Bristol Sonics veteran Wes Rodgers wants to end his playing career on a high – with a shock Tetley’s Challenge Cup win over his first ever club, Hull Dockers.


The East Hull-born utility forward and former Hull Kingston Rovers Academy player announced his retirement at the end of the 2013 season, but has decided to lace up the boots for one final time against his first junior Rugby League club.


Naturally, he wants to end on a high by helping the Sonics to their first ever Tetley’s Challenge Cup win, in their first encounter with a National Conference League Premier outfit.


Wes Rodgers said: “As soon as the balls came out of the bag and I saw we’d been draw away at Hull Dockers, I decided I’d make myself available to play one last time. It was just too tempting. I still have loads of friends up in East Hull, and the Dockers are a great club. I know they’ll make us all very welcome – their hospitality is legendary.


“Playing there will bring back a lot of memories. I’d love to finish on a high by helping the Sonics to upset the odds. They’re a great side so it will be very tough, but we know that on our day we can cause anyone problems. There’s been a buzz in training for the last few weeks. All the players know what a big deal it is playing in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, against one of the oldest and best-known amateur sides in the country. I can’t wait.”


The Sonics will go into Saturday’s game as underdogs, having lost their two previous Tetley’s Challenge Cup ties, to Leeds Met University and Eccles & Salford respectively. Hull Dockers, who play in the top division of the elite National Conference League, will offer Bristol their biggest on-field challenge to date.


Bristol Sonics captain Dom Swann said: “We’re expecting a very tough match, possibly in difficult conditions. This is what we all play for, though – to test ourselves against the very best. If we upset the odds and win, it would be the best result in the club’s history. We’re heading up there with a do or die attitude – nothing will be left in the changing rooms. If that’s not good enough, so be it, but we’re going to give it our best shot.”


Saturday’s game will be the Sonics first under new Head Coach Jason Talbot. He’s looking forward to taking charge of Bristol for the first time. He said: “We’ve not had much time to prepare, as this is way out of our season, but it’s the same for Hull Dockers. Both sides may be a little bit rusty, and ultimately it will come down to who defends and controls the ball better. They’re a strong, skilful side, with bags of experience. To be honest we couldn’t have got a tougher draw. It’s a great opportunity, though. We’re representing Conference League South, and we have aspirations to play at the same level as teams like Dockers. This is our chance to show just what we can do.”


Talbot has named a 17-man squad featuring a blend of youth and experience, with Sonics’ standout forward of 2013 Jake Robertson fit to feature after an off-season blighted by injury. There are also spots for talented youngsters Freddie Blanks, Lee Bartlett and Jack Binks, alongside Sonics veterans Joe Singleton and Tristan Moore. Former Sonics star Marcus Brooker, who recently joined Championship 1 side Oxford RLFC from Gloucestershire All Golds, will be an interested spectator, having decided to join his former teammates on the coach to Hull.


Bristol Sonics face Hull Dockers at The Willows Sports & Social Club, Hull, on Saturday 1st February, kick-off 2pm.


Bristol Sonics squad (v Hull Dockers, 1//13): Duane West (captain), Freddie Blanks, Mike Gaston, Tom Verber, Jonny Wheeler, Alex Potts, Dom Swann (captain), Wes Rodgers, Matt Williams, Jake Robertson, Jack Binks, Joe Singleton, Rob Verber, Lee Bartlett, Wijnand Womhoudt, Jack Spooner.



Bristol Sonics have appointed a new coaching and management team to drive the club forward in 2014.


Following the decision of Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley to step back from coaching, former assistant Jason Talbot has been appointed head coach with immediate effect.


Talbot has been overseeing first team training since early January, and faces his first test as Head Coach on February 1st, when the Sonics travel to face National Conference League Premier side Hull Dockers in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.


To allow Talbot to concentrate on coaching, Tom Bedkowski has been appointed First Team Manager. He takes over from Nick Brook, who will continue to assist the club on match days. Bedkowski recently worked as Team Liaison Officer for the Cook Islands national side during Rugby League World Cup 2013.


