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GET READY FOR SUPER SONICS SATURDAY!

All four Bristol Sonics’ teams will be in action on the same day for the first time in the side’s history this Saturday (July 5th), as the club hosts the city’s first ever festival of Rugby League.

 

Super Sonics Saturday will take place on Saturday July 5th at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue Ground in Lockleaze, Bristol.

 

From 11.30am, sports fans will be able to take in no less than four games, with the club’s Under 14 and Under 16 Academy teams, adult second team, and adult first team all in action.

 

Entry for Super Sonics Saturday will be free all day, and fans will be able to quench their thirst and satisfy their appetite thanks to a bar and food. The club will also be holding a raffle, with exclusive Rugby League themed prizes including signed international shirts, match tickets and Sonics branded merchandise.

 

Special edition matchday programmes, featuring articles about the club and Rugby League in Bristol, will also be available.

 

The action begins at 11.30am with the Sonics Academy U14s and U16s simultaneously in action across two pitches. The Under 14s, who last weekend claimed a memorable 44-28 win away at Swansea Valley Rhinos, face Leicester Storm from the Midlands.

 

At 1pm, Bristol Sonics ‘A’ – the club’s second adult side – will be looking to continue their good run of form when they face local rivals Swindon St George in the West of England League.

 

The highlight of the day will then follow at 3pm, as the Sonics’ first team take on Oxford Cavaliers in Conference League South, one of the UK’s leading elite amateur Rugby League competitions.

 

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole said: “We’re all really excited about the prospect of hosting Bristol’s first Rugby League festival on July 5th. It means a lot to be able to have all of the club’s teams playing on the same day. Supporters can watch the future of the club in the shape of our under 14 and under 16 teams, and watch our adult sides battling it out with local rivals. The bar will be open and entry is free, so there’s no better chance to come and watch some Rugby League in Bristol, whether you’re a confirmed fan or an interested newcomer.”

 

For more details on Sonics Super Saturday, fans can visit www.bristolsonics.com, or connect with the club on Twitter via www.twitter.com/BristolSonicsRL

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SONICS LOOK FOR RAPID IMPROVEMENT

Bristol Sonics’ players are so determined to turn around the club’s fortunes, starting with this Saturday’s game at home to Valley Cougars, that they’ve started turning up to training 20 minutes early.

 

Following the club’s fourth straight Conference League South defeat last weekend, the players decided to turn up to training sessions early in order to put in extra work.

 

Bristol Sonics captain Dom Swann said: “After last Saturday’s defeat to Leicester the players got together and decided that we need to go that extra yard to turn around our fortunes sooner, rather than later. So we’ve started turning up at training 20 minutes early so that we can work on aspects of our game that we’ve been struggling with in matches. We all hate losing, and we hate making the same mistakes over and over again. This extra work is focused on cutting out those mistakes, both in defence and attack.”

 

The Sonics have lost each of their four 2014 Conference League South matches by wide margins, conceding over 40 points on each occasion. They are currently the only side without a win to their name and are rooted to the foot of the Conference League South table.

 

Bristol will be hoping this extra training will make a difference when they take on cross-Severn rivals Valley Cougars from Wales at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground this Saturday (7 June, Kick-off 2.30pm, free entry).

 

The Cougars have enjoyed a mixed start to the season, suffering a string of heavy losses but notching up an impressive win over Leicester Storm, who beat the Sonics 46-16 last weekend despite being down to 12 men for much of the game. Last weekend the Cougars travelled light to Champions Sheffield-Hallam Eagles and were beaten 120-6.

 

Sonics Head Coach Jason Talbot is expecting a much sterner test this weekend. He said: “Sometimes players let you down, and the fact that the Cougars went to Sheffield with 10 players has no bearing on this weekend’s match. They’ll be at full strength when they play us, as it’s a short trip and the Welsh-English rivalry is so intense. I’m expecting them to be a big, strong side that will pose a big test. If we’re going to win, we’ll have to dramatically improve, but we’ve been going well in training so hopefully we can translate that form into a win.”

