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.