Talbot brings a wealth of experience to the role of Head Coach. He has previously coached a number of amateur sides, and has been heavily involved in RAF and British Armed Forces representative Rugby League for the past two decades. He’s previously coached the RAF Development side, acted as assistant coach to the full RAF side for three years, and was Head Coach on the RAF tour to Australia in 2009. He’s currently technical analyst for the RAF, secretary of GB Armed Forces Rugby League, and Forces representative on the RFL Community Board.


As you’d expect, Talbot is relishing his new role with the Sonics. He said: “As head coach of the Sonics I am hoping to build a club culture that will be based on honesty and professional attitudes to playing and training amongst players and staff. Along with everyone else involved with the team, I would like to see the Sonics as the best-run club in the league. First we need to broaden our player base and forge links to unite all the RL elements in Bristol.


“My coaching philosophy is simple. You can be as big or fast as you want, but if you don’t possess the basic skills of passing, catching and tackling you will always be beaten by a more agile and skillful team. It’s a simple game that people try to overcomplicate.


“Our game plan will be simple but effective and executed by a skillful group of individuals who want to play for the Sonics, but most importantly each other. One thing I’ve learned from my time in the military is the lengths people will go to for a mate. I want my Sonics team to fight for each other, which in turn will bring success for the club.”


Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole has wasted no time in praising the Dewsbury-born coach. He said: “We’re thrilled to have a coach as experienced and motivated as Jason take charge of our first team squad. He takes over at an exciting time for the club, following the excitement of seeing a Rugby League World Cup 2013 match in Bristol last autumn, and all the goodwill and publicity that brought. I have no doubt that he will do a terrific job. From what I’ve heard, he’s brought a lot of new ideas to training and the players are feeding off his enthusiasm. It bodes well for the season.”


Cole also put on record his thanks to Karl Fearnley, who oversaw the most successful period in the club’s history to date on the pitch. Under Fearnley’s stewardship, the Sonics won a string of trophies, and moved up into the elite “tier 3” level of amateur Rugby League.


Cole said: “On behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to thank Karl for his immense contribution to the Sonics over the last decade. Thanks to his coaching and hard work behind the scenes, the club has developed drastically. We will never forget his contribution as coach, and we look forward to his continued involvement on the committee over the years to come.”


Karl Fearnley will continue to be involved with the Sonics as Director of Rugby, but will re-focus on club and junior development. He will work closely with new Junior Chairman Ian Waters.


The coaching and management shake-up extends to the second team, where former first team players and second team regulars Stafford Lloyd and Tristan Moore will take charge. They will jointly coach and manage the second team, which begins its West of England League campaign in May.


Stafford Lloyd said: “I’m delighted that myself and Tristan have been appointed to take charge of our second team. We see it as a vital part of the club – a place for new players, youngsters and old heads to come together to play Rugby League and have a laugh. We think the second team should be the beating heart of the club – a way of attracting newcomers, retaining players and giving talented youngsters a chance to prove their skills in open age rugby. We’d encourage anyone who fancies playing Rugby League, regardless of experience or ability, to come down and give it a go. We’ll make you very welcome.”

The Sonics are currently in pre-season training. Their last session before Saturday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup match at Hull Dockers will take place on the outdoor 4G pitch at SGS College Wise Campus, Filton, on Tuesday 28th January, starting at 7.45pm. New players are always welcome.



Bristol Sonics face a daunting trip to East Yorkshire in the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, after being drawn against National Conference League giants Hull Dockers.

The Sonics are expected take on the National Conference League Premier outfit at Tower Grange, Hull, on Saturday February 1st, subject to confirmation.

Bristol will be looking to upset the odds and record their first ever Tetley’s Challenge Cup win at the third attempt, following losses to Leeds Metropolitan University (2009) and Eccles (2012-13).

Sonics captain Dom Swann is undaunted by the club’s tough draw. He said: “We could hardly have asked for a tougher draw, but it’s one that we’re really looking forward to. The Dockers are one of the most famous clubs in amateur Rugby League, with history dating right back to 1880. We’ve only been going 11 years, and although we’ve made great strides and have some top players, most of our lads came to Rugby League late. It will be a real test of how far we’ve come.

