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SUPER SONICS SATURDAY

Bristol Sonics will be in a celebratory mood this Saturday, as they host their final scheduled Conference League South game of the season at Clifton RFC.

The Sonics will return to Station Road in September for a home play-off fixture, almost certainly against Saturday’s opponents, Nottingham Outlaws.

The Sonics secured second place in the League, and a home play-off tie, thanks to a dramatic, late 30-28 win at Leicester Storm next weekend.

For their final home league fixture of the season, the Sonics are laying on a post-match barbecue and are encouraging local sports fans to turn up in their droves and celebrate a successful season for the city’s Rugby League club.

The BBQ doubles as the end-of-season party and presentation for the club’s junior section. Under 14 and under 16 players, and their families, are being encouraged to turn up early and take it what promises to be a bruising, tense first team fixture against Nottingham.

Entry to watch the game is free for all, while Clifton RFC’s bar will be open all afternoon for those who fancy a tipple.

The Sonics will once again be without a number of first team regulars for the game against Nottingham, but Head Coach Karl Fearnley is hopeful of welcoming back a number of players, as his squad gears up for the end-of-season play-offs and a tilt at Grand Final glory.

Fearnley, who missed last Saturday’s game in Leicester due to work commitments, said: “Now we’ve secured second spot in the League, we want to get some form going into the play-offs. I hear that the second team players who stepped up against Leicester played terrifically well, so they’ll get another chance to impress this weekend. We’ve always said that first team places will be awarded on merit, and they’ve earned another chance to impress.

“Although the result isn’t important on Saturday, we’ll be looking to put in another good performance against a top Nottingham side, in order to get some confidence and match fitness ahead of the play-offs. Games against the Outlaws are usually entertaining, and with the barbecue afterwards, it should be a terrific afternoon.”

Before the game, Sonics first team players are planning to take a trip up to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court Estate, to help with the promotion of the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup match in Bristol, which takes place at the Memorial Stadium in October. The Rugby League World Cup trophy will be on display at the Balloon Fiesta from Thursday 8th August until Saturday 10 August, as part of the nation-wide RLWC 2013 Trophy Tour.

Bristol Sonics take on Nottingham Outlaws at Clifton RFC, Henbury, on Saturday 10 August, kick-off 2.30pm.

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FEAST OF RL IN BRISTOL THIS WEEKEND

Would-be Rugby League fans are being treated to a feast of Rugby League in Bristol this weekend, as the countdown to the city’s involvement in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup intensifies.

Fans keen to get a taste of League before the city hosts a World Cup game between USA and the Cook Islands in October can take in no less than FOUR matches in Bristol this weekend, with games spread over Saturday and Sunday.

 

Both Bristol Sonics’ adult sides will be in action on Saturday at Clifton RFC, Henbury, with the action starting at 1pm as the club’s second team aims to boost their West of England League play-off hopes with a win over local rivals Somerset Vikings.

 

Then, from 2.30pm, the Sonics take on fellow Conference League South title rivals Sheffield Hallam Eagles in a must-win shoot-out for top spot.

 

The Sonics currently sit top of the Conference League South table, one point ahead of pre-season favourites Sheffield Hallam Eagles, a club set up by Sheffield Hallam Eagles and 2012 Kingstone Press Championship winners Sheffield Eagles, and featuring many players from the latter’s “performance pathway”.

 

When the two sides met on the opening day of the season at Don Valley Stadium, home of the Eagles’ professional side and training base for London 2012 Gold medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill, it was the Sonics who prevailed in a high scoring thriller. Yet when the two sides last clashed, at Dings in early June, it was Sheffield who won, battering the home side in another entertaining contest.

 

The two could yet meet in the end-of-season Grand Final at Hemel Stags’ Pennine Way ground in September, but neither side are looking that far ahead. With top spot at stake, both teams will be focused on getting a win on Saturday.

 

Sonics coach Aran Simm, who will be coaching both sides on Saturday due to the absence of Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley, said: “We’ve got a chance to do something very special on Saturday, but it will be incredibly difficult. Sheffield are a top side full of talented young players, some of whom are pressing for selection to the Eagles’ Championship side, which shows their quality. If we win it would be a momentous result. We’ve already beaten them once this season, so we know it can be done. Whatever happens, it should be a superb, high quality, highly intense game of Rugby League.”