 

Talbot has been particularly pleased with the commitment shown by his players of late. He said: “Numbers have been up at training recently and everyone is determined to turn our form around. I’ve been particularly pleased with the way the players took it on themselves to turn up early. That shows me that they’re hungry for success, and that there’s a steeliness there that was maybe lacking earlier in the season. You can tell a lot about players when they’re faced with adversity – the reaction we’ve shown to getting such a bad start to the season is encouraging.”

 

Bristol Sonics take on Valley Cougars at Landseer Avenue, Lockleaze, on Saturday June 7th, kick-off 2.30pm.

 

Meanwhile, Bristol Sonics ‘A’, the club’s second string, return to action on Saturday when they travel to face local rivals Swindon St George. They’ll be hoping to notch up a morale-boosting victory.

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TALBOT: SONICS “HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”

Bristol Sonics’ Head Coach Jason Talbot believes his side is “heading in the right direction”, despite a disappointing start to the season.

 

The Sonics are rooted to the bottom of Conference League South following a trio of heavy defeats, but Talbot remains convinced that his side will be in the play-off picture at the end of the season.

 

Talbot, who took over coaching duties at the Sonics in January, said: “We’ve had a tough start to the season, but we’re heading in the right direction. In each game we’ve had decent spells, we just need to play better for longer periods. With so many personnel changes over the close season, this team is still a work in progress. We’ve barely trained together as a squad due to a number of factors, but over the last couple of weeks numbers have improved and the commitment is impressive. It will still take time to get where we want to be, but the signs are good.”

 

This Saturday, (May 31st) the Sonics travel to the East Midlands to face old foes Leicester Storm. The Storm has enjoyed a mixed start to the season, but should prove a stern test for the struggling Sonics.

 

Last season, the Sonics twice came from behind to claim dramatic, last-gasp victories in Leicester, and captain Dom Swann would love a repeat performance. He said: “In both of those matches last year we struggled for long periods, but we had enough desire and belief to hang in the game and take our chances when they came. We may need a similar sort of backs-against-the-wall performance on Saturday to defeat what I hear is a big, strong Leicester side. We could do with getting a win sooner rather than later, and Saturday would be a great time to notch up our first points of the season”.

 

Bristol Sonics A, the club’s second team, will also be looking to notch up their first win of the season when they host Oxford Cavaliers A at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground (K.O 2.30pm, free entry).

 

The Sonics’ second string, which features a number of young players from the club’s Academy set-up, produced a stirring second half comeback in their first game of the campaign a fortnight ago. Although they lost 70-50 at local rivals Gloucestershire Warriors, there were many promising signs for coach Tristan Moore.

 

He said: “We struggled a bit to begin with at Gloucester, but we were excellent in the second half. We trailed 38-8 at half-time, so to score 42 points in the second half was a tremendous achievement. Many sides would have folded, but the lads dug in and showed what we can do. We’ll be looking to tighten up defensively this weekend and hopefully that will be enough to put us on the road to a first win of the season.”

 

In a big weekend for the Sonics, the club’s Under-16 Academy Side will also play their first match of the season. They travel to Cheltenham to face Old Patesians on Sunday.

 

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SONICS TO MAKE LANDSEER AVENUE HOME

Bristol Sonics have agreed a deal with Dings Crusaders RFC which will see the latter’s Landseer Avenue ground in Lockleaze become the home of Rugby League in the city for the foreseeable future.

 

All open age and junior training sessions and matches will be held at the ground, starting immediately. Training sessions for the club’s two open age teams will take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights (6.45pm for a 7pm start), beginning today, 22nd April.

 

In addition, the Sonics will work with Dings Crusaders to make Landseer Avenue the focal point of Rugby League in Bristol. This will include hosting regular social events at the ground, increasing branding and working to raise awareness of the sport in the city and the important role the ground plays in the Sonics’ activities.