“If we play to our absolute potential, we know we can cause them some problems at the very least. Last season we faced a National Conference League side in the Challenge Cup and it was a very even contest. Whatever happens, we’re all looking forward to going up there and giving it a good go – that’s what knockout rugby is all about.”

The tie could mark an emotional farewell for one of the Sonics’ longest serving players, Hull-born forward Wes Rodgers. The prop started his playing career as a junior at Hull Dockers, and has hinted that he may put off his planned retirement for one last game against his former club.

The Sonics will be running a coach to the game, and supporters are encouraged to come along and cheer on the side. More details will be posted on the club’s website in due course.

The Sonics’ new training venue is not available until later in the year so the club will be using an interim venue for the Challenge Cup training. New head coach Jase Talbot will be holding 6 sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings at Old Elizabethans RFC, Severn Road, Hallen, Bristol, BS10 7RZ. These will start next Monday (13th Jan) at 6:45pm for a 7pm start and run up to the game on 1st Feb. Further pre-season details will be announced at a later date.




Bristol Sonics will discover their opponents in the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup on Wednesday (January 8th), when the draw takes place live on BBC Radio Humberside (6.30pm).

The Sonics are one of 44 teams from around the UK starting out on the road to the August’s prestigious final at Wembley Stadium, one of the traditional highlights of the British sporting calendar.

Bristol is representing Conference League South, following the decision from champions Sheffield-Hallam Eagles not to take part in the competition. It will be the third time the Sonics have featured in the competition, following agonizing first round losses to Leeds Metropolitan University and Eccles in previous seasons.

The Sonics could face a nightmare away trip to Scottish Conference champions Aberdeen, a local derby against Welsh premiers Torfaen Tigers – a team the Sonics once lost to by 80 points a decade ago – or face one of a host of National Conference League sides from the game’s traditional “heartlands” of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Humberside and Cumbria. Alternatively, Bristol could be drawn against one of the forces teams, the British Police or one of the two universities representing Student Rugby League.

Fans can find out the Sonics’ fate by tuning into BBC Radio Humberside online – – from 6.30pm on Wednesday 8th January.

The first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup will be played on the weekend of February 1st and 2nd.

Bristol Sonics’ captain Dom Swann, who has played in both of the club’s previous Tetley’s Challenge Cup matches, is looking forward to the draw. He said: “The Tetley’s Challenge Cup is the most historic competition in Rugby League, and there’s always something exciting about setting out on the Road to Wembley. We know that we’re not going to get that far, but it would be brilliant to get our first ever win in the competition and progress to the second or even third round, which would be an amazing achievement given the quality of the sides in the draw.

“We’ve been very lucky in the past in receiving home draws, which always works to our advantage. It’s also allowed us to draw big crowds, as the Tetley’s Challenge Cup is a big deal – the later rounds are shown live on the BBC on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and the final is one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar. It’s a big deal for amateur players like us, just like non-league footballers playing in the F.A Cup.”

In preparation for their participation in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, Bristol Sonics’ open age players will return to training for the first time since September this month. The club is on the look out for new players for both first and second teams, and is encouraging anyone interested to get in touch via the club’s website at Details of pre-season training sessions will be announced shortly.




Bristol Sonics have promised to build on the success of last night’s Rugby League World Cup 2013 game in the city.


Over 7,000 people descended on the Memorial Stadium, home of Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby, to watch the USA Tomahawks record a famous 32-20 debut World Cup win over the Cook Islands.


It was the first time top flight Rugby League had been played in Bristol since 1911, when Australia beat the West and Wales 23-3 at Ashton Gate.


Many of the spectators were watching Rugby League for the first time, and the Sonics are keen to build on the interest created to boost the sport at grassroots level in the region.


Sonics Chairman Phil Cole, one of the people who founded the club back in 2002, said: “Last night was a superb occasion and a great spectacle, and for those of us in the region involved in the community game it was a brilliant shot in the arm.


