Player/coach Dom Swann has told his Bristol Sonics side to “make their own history” when they face Bath & Wiltshire Romans in the West of England League Grand Final at AFC Corsham’s Leafy Lane ground on Sunday (23rd August, K.O 14.30).

Swann, the club’s record points scorer and the only man to have played in every season since the Sonics’ first took to the field in 2003, wants his young side to “finish the season in style” by recording a second win in three weeks against League Leaders, and 2015’s form team, Bath & Wiltshire Romans.

The Sonics came into 2015 in disarray, with on and off-field issues forcing the club to withdraw from the elite Conference League South competition and drop down into the West of England League. Given this upheaval, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Sonics struggled to find form in the early part of the year, with the thrill of heavy victories tainted by the pain of tight losses to Somerset Vikings and Cheltenham Phoenix.

As the season has progressed, Bristol has finally clicked into gear. An impressive midweek performance against the Royal Marines, where the Sonics provided the military men with a scare in a pulsating performance, was followed by a dramatic 30-all draw at Dings with this season’s surprise package, Bath & Wiltshire Romans. It was the first time the new club, who rely heavily on Armed Forces players recruited from barracks in Wiltshire, had dropped points. That game, a fiery encounter that included a sin-binning and two sendings off, saw the Sonics roar back from a 14-point deficit to lead, only for the visitors to level the scores in the dying minutes.

Since then, the Sonics have been in prime form. Two weeks ago, an understrength Sonics side traveled to Bath’s Leafy Lane ground in Corsham and emerged victorious, inflicting a first defeat of the season on the confident Romans. Youngster Jack Uren, filling in for injured captain Alex Potts at hooker, grabbed four tries as the Sonics won 28-32.

Last week, Uren repeated the trick, crossing the whitewash four times as the Sonics overcame Somerset Vikings 48-22 at Dings to book a tantalising Grand Final re-match with Bath & Wiltshire Romans this Sunday.

Now player/coach Swann, who missed last week’s encounter due to the wedding of fellow Sonics coach Wes Rodgers, wants his side to finish the job. He said: “I’ve given the players a simple message: finish the job and make your own history. This is what we’ve worked all year for. It’s not been a great season off the field, and at times we’ve struggled on it, but all along we were focused on making the Grand Final to put ourselves in with a chance of winning some silverware. Now we’ve done that, we can focus on our next goal: beating Bath & Wiltshire Romans and winning the West of England League. We know what we have to do to beat them, and psychologically we’re in a good place as the only side in the region not to have lost to them this year. I’m in no doubt that it will be a very difficult game for us, though. I expect them to have all their experienced Forces players available for selection, and we know from little things we’ve picked up on that they’re really desperate to win that trophy, just as we are.”

The Sonics have appeared in a number of Grand Finals over the years in different competitions, and Swann is hoping that might make a difference on Sunday – despite the lack of big-game experience from some in his young, energetic side. He said: “Our last Grand Final was in 2011, where we beat Leicester Storm 28-20 at Aretians to become Rugby League Conference Midlands Premier Champions. There are very few of our squad who experienced that day, but one or two are still in the ranks, or will be there cheering us on from the sidelines. I’ve asked them to have a few words with the youngsters, and tell them about their experiences. This is a new experience for Bath, and we don’t yet know how they’ll respond, but a number of their players have international honours with Great Britain Combined Services so you’d expect them at least to take it in their stride. There’s a certain pressure to being favourites, and they’re definitely favourites.”

One player with experience who will controversially take to the field for Bath on Sunday is prop forward and captain Tom Howley. Alongside Sonics’ Dan Stuart-Cummins, Howley was sent off for his part in a brawl in a previous encounter between the sides, and was due to serve a one-match ban on Sunday. While Stuart-Cummins has accepted his punishment, Bath have written to the Rugby Football League to appeal the decision, allowing Howley to take his place in the side.

Howley is likely to be joined in the Romans’ starting line-up by Mike Harrison, a recent Great Britain Combined Services representative who played for the Sonics in Conference League South last season. These two players, along with the Romans’ strong-running pack, will arguably pose the greatest threat to the Sonics’ title ambitions on Sunday.