 

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole said he was delighted that agreement had been reached to make Landseer Avenue the Sonics’ home base. He said: “We’re thrilled that a deal has been agreed that will see the Sonics calling Landseer Avenue home for the foreseeable future. We have nothing but admiration for Steve Lloyd and all at Dings Crusaders for the way in which they’ve made the Sonics welcome on the previous times we’ve used the ground. We’re positive that securing a lengthy deal to make Landseer Avenue our base will help us push Rugby League forward in the city, following the massive boost given to the game following Bristol’s successful hosting of a 2013 Rugby League World Cup fixture last October.”

 

Bristol Sonics’ Club Captain, Dom Swann, said: “The players enjoyed the experience of playing at Landseer Avenue last season. The place feels like home and we’re positive that we can make it a “fortress”. The ground is easily accessible and has great facilities, so hopefully we can use this to build interest and get more fans supporting us on match days. We’re looking forward to kicking off the season this weekend at our new permanent home.”

 

Bristol Sonics’ first team begin their 2014 Conference League South campaign this Saturday at Landseer Avenue, with a difficult game against 2013 champions and 2014 title favourites Sheffield Hallam Eagles (kick-off 2.30pm).

 

Junior Rugby League will return to Landseer Avenue from Sunday May 11th, with regular training sessions and matches at both Under 14 and Under 16 level. More details will be announced in due course.

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COACH KEEN TO WELCOME NEW PLAYERS

Bristol Sonics’ Head Coach Jason Talbot has confirmed that the club is looking for new players for the 2014 Rugby League season, which begins in April.

The Sonics begin pre-season training on Wednesday 26th February, and Talbot is keen to welcome new faces.

Training sessions will take place weekly on Wednesday nights (7-8:30pm) at Dings Crusaders RFC in Lockleaze. Talbot is keen to stress that places in both the first and second team squads are always up for grabs.

I want to make it clear that all of our sides are picked on merit,” the Dewsbury-born coach said. “If you commit to coming down to training and want to play Rugby League, regardless of whether you’ve played the sport before, you’ll be considered for selection and will almost certainly get a game. There’s a difference in standard between the first and second teams, but many of our first team regulars started out in the second team and progressed to the firsts. If you’re good enough and willing to learn, we’d love to have you on board.”

The Sonics run two open-age adult teams. The club’s first team plays in the elite Conference League South competition, while the seconds play in the more social West of Englnad League.

We’re looking for players of all abilities,” Talbot said. “If you take your rugby seriously and want to progress, we can offer a high standard with our first team. We have players who come from good quality amateur and semi-professional rugby union clubs, players brought up on League, students and keen youngsters. Some of our other players hadn’t played much rugby of either code at all until they came to us, but have worked hard and are now first team regulars. If that standard’s too high for you but you want to give it a go, our second team players and coaches will make you very welcome.

Whatever your motivation, we’d love to see you at training.”

Sonics’ captain Dom Swann, who has been with the club since its first season in 2003, echoed Talbot’s sentiments. He said: “Rugby League is a terrific sport to play – it’s all action, with big hits, but the basics are easy to learn. Many of us started playing union, so if you’ve played that code you should be able to pick up League pretty easily. If you haven’t, you can still make the grade. If you’ve ever watched Super League on Sky or the Challenge Cup on the BBC and thought ‘I’d like to give that a go’, I’d encourage you to come down to training and see for yourself.”

Bristol Sonics will be training weekly on Wednesday nights at Dings Crusaders RFC, Landseer Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol, BS7 9YS (see map below) from 26th February. Sessions, which last an hour and a half, begin at 7pm.

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SONICS ANNOUNCE COACHING SHAKE-UP

Bristol Sonics have appointed a new coaching and management team to drive the club forward in 2014.

 

Following the decision of Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley to step back from coaching, former assistant Jason Talbot has been appointed head coach with immediate effect.