 

Simm will have to make do without a string of Sonics’ first team regulars, including captain Dom Swann, prop Daniel Brooker and loose forward Rob Verber. He can welcome back hooker Harry Marson, and hopes to have experienced forward Wes Rodgers available after a short injury lay-off.

 

Bristol Sonics’ Chairman Phil Cole is excited by the prospect of Saturday’s double-header at Clifton. He said: “This is the first, and possibly only, time this season both adult teams will be at home on the same afternoon. With both games meaning a lot to the teams’ league position, we’d love to get a big crowd to support the lads. They’ve been doing great things on the pitch for a while now, so it would be great for the Bristol public to get behind them. Even if you’ve never been to watch a Rugby League match before, we can guarantee you’ll be entertained.”

 

Entrance to Clifton on Saturday is £3, including complimentary, full colour matchday programme.

 

The Rugby League action continues on Sunday, as the Sonics’ juniors face their counterparts from Old Patesians, Cheltenham, at Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze (10.30am start, free entry). The Sonics under 14 and under 16 teams will both be in action, for only their second outing of the season, following games against Aber Valley in Wales last month.

For more information about the Sonics, fans are advised to check out www.bristolsonics.com and www.twitter.com/BristolSonicsRL
SATURDAY 6th JULY
Clifton RFC, Henbury
13.00 – Bristol Sonics ‘A’ v Somerset Vikings (West of England League)
14.30 – Bristol Sonics v Sheffield Hallam Eagles (Conference League South)
Entrance £3 including programme
SUNDAY 7th JULY
Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze
10.30 – Bristol Sonics U16 v Chletenham Old Patesians U16
followed by Bristol Sonics U14 v Cheltenham Old Patesians U14
Free entrance
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SONICS ANNOUNCE 2013 JUNIOR PROGRAMME

In the build-up to the arrival of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in Bristol this autumn, Bristol Sonics have announced a full summer programme of junior Rugby League in the city.

The programme features a mix of training sessions and summer camps for under 14s (12-14 years-old) and under 16s (14-16), as well as coaching in four secondary schools around Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The programme, which is being run in association with the University of Gloucestershire All Golds and Clifton RFC, will begin in May and run until September.

The action begins on Sunday 19th May at Clifton RFC in Henbury (10.30am), with a 90-minute taster session for boys aged between 12 and 16 (Under 14s and Under 16s). The sessions, which will be run by fully qualified and CRB-checked coaches, continue weekly until July and will lead to matches against other teams in the region.

Throughout June, Sonics coaches will also conduct weekly sessions in four secondary schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, including John Cabot Academy, which will include coaching for Year 8 and Year 9 girls. The schools programme will culminate with a junior Rugby League festival in the first week of July.

For the first time, the Sonics will also be running a series of extended weekday ‘summer camps’ for U14 and U16 boys during the school holidays. The sessions, which take place at Clifton RFC in Henbury, begin on July 17 and continue until September 4.

Any parents or players interested in playing junior Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire this summer can find more information and contact details for coaches at www.bristolsonics.com

Q&A

Q: What ages can play junior rugby with the Sonics?

A: The Sonics are running Under 14 and Under 16 age groups. Boys can play “one year up” according to RFL rules so U14s covers anyone in school years 8 and 9, and U16’s covers school years 10 and 11. The longer–term aim is to start an U19’s team but at the moment the only option for anyone aged over 16 is to train with the senior squads.

Q: Do I need to register before coming to a training session?

A: No, a brief registration form will need to be filled in but that can be done when you attend your first training session.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: The cost is £25 for the season which covers a training t-shirt (will be given out as soon as payment received), training costs and match day costs and insurance.

Q: When will matches be held?

A: Matches will be held on Sunday mornings, typically with an 11:00 kick-off. The match schedule for both age groups is being finalised with teams from Gloucestershire, Somerset and South Wales .