“There were so many newcomers to Rugby League in the crowd, and it’s our job now to try and harness the interest and excitement created by Rugby League World Cup 2013 coming to our city to increase the numbers of players, fans, volunteers and sponsors for the game at grassroots level, not just in Bristol but in the wider region.”


Sonics captain Dom Swann, the sole surviving player from the club’s debut season in 2003, is urging anyone interested in Rugby League to get in touch with the club.


He said: “The Sonics are always on the look out for new players, fans and volunteers, and it would be great to see some of those people who enjoyed last night’s game getting involved in some way.


“Anyone interested in getting involved, in whatever capacity, can contact us through our website at and we’ll get back to them. We run two adult teams, a number of junior sides and conduct coaching sessions in schools. If you live in the area and want more Rugby League, the Sonics would like to hear from you.”


The Sonics were formed in 2002 by a group of local Rugby League enthusiasts, and in the early years struggled to get a foothold in a city better known for its connections with football and rugby union. Since then, the club has grown steadily and is now one of the leading community clubs outside of the North of England.


Phil Cole said: “When a few of us sat down in the George pub in Filton back in September 2002, we could never have envisaged a Rugby League World Cup game being played in our city. It hasn’t always been easy trying to grow the game in this part of the country, as our friends at Gloucestershire Warriors, Swindon St George and Somerset Vikings would agree, but there is a feeling that slowly and surely Rugby League is growing.


“We want to introduce a whole new generation of young people to our great sport. We already run some junior teams, but if there is interest we’d love to run more. If only a fraction of those who came last night go on to attend more Rugby League matches, get involved as players, or give their precious time as volunteers, it can only be a great thing for the Sonics and the sport as a whole.”


Anyone interested in getting involved in Rugby League in the city can contact the Sonics through the Get Involved section of this website.


Hungry for more RL in Bristol?

Perhaps you were one of the 7247 people at the Memorial Stadium for the thrilling Rugby League World Cup match between the Cook Islands and the USA. Or maybe you’ve just got caught up in the buzz that the tournament has created around the city. Either way if you’re hungry for more Rugby League in Bristol then you’ve come to the right place.

Bristol Sonics are the city’s community club and we run both adult and junior teams. Although we’re currently out of season (ours runs March / April to September) we’re still on the look out for players of all ages, enthusiastic volunteers, and of course supporters. If you’d like to get involved in anyway please fill out the form below.

At adult, or “open age”, level, the Sonics boast two sides. The second team plays in the West of England League, alongside local amateur clubs including Swindon St George, Gloucestershire Warriors and Somerset Vikings. The first team, meanwhile, plays in Conference League South, a “Tier 3” league featuring the strongest amateur sides outside of the North of England. This summer, the Sonics came second in that League, behind eventual winners Sheffield-Hallam Eagles, effectively Championship winners Sheffield Eagles’ second team

Alongside Cheltenham-based Championship One side University of Gloucestershire All Golds, the Sonics have been integral in getting Rugby League into schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The Sonics have junior teams at under 14 and under 16 level, which feeds into the Bristol Rugby League Academy side based at South Gloucestershire & Stroud College, based at the WISE Campus in Filton. We hope to expand our junior age groups in the near future.

Of course to make all of this possible we need a team of volunteers to cover the running of the club. This includes management committee positions, match day managers, PR, first aiders, team managers, junior coordinators, to name a few typical roles. No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm.

Finally, if you just want to watch some live Rugby League over the summer then why not sign-up for our email newsletter – the Sonic Boom. You can also follow us on twitter @BristolSonicsRL.

Register your interest with the Sonics





Tonight, top flight Rugby League returns to Bristol for the first time since 1911, when the touring Australians beat Wales and West 23-3 at Ashton Gate. Just 1,000 confused locals turned up to watch.

Just before 8pm, the Cook Islands and the United States of America will walk out onto the Memoral Stadium turf for a vital Rugby League World Cup 2013 encounter.