 

Talbot has been overseeing first team training since early January, and faces his first test as Head Coach on February 1st, when the Sonics travel to face National Conference League Premier side Hull Dockers in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

 

To allow Talbot to concentrate on coaching, Tom Bedkowski has been appointed First Team Manager. He takes over from Nick Brook, who will continue to assist the club on match days. Bedkowski recently worked as Team Liaison Officer for the Cook Islands national side during Rugby League World Cup 2013.

 

Talbot brings a wealth of experience to the role of Head Coach. He has previously coached a number of amateur sides, and has been heavily involved in RAF and British Armed Forces representative Rugby League for the past two decades. He’s previously coached the RAF Development side, acted as assistant coach to the full RAF side for three years, and was Head Coach on the RAF tour to Australia in 2009. He’s currently technical analyst for the RAF, secretary of GB Armed Forces Rugby League, and Forces representative on the RFL Community Board.

 

As you’d expect, Talbot is relishing his new role with the Sonics. He said: “As head coach of the Sonics I am hoping to build a club culture that will be based on honesty and professional attitudes to playing and training amongst players and staff. Along with everyone else involved with the team, I would like to see the Sonics as the best-run club in the league. First we need to broaden our player base and forge links to unite all the RL elements in Bristol.

 

“My coaching philosophy is simple. You can be as big or fast as you want, but if you don’t possess the basic skills of passing, catching and tackling you will always be beaten by a more agile and skillful team. It’s a simple game that people try to overcomplicate.

 

“Our game plan will be simple but effective and executed by a skillful group of individuals who want to play for the Sonics, but most importantly each other. One thing I’ve learned from my time in the military is the lengths people will go to for a mate. I want my Sonics team to fight for each other, which in turn will bring success for the club.”

 

Bristol Sonics Chairman Phil Cole has wasted no time in praising the Dewsbury-born coach. He said: “We’re thrilled to have a coach as experienced and motivated as Jason take charge of our first team squad. He takes over at an exciting time for the club, following the excitement of seeing a Rugby League World Cup 2013 match in Bristol last autumn, and all the goodwill and publicity that brought. I have no doubt that he will do a terrific job. From what I’ve heard, he’s brought a lot of new ideas to training and the players are feeding off his enthusiasm. It bodes well for the season.”

 

Cole also put on record his thanks to Karl Fearnley, who oversaw the most successful period in the club’s history to date on the pitch. Under Fearnley’s stewardship, the Sonics won a string of trophies, and moved up into the elite “tier 3” level of amateur Rugby League.

 

Cole said: “On behalf of everyone at the club, I’d like to thank Karl for his immense contribution to the Sonics over the last decade. Thanks to his coaching and hard work behind the scenes, the club has developed drastically. We will never forget his contribution as coach, and we look forward to his continued involvement on the committee over the years to come.”

 

Karl Fearnley will continue to be involved with the Sonics as Director of Rugby, but will re-focus on club and junior development. He will work closely with new Junior Chairman Ian Waters.

 

The coaching and management shake-up extends to the second team, where former first team players and second team regulars Stafford Lloyd and Tristan Moore will take charge. They will jointly coach and manage the second team, which begins its West of England League campaign in May.

 

Stafford Lloyd said: “I’m delighted that myself and Tristan have been appointed to take charge of our second team. We see it as a vital part of the club – a place for new players, youngsters and old heads to come together to play Rugby League and have a laugh. We think the second team should be the beating heart of the club – a way of attracting newcomers, retaining players and giving talented youngsters a chance to prove their skills in open age rugby. We’d encourage anyone who fancies playing Rugby League, regardless of experience or ability, to come down and give it a go. We’ll make you very welcome.”

The Sonics are currently in pre-season training. Their last session before Saturday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup match at Hull Dockers will take place on the outdoor 4G pitch at SGS College Wise Campus, Filton, on Tuesday 28th January, starting at 7.45pm. New players are always welcome.

