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 – www.bbc.co.uk/radiohumberside – 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 www.bristolsonics.com. Details of pre-season training sessions will be announced shortly.