A crowd in excess of 5,000 will roar them on, while a “guard of honour” made up of local Rugby League players and volunteers will greet the players as they make their entrance.

That guard of honour will feature five representatives from Bristol Sonics, the city’s community club. Four of those are the “Brooker brothers”, the region’s answer to the Burgess brothers. All four – eldest brother Marcus, local community coach Daniel, 18 year-old Dean and 16 year-old Harry – have all played for the Sonics. The fifth representative will be Tristan Moore, recently retired second team captain and one of the club’s junior coaches.

In the stands watching on will be a large group of players, volunteers and fans from Bristol’s community club, who no doubt will be rubbing their eyes in amazement.

You see, it was just 11 years ago when a small group of people got together in a pub in Filton to discuss the idea of starting a Rugby League team in Bristol.

It’s a remarkable story in anyone’s book.

Before the Sonics, there had been very little Rugby League in Bristol. During the 1980s and early ‘90s, there was an amateur club playing in the now defunct Midlands and South West Amateur Rugby League Association (MASWARLA). With the 100-year war between rugby union and Rugby League still ongoing, the club struggled to attract and retain players, with most regular players appearing under pseudonyms in order to avoid a lifetime ban from playing union.

Then, in 2002, an official from the Rugby Football League contacted Phil Cole, a local League enthusiast and Union convert, to ask whether he fancied trying to launch a club in Bristol.

Cole did just that, posting messages on Internet forums asking anyone interested to come to a meeting at a pub in Filton. A handful of people turned up, but it was enough. Further meetings followed, and a few more volunteers appeared. By the end of September 2011, Bristol Sonics were born.

The Sonics story since has been one of struggle and success. The early years, in particular, were hard, as the club struggled to attract and retain players and moved ground on an almost yearly basis. During their first season in 2003, the Sonics won just two games, suffering the bitter disappointment of losing to Cardiff Demons by 70, 90 and 100 points.

What a contrast to where Rugby League in Bristol, and the South West at large, now finds itself.

Alongside Cheltenham-based Championship One side University of Gloucestershire All Golds, the Sonics have been integral in getting Rugby League into schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The Sonics have junior teams at under 14 and under 16 level, which feeds into the Bristol Rugby League Academy side based at South Gloucestershire & Stroud College, based at the WISE Campus in Filton.

At adult, or “open age”, level, the Sonics boast two sides. The second team plays in the West of England League, alongside local amateur clubs including Swindon St George, Gloucestershire Warriors and Somerset Vikings. The first team, meanwhile, plays in Conference League South, a “tier 3” league featuring the strongest amateur sides outside of the North of England. This summer, the Sonics came second in that League, behind eventual winners Sheffield-Hallam Eagles, effectively Championship winners Sheffield Eagles’ second team.

Rugby League is still a small sport in Bristol, but it is growing. Year-on-year over the last decade, more players, fans and volunteers have got involved, either through the Sonics, schools coaching or at one of the local universities and colleges. League is, slowly but surely, making its presence felt.

Tonight, Rugby League in Bristol will get a shot in the arm like nothing that’s come before. So far, the Rugby League World Cup 2013 has been a runaway success, with classic matches, memorable moments and star players doing extraordinary things. The impact has been such that sales for tonight’s game in Bristol have rocketed since the weekend, with almost unexpected demand.

The vast majority of tonight’s crowd will be watching Rugby League for the first time. Despite the hard work of the Sonics in marketing themselves, many will not know that there is a community club on their doorstep. When they find out, we can expect interest to grow massively.

Occasions such as this don’t come around too often. In fact, it’s been over 100 years between drinks for Bristol and top-flight Rugby League. We might not see anything like it for years to come. As the Rugby League World Cup 2013 hastag says, you have to #BeThere.

It will be memorable in so many ways, and particularly poignant for those who endured the Sonics’ early years of toil, where the club struggled to stay afloat, once had to field a team containing only five players with any kind of previous rugby experience and teetered on the brink of collapse.

It may be a cliché, but dreams really do come true.