Dom Swann said: “Mike and Tom are terrific players and will be at the forefront of everything they do on Sunday. Nobody wants to miss out, which is why I’ll have a few selection headaches this week. Whoever takes to the field for us, I’m convinced they can do a job and help us win that trophy in their back yard.”

Swann is likely to return to the starting line-up, and can also call on experienced centre Mike Gaston for Sunday’s showdown in Corsham. Young stars Jack Farler and Jack Uren, who between them scored 28 of the Sonics’ 48 points last Saturday, will also make the starting line-up. Elsewhere, Swann is remaining tight-lipped and as yet, not even the players know who will be on the team sheet come 2.30 on Sunday afternoon.

Swann said: “I want to keep faith as much as I can with the young players and academy graduates who got us in this position, but we definitely need some extra experience in there, particularly in the pack. The game will be won and lost in the forwards, and we have to compete from the word go. That’s causing me a few headaches, but thankfully a few of the lesser-experienced lads have played brilliantly in the last couple of weeks, so I might just put my faith in them. I’ve still got a fair amount of thinking to do, though.”

Bristol Sonics face Bath & Wiltshire Romans in the West of England League Grand Final at AFC Corsham’s Leafy Lane ground on Sunday 23rd August, kick-off 2.30pm. Entrance is free.


2007: RLC West Midlands Division – WON (40-30 v Burntwood Barbarians at Chase High School, Burntwood)
2008: RLC National Grand Final – LOST (38-20 v Moorends Thorn Moor Mauraders at Derby RFC)
2010: RLC West Midlands Premier Division – LOST (24-20 v Coventry Bears in Golden Point extra time at Old Coventrians RFC)
2011: RLC West Midlands Premier Division – WON (28-20 v Leicester Storm at Aretians RFC, Patchway)

Dom Swann is the only player to have appeared – and scored – in each one of Bristol’s Grand Final matches.



Bristol Sonics face local rivals Somerset Vikings at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground this Saturday (August 15, K.O 16.30), with a place in the West of England League Grand Final at stake.

The Sonics head into their biggest game of the season to date in the midst of a rich vein of form. After drawing 30-all with Bath & Wiltshire Romans at Dings a fortnight ago, Bristol produced their best display of the season last Saturday to beat the same side 32-28, thanks largely to four tries from live-wire hooker and Sonics Academy product Jack Uren. It was the Romans’ first and so far only defeat of the season.

Bristol will be looking to maintain this good form when Somerset Vikings roll into town on Saturday. Player/coach Dom Swann, who will be missing Saturday’s game due to the wedding of Sonics stalwart Wes Rodgers, has told his side to focus on the threat the Vikings will pose, and forget about a possible Grand Final re-match with Bath & Wiltshire a week on Sunday.
The veteran half-back said: “Beating Bath last week at their place and end their long unbeaten run was brilliant, but it means nothing if we don’t play well this week and get through to the Grand Final. That’s been our focus all season. Last time Somerset came to Bristol we beat them comfortably, but they beat us down at their place last month, so we know that they’re a very strong and capable side on their day. They’ll be looking to finish off their season in style by getting to another Grand Final. If we take them lightly, disrespect them or have a poor attitude, we will lose – and rightly so. If we do the basics well, as we have been doing in the last couple of weeks, the result will look after itself.”

In Swann’s absence, similarly experienced player/coach Lawrence Roycroft will lead from the front on the pitch, with injured captain Alex Potts running things from the bench. Saturday’s squad features a mixture of young stars – Uren being joined by fast rising forward Olly Scholey, utility back Jack Farler, string running second row Matt Blacker and ever-present centre Kieran Harvey – and experienced players, with loose forward Tom Verber, prop forward Sam Collins and half-back Simon Bannister on hand to calm things down if tempers fray. Winger and leading scorer Dan Stuart-Cummins will play his final game of the season for the Sonics, having picked up a one-match ban – which comes into effect for the final should Bristol make it – following his part in an altercation with Bath & Wiltshire Romans’ Tom Howley (who will definitely miss the final).

Spectators are encouraged to come and cheer on the Sonics in what’s likely to be their final home game of 2015. The match takes place at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground, kicking off at 4.30pm. Entrance is free.



Bristol Sonics hopes of winning the 2015 West of England League title could be decided in the next week and a half, as the city’s Rugby League club faces three top-of-the-table clashes in quick succession.

