 2002, where people who had never previously met decided to get off their backsides and do something to develop the sport in the city. This meeting is just as important. Even if you can’t commit loads of time to becoming a volunteer, we’d like your input. If you think you can spare some time to get involved with the club, even better. Either way, please come along on Sunday and make your voice heard, so that we can secure the future of Rugby League in Bristol for generations to come.”

 

Sunday’s meeting will take place a day after the Sonics begin their West of England League season with a home match against Somerset Vikings (Saturday 9th May, Dings Crusaders RFC, kick-off 2.30pm, free entry). Spectators to Saturday’s game will be encouraged to return on Sunday for the meeting, or at least register their interest and thoughts with members of the Sonics’ committee.

 

You can find out more information about the meeting, or register your interest in volunteering should you not be able to make it, by emailing Phil Cole at phil.cole@bristolsonics.com.

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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.