The Cook Islands take on the U.S.A at The Memorial Stadium, Bristol, tonight (Wednesday 30th October) in Rugby League World Cup 2013. Tickets start from £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Some tickets will be available at the ground. For more information on Rugby League World Cup 2013, head to





Bristol Sonics will be taking to the open, traffic-free streets of Bristol city centre this Sunday (29th September) to offer people of all ages the chance to try touch Rugby League ahead of the arrival of the Rugby League World Cup in the city next month.


As part of Bristol City Council’s ongoing “Make Sundays Special” initiative, which offers activities for all the family on the closed-off streets around the Old City area, the Sonics will be holding a free, hour-long introduction to touch Rugby League from 12noon to 1pm in the fenced-off “games area” on Baldwin Street.

Players, coaches and volunteers from the city’s  community Rugby League club will be on hand to school young and old alike in the basics of Rugby League. Children and adults will be given a chance to try their hand at touch Rugby League in a safe environment, right in the heart of Bristol city centre.


Sonics players and volunteers will also be helping to spread the word about the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, which begins on Saturday October 26 with a dramatic opening ceremony and double-header of matches featuring England, Australia, Wales and Italy at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. A few days later, the action moves to Bristol, as the Cook Islands take on the USA at The Memorial Stadium on Wednesday October 30. There will be a Rugby League World Cup information stand on Baldwin Street, where people can find out more about the tournament, the game in Bristol and how to buy tickets.

Bristol Sonics’ captain Dom Swann, the club’s longest-serving player, said: “It’s really exciting to be able to spread the Rugby League message to the people of Bristol as part of Make Sundays Special. It’s a terrific initiative from the Council and a great opportunity to get more people interested in the sport and the Rugby League World Cup, which we’re all thrilled is coming to Bristol. Rugby League is an exciting, fast-paced sport and touch Rugby League offers a great introduction. It can be played by anyone, regardless of age, fitness or ability, and we’re looking forward to getting new people interested in our sport on Sunday.”

Make Sundays Special is one of Bristol City Council’s flagship programmes. One Sunday a month, roads around the Old City (Baldwin Street, Corn St, St Nicholas Street, Small Street and the surrounding area) are closed to motor vehicles but open to the public. The area is then transformed into a bustling carnival of music, entertainment, free activities, sports taster sessions, markets and street vendors. This Sunday, as well as the Sonics’ touch Rugby League sessions, visitors will get a chance to play ping-pong, bike polo and basketball, relax to a wide range of music, test themselves on a pop-up climbing wall, and shop at a bustling street market.

For more information on Make Sundays special, check out To buy tickets for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, head to If you’d like to learn more about Rugby League in Bristol, point your browser at




Bristol Sonics face arguably the biggest game of their 11-year history this Saturday, when they take on Nottingham Outlaws in the Semi-Final of Conference League South at Clifton RFC (kick-off 2.30pm, free entry).

The Sonics, who finished second in the league, six points ahead of the Outlaws, are looking to book their first “Tier 3” Grand Final appearance in only their second season in amateur rugby league’s elite competitions.

The winners of Saturday’s clash will face either Sheffield-Hallam Eagles or Leicester Storm in the Conference League South Grand Final at Butts Park Arena, Coventry, on Sunday, September 15.

Bristol face a tough task on Saturday, with Nottingham heading to the South West on the back of a fine run of form that includes a 26-22 win over the Sonics when the teams met three weeks ago at Clifton.

The Sonics began the season brightly, beating title favourites Sheffield-Hallam – the Sheffield Eagles-affiliated side’s only loss so far this campaign – but have endured a dip in form over the last two months. Although Bristol have lost just twice in that period – once to the Outlaws and once to the Eagles – they have struggled to regain their early season form.

Sonics’ skipper Dom Swann, playing his tenth season for the club, has urged his side to seize the moment on Saturday. He said: “Our entire season boils down to 80 minutes of cup rugby on Saturday. Before the season began, our aim was to do well in the League in order to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to reach the Grand Final. We’ve done that. Now we have to finish the job.