The Sonics currently sit second in the West of England League table, with three games remaining. To have any chance of topping the table, and therefore getting a prime draw for the end-of-season Championship play-offs, Bristol must win all of those matches – starting with tomorrow night’s top-of-the-table clash with unbeaten leaders Bath & Wiltshire Romans at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground (Wednesday 29th July, kick-off 7.30pm).

Bath & Wiltshire Romans have been a revelation this year, marking their debut season in the West of England League with a string of brilliant performances. The Corsham-based outfit has made the most of their links with the armed forces, and can call upon a number of British Army Rugby League players with Great Britain Combined Services experience. 

In contrast, pre-season title favourites Bristol have endured an up-and-down season. High-scoring defeats of local rivals Somerset Vikings and Swindon St George were followed by narrow and frustrating defeats to Somerset and Cheltenham Phoenix. Following a number of weeks playing friendlies, the Sonics returned to league action on Saturday, holding off a late charge from Swindon St George to emerge victorious 24-28 at Swindon Supermarine Sports Club. That win leaves the Sonics second in the table, ahead of Somerset on points difference, with three tough games to play.

Bristol Sonics player/coach Dom Swann is under no illusions about the task facing his side on Wednesday night. He said: “Bath have been the form team in this division, and rightly sit top of the table. They’re a well-drilled, athletic side who have benefitted greatly from strong links with nearby British Army barracks and their strong Rugby League teams. We’ll have to be at the top of our game to beat them, but we have it in us to deliver what would probably be a shock given their strong form this season. If we do the basics well and defend better than we have done all season, we’ll push them close at the very least.”

Swann has been unable to pick from a full squad for much of the season, with a combination of illness, injury and player unavailability hindering his side’s quest for consistency. This week he’ll be missing a number of key players, including experienced heads Tom and Rob Verber, Will Tobin, Sam Collins and Mike Norman, but is bolstered by the return to action of hard-running prop forward Tony Harvey and younger brother Daniel. Swann also returns to the side after missing Saturday’s trip to Swindon, and his play-making partnership with hooker Alex Potts will be key to Bristol’s chances of overcoming a strong Romans side.

Swann said: “Wednesday night is not make or break for our play-off chances, but to guarantee finishing in the top two we may need to win two out of our three remaining fixtures. If we lose on Wednesday night, it makes it all that much harder. It certainly makes Saturday’s home game against Cheltenham Phoenix a must-win encounter, whatever happens.”

Following Wednesday night’s top-of-the-table clash, Bristol host Cheltenham Phoenix at Dings Crusaders RFC on Saturday August 1st, before travelling to Bath & Wiltshire Romans the following Saturday, 8th August. Entrance to both games will be free of charge, though the Sonics will be collecting donations to the fund set up by the family of Cheltenham player Zac France, who was seriously injured during the West of England League cup final earlier in the year.

Bristol Sonics take on Bath and Wiltshire Romans on Wednesday 29th July, kick-off 7.30pm, and Cheltenham Phoenix on Saturday August 1st, kick-off 2.30pm. Both games will take place at Landseer Avenue, home of Dings Crusaders RFC.



The Sonics will host the Royal Marines RL this Wednesday (24th June)  in a friendly fixture at Dings Crusaders RFC, 7pm kick-off.

The Marines are a military representative side and play annual fixtures against both military and civilian opponents.It will be the first time the 2 sides have met and will provide the Sonics with a final 13-a-side match before they have 2 weekends of 9’s in Brighton and Swindon.



Bristol Sonics will look to put the troubles of the past few months behind them when they start their West of England League campaign on Saturday.


Having withdrawn from the elite Conference League South competition earlier this year due to on and off-field issues, the Sonics have returned to their roots in the regional leagues, keen to rebuild the club from the ground upwards over coming years.


This weekend is a key part of that rebuilding process. Following the open age team’s game on Saturday, training for the Sonics Academy – the club’s hugely popular junior section – begins on Sunday morning (10am, Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze). At noon on Sunday, the Sonics are also hosting an “open meeting” for those interested in Rugby League in the area to come down, hear the club’s plans, and volunteer to get involved.


First, though, the club will be concentrating on matters on the field, with an enticing season-opener against friends and local rivals Somerset Vikings on Saturday afternoon (Dings Crusaders RFC, 2.30pm, free entry).


