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.

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