“Nottingham are a terrific side, and we’ve enjoyed some very close games with them this year. When they first came down here, earlier in the season, we played superbly and beat them by 40 points. At their place, we struggled but came away with a draw. Then they came down here three weeks ago and beat us.

“They’ll be confident of turning us over, so we’ll have to be at the top of our game to make the Grand Final. We have the personnel and the skills to win, and being at home with a partisan crowd cheering us on will help, but we’ll only do that if we play to our potential. In recent weeks our execution has been poor, and we’ve required a lot of individual brilliance to get us out of tricky situations. We can’t expect that to be enough against as good a side as Nottingham. We have to play well as a team from the first minute to the last.”

Swann, who has seen the ups and downs of the Sonics’ 11-year existence at close quarters, has also called on supporters to come out in force to cheer on the side in their last home game of the 2013 season. He said: “We appreciate all the support we get and it would be great to see a large, noisy crowd cheering us on as we aim to make history. We’ve had some big games before, in lower leagues or the Challenge Cup, but this tops them all. To make the Grand Final, in only our second season at this elite level, would be a tremendous achievement. Entry to watch the match is free, and I’d encourage anyone who loves rugby of either code to come and cheer on the Sonics this Saturday.”

Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley is hopeful of naming a strong side to take on the Outlaws, but will be without full back Dan Evans for the crunch clash. Second-rower Anton Wells, who grabbed two tries in the Sonics’ last outing against St Albans, is likely to retain his place, behind a front row containing experienced props Wes Rodgers and Daniel Brooker. Fearnley is also hopeful that Jake Robertson, one of the club’s standout players this season, will also feature.

Bristol Sonics take on Nottingham Outlaws at Clifton RFC on Saturday 31st August, kick-off 2.30pm. Entry to the game is free.



Bristol Sonics will be in a celebratory mood this Saturday, as they host their final scheduled Conference League South game of the season at Clifton RFC.

The Sonics will return to Station Road in September for a home play-off fixture, almost certainly against Saturday’s opponents, Nottingham Outlaws.

The Sonics secured second place in the League, and a home play-off tie, thanks to a dramatic, late 30-28 win at Leicester Storm next weekend.

For their final home league fixture of the season, the Sonics are laying on a post-match barbecue and are encouraging local sports fans to turn up in their droves and celebrate a successful season for the city’s Rugby League club.

The BBQ doubles as the end-of-season party and presentation for the club’s junior section. Under 14 and under 16 players, and their families, are being encouraged to turn up early and take it what promises to be a bruising, tense first team fixture against Nottingham.

Entry to watch the game is free for all, while Clifton RFC’s bar will be open all afternoon for those who fancy a tipple.

The Sonics will once again be without a number of first team regulars for the game against Nottingham, but Head Coach Karl Fearnley is hopeful of welcoming back a number of players, as his squad gears up for the end-of-season play-offs and a tilt at Grand Final glory.

Fearnley, who missed last Saturday’s game in Leicester due to work commitments, said: “Now we’ve secured second spot in the League, we want to get some form going into the play-offs. I hear that the second team players who stepped up against Leicester played terrifically well, so they’ll get another chance to impress this weekend. We’ve always said that first team places will be awarded on merit, and they’ve earned another chance to impress.

“Although the result isn’t important on Saturday, we’ll be looking to put in another good performance against a top Nottingham side, in order to get some confidence and match fitness ahead of the play-offs. Games against the Outlaws are usually entertaining, and with the barbecue afterwards, it should be a terrific afternoon.”

Before the game, Sonics first team players are planning to take a trip up to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court Estate, to help with the promotion of the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup match in Bristol, which takes place at the Memorial Stadium in October. The Rugby League World Cup trophy will be on display at the Balloon Fiesta from Thursday 8th August until Saturday 10 August, as part of the nation-wide RLWC 2013 Trophy Tour.

Bristol Sonics take on Nottingham Outlaws at Clifton RFC, Henbury, on Saturday 10 August, kick-off 2.30pm.