The two clubs met briefly in last weekend’s South West 9s Competition, with the Sonics coming out victorious on their way to the semi-finals. This weekend, though, looks set to be a much tougher and more demanding contest, with the Vikings likely to travel up to Bristol with a strong side.


Sonics player/coach Dom Swann has also named a strong squad for the game. It contains no less than eight players with experience of the Sonics’ previous Conference League South campaign, including the experienced Verber brothers, full-back Mike Norman, centre Mike Gaston, and second-row Joe Singleton. They’ll be joined by a swathe of new players, including forward Byrone Jerome, who starred in the Sonics’ nines exploits last weekend. The squad also includes two graduates of last year’s Sonics Academy under-16 side, Connor Grant and Joe Moore.

Swann is genuinely excited by the season ahead. He said: “Everyone knows we’ve been struggling, and had to make some hard decisions over the winter about where our future lies, for the time being at least. Since withdrawing from Conference League South, the response from players has been excellent. Numbers at training have been up, and there’s a great team spirit developing. Players are enjoying their rugby again, which is hugely important.

“In some ways, it doesn’t matter how we get on this season in terms of where we finish, or whether we win any silverware. We have some goals, which I’m not willing to discuss, but to begin with we’re going to take it week by week, and try to develop as a team. I’m looking for a big start, but we’re not under-estimating Somerset – we’ve had some brilliant games against them in the past, and they’re always a tough side to play.”


Bristol Sonics face Somerset Vikings at Landseer Avenue, home of Dings Crusaders RFC, on Saturday 9th May, kick-off 2.30pm. Entrance is free of charge.



Bristol Sonics have withdrawn from Conference League South with immediate effect.


The Lockleaze-based club was a founder member of the elite amateur league in 2013, but struggled throughout 2014 and was forced to postpone its’ first two games this season due to problems with player numbers. Following discussion with players, officials and the Rugby Football League, the Sonics have decided to withdraw from this season’s competition.


The Sonics will now focus their efforts on the West of England League, in which the club’s second team was due to compete in this summer. The Sonics will now run a single adult, “open age” side in the division, which kicks off on May 9th. In addition, Bristol’s Rugby League club will continue to further strengthen and develop its’ junior and youth sides, with teams at under 14 and under 16 level. The Sonics remain the only team in the region running a junior Rugby League programme.


Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole said: “This is one of the most gut-wrenching decisions we’ve had to make, and we thought long and hard before making the call to withdraw from Conference League South. We consulted with players, and unfortunately the level of commitment needed to complete a long, gruelling season in Tier 4 Rugby League was not there.


“I would like to emphasise that this is not the end for Rugby League in Bristol by any means. We will refocus the club on offering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play Rugby League. That has always been our core focus, and we may have lost sight of this a little in recent times. This is where our approach has always differed from some of our rivals. We have always said that we’re in this for the long haul, and that it will take many years for Rugby League to grow in the West of England. That is more obvious now than ever before.


“All community sports clubs go through ups and downs. We are still in a far better position now than we were in our early days, following the club’s inception in 2002. We’ve had knock-backs aplenty over the years, and have always bounced back. As long as there are people interested in Rugby League in Bristol, we’ll do that again.


“In due course we will be calling a meeting for those interested in Rugby League in Bristol, to work out our long term strategy. If we are going to grow the sport and the club, we need the commitment of players and volunteers. Those we have are firmly committed, and have been for some time, but we always need more.”


The Sonics will continue to train on Monday nights at Dings Crusaders RFC, Landseer Avenue, Lockleaaze, Bristol (7pm start), as they prepare for life in the West of England league.


Potential players can register their interest and find out more by emailing, or by calling Wes on 07730 600 721. Would-be volunteers are encouraged to email Phil Cole on




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.”




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, 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.



Bristol Sonics have stepped up their preparations for the 2015 Conference League South season by appointing a new coaching team.


Former skipper Dom Swann, who stood down as captain last autumn, will work alongside former Hull KR Academy player and Sonics veteran Wes Rodgers, and experienced player/coach Lawrence Rycroft.


The trio, who has over 40 years of playing and coaching experience between them, has vowed to improve the first team’s fortunes following a difficult 2014 season.


They’ll get a first chance to work with the Sonics’ squad on Monday, February 16th, when pre-season training commences at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground in Lockleaze (6.45pm meet for a 7pm start).