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PRE-SEASON TRAINING DETAILS ANNOUNCED

Bristol Sonics will begin pre-season training on Monday 13th January, ahead of their involvement in the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup in February.

 

Players old and new are invited to head down to Old Elizabethans RFC, Severn Road, Hallen, BS10 7RZ on Monday and Wednesday nights (6.45pm meet for a 7pm start).

 

With the Challenge Cup beginning on February 1st, the Sonics have just six sessions to get into shape before taking on National Conference League heavyweights Hull Dockers.

 

Sonics captain Dom Swann is encouraging all players, whether regulars from previous seasons or keen newcomers, to head down to training. He said: “It’s vital that as many players as possible get to training on Monday and Wednesday nights over the next few weeks. We want to get the season off to the best possible start in Hull, but to do that we need to train hard and make sure that we’re ready for what will be a bruising encounter.”

 

Following the Challenge Cup game, training will move to the Sonics permanent base for 2014, details of which are due to be announced in the next few weeks.

 

The dates of pre-season training at Old Elizabethans, Hallen, are as follows:

 

Monday 13th January
Wednesday 15th January

Monday 20th January
Wednesday 22nd January
Monday 27th January
Wednesday 29th January

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SONICS TO FACE DOCKERS IN CUP

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.

 

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SONICS AWAIT CHALLENGE CUP FATE

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.

 

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SONICS WANT TO BUILD ON WORLD CUP SUCCESS

Bristol Sonics have promised to build on the success of last night’s Rugby League World Cup 2013 game in the city.

 

Over 7,000 people descended on the Memorial Stadium, home of Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby, to watch the USA Tomahawks record a famous 32-20 debut World Cup win over the Cook Islands.

 

It was the first time top flight Rugby League had been played in Bristol since 1911, when Australia beat the West and Wales 23-3 at Ashton Gate.

 

Many of the spectators were watching Rugby League for the first time, and the Sonics are keen to build on the interest created to boost the sport at grassroots level in the region.

 

Sonics Chairman Phil Cole, one of the people who founded the club back in 2002, said: “Last night was a superb occasion and a great spectacle, and for those of us in the region involved in the community game it was a brilliant shot in the arm.

 

“There were so many newcomers to Rugby League in the crowd, and it’s our job now to try and harness the interest and excitement created by Rugby League World Cup 2013 coming to our city to increase the numbers of players, fans, volunteers and sponsors for the game at grassroots level, not just in Bristol but in the wider region.”

 

Sonics captain Dom Swann, the sole surviving player from the club’s debut season in 2003, is urging anyone interested in Rugby League to get in touch with the club.

 

He said: “The Sonics are always on the look out for new players, fans and volunteers, and it would be great to see some of those people who enjoyed last night’s game getting involved in some way.

 

“Anyone interested in getting involved, in whatever capacity, can contact us through our website at www.bristolsonics.com and we’ll get back to them. We run two adult teams, a number of junior sides and conduct coaching sessions in schools. If you live in the area and want more Rugby League, the Sonics would like to hear from you.”

 

The Sonics were formed in 2002 by a group of local Rugby League enthusiasts, and in the early years struggled to get a foothold in a city better known for its connections with football and rugby union. Since then, the club has grown steadily and is now one of the leading community clubs outside of the North of England.

 

Phil Cole said: “When a few of us sat down in the George pub in Filton back in September 2002, we could never have envisaged a Rugby League World Cup game being played in our city. It hasn’t always been easy trying to grow the game in this part of the country, as our friends at Gloucestershire Warriors, Swindon St George and Somerset Vikings would agree, but there is a feeling that slowly and surely Rugby League is growing.

 

“We want to introduce a whole new generation of young people to our great sport. We already run some junior teams, but if there is interest we’d love to run more. If only a fraction of those who came last night go on to attend more Rugby League matches, get involved as players, or give their precious time as volunteers, it can only be a great thing for the Sonics and the sport as a whole.”

 

Anyone interested in getting involved in