Bristol Sonics have withdrawn from Conference League South with immediate effect.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 email@example.com, or by calling Wes on 07730 600 721. Would-be volunteers are encouraged to email Phil Cole on firstname.lastname@example.org