Q: Where are training / matches held?

A: Clifton RFC. Directions here: http://www.bristolsonics.com/the-club/find-us/

Q: How are the Club’s coaches qualified?

A: All of the Club’s coaches are qualified through accredited RFL (Rugby Football League) coaching courses to UKCC Level 2. All coaches are also is First aid qualified, have completed the RFL’s Safeguarding and Protecting Children course and are Criminal Records bureau (CRB) checked.

 

Q: What equipment do I need to play Rugby League?

A: For matches a playing shirt will be provided by the club but players should bring suitable rugby shorts and socks. For training children will be expected to wear their own suitable kit, although will be provided with a training shirt.

Rugby / football boots and gum shields should be brought to training and matches. Players can wear padded tops and scrum caps although this is down to personal choice.

 

Q: Do I need to have played Rugby League before?

A: No, full training will be provided.

 

Q: Who can I contact to find out more information?

A: Email juniors@bristolsonics.com and your enquiry will be directed to the correct person.

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SWANN CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Bristol Sonics captain Dom Swann has warned his side that they must improve dramatically to have any chance of maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.

The Sonics face Nottingham Outlaws, holders of Conference League South’s only other 100 per cent record, at Clifton RFC on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm). With the teams currently tied on points at the top of the table, the winners have a chance to go clear of their rivals, and a chasing pack led by pre-season title favourites Sheffield-Hallam Eagles.

Last weekend, the Sonics needed a last minute try from veteran fullback James Gross to keep their winning start to the season in tact. The previous week, they were fairly unimpressive against Conference League South new boys Northampton Demons but ground out a result in terrible conditions.

Skipper Swann knows that the Sonics must improve considerably if they are to maintain their winning start to the season, especially against an in-form Nottingham side that provided stiff competition to Bristol last season.

Swann said: “So far this season the results have been good, but the performances less so. We’ve somehow found enough to win, even when we’ve played badly, but we can’t keep playing poorly and expect to get the results, especially against good sides like Nottingham. This week I’ll be looking for a big improvement.”

In all three matches this season, the Sonics have made life difficult for themselves. Although they’ve often started and ended games well, they’ve yet to put in an ’80 minute performance’.

Stand-off Swann, who is now into his 11th season with the Sonics, is all to aware of the problems that need rectifying. He said: “It’s true that we’ve been making a lot of silly errors and letting our discipline lapse. This has allowed teams to get back into matches we should have been winning comfortably. I think there’s still some rustiness there. We know we’re not in great form, but the response in training has been excellent, and I’m expecting an improved performance on Saturday.”

Swann also praised the support his side has received so far this season. He said: “Despite the foul weather, there was a decent crowd at our first home game against Northampton. It really lifts the team when we have a big crowd cheering us on, so I’d encourage people to get up to Clifton on Saturday and show their support for one of Bristol’s most successful sports teams of recent years.”

Bristol Sonics face Nottingham Outlaws on Saturday, April 27 at Clifton RFC. Entrance to the top-of-the-table clash with Nottingham Outlaws is £3, including complimentary matchday programme. Entry for under-16s is free.

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REGISTRATION NIGHT THIS FRIDAY

Bristol Sonics preparation for the 2013 summer season gets underway in earnest this Friday (March 8), with a “Registration Night” for players and fans at Clifton RFC, Henbury (7pm start).

The night has been designed to allow players and fans to find out the club’s plans for the coming season, to sign membership forms and pay their dues for the 2013 season. Incentives, such as money off fees and free club merchandise, are available for those who pay their “subs” on Friday night.

There will be a presentation from the Sonics committee on the club’s aims for the coming season (7.30pm) and a chance to watch the St Helens-Warrington Super League game (8pm) on a big screen. The evening has been designed to cater for returning regulars and newcomers alike.

More details about membership prices and player “subs” can be found here. This season, the club has introduced a “social membership” for non-playing members, which includes entry into all home matches and free coach travel to away games. Meanwhile, playing subs for first team squad members have been capped at £120 (payable via a standing order over six months), or £120 if paid all at once, before the start of the season (for example at Friday’s registration night).