Dom Swann said: “Jason Talbot did a terrific job in difficult circumstances last year, and helped bring through a group of young players. We think he’s laid the foundations for a great 2015 season, though we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us. Conference League South will be stronger this year than ever before, so we’ll have to be at the top of our game to move up the table and compete for honours.”


Lawrence Rycroft, who joined the Sonics in 2013 and, like Swann, will combine playing and coaching, said: “We’ve identified areas to work on, and put together a plan that will give us the best chance of competing strongly in 2015. We think there’s the makings of a great side, based on the players who appeared regularly last year. We’re keen to get fresh blood involved, and places will be up for grabs from the first training session onwards. This is a new start, and the beginning of a new era for the Sonics.”


Wes Rodgers, who retired as a player at the start of 2014 after many years service to the Sonics, said: “I wasn’t around much last season but understand that it was a difficult one. When Dom and Lawrence asked me to come back and join the coaching team, I jumped at the chance. We know it will be hard work this season, but we showed back in 2012 during our Conference League Three campaign that it’s possible to build momentum as the season progresses. That’s what we’re aiming to do this season – get the players up to speed, used to the systems we want to play, and then look for gradual improvements between March and September.”


All three are keen to get new players involved this season, and have urged any prospective players – regardless of whether they have previous Rugby League experience – to head down to pre-season training when it begins on February 16.


Dom Swann said: “We’re looking for players for both first and second teams, and we’re keen to take a look at anyone who fancies giving Rugby League a go. It’s a hard, fast and rewarding sport, and we’ve got a great bunch of lads. We’ll be looking at improving the social side of things as well, so it should be a great experience.”


Bristol Sonics begin pre-season training on Monday 16th February at Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze, Bristol (7pm start).




Bristol Sonics’ first team will face their toughest test yet when Conference League South 2015 kicks off on March 21st.


The Sonics, who have spent the winter rebuilding following on-field struggles in 2014, will have to get the better of more teams than ever before if they are to succeed in 2015.


Conference League South has been expanded from six teams to ten, with Coventry Bears ‘A’, Torfaen Tigers, Llanelli-based The Raiders RLFC and Bristol’s oldest on-field rivals, Gloucestershire Warriors, joining the competition. The latter have been promoted following a partnership agreement with Championship 1 side University of Gloucestershire All Golds, who will provide players and coaching staff,


While all of the new clubs will provide a stern test for the West of England’s biggest community club, it’s the chance to renew first team rivalries with Gloucestershire Warriors that’s arguably the most exciting development. Bristol Sonics’ longest serving player, stand-off Dom Swann, is certainly looking forward to facing the Warriors again.


Swann said: “It was the games against the Warriors that the first team always used to look forward to most, so it’s good to have them back at our level again. They’ve struggled recently, but with the addition of lots of players from the All Golds and the University they should be very strong. We’ll have to be at our best to beat them, that’s for sure.


“From a player’s perspective, having ten teams in the league this season is much better. It’s exciting to go face different clubs, such as the two new Welsh teams. There are four teams with very strong links to professional clubs in the league this season, too, which means the standard will be very high. It’s going to be a tough ask for us to challenge for honours, but we feel like we’re in a better place than we were this time last year.”


The Sonics will begin their Conference League South campaign with a home fixture against Nottingham Outlaws at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground on March 21. The following Saturday they travel to Oxford Cavaliers, before returning home to host 2014 Conference League South Champions Valley Cougars on April 11th.


The Sonics are set to announce a new coaching team and pre-season training dates next week, following the departure of Head Coach Jason Talbot, who is relocating to Milton Keynes.


The club is also about to embark on their biggest recruitment drive to date, in order to attract both new players and volunteers.


Swann, who stepped down as first team captain in December following a decade in the role, said: “We’ve got a great group of players, but we’re always looking for new faces to add to both first and second team squads. Rugby League is a terrific sport to play – exciting, fast, tough and all-action. The vast majority of our squad started out as Rugby Union players, and many still play at a good standard in the winter. You don’t need previous experience of Rugby League to give it a go, just a willingness to get stuck in.”


Any players interested in finding out more, or trying Rugby League in Bristol, should contact Wes Rodgers on 07730 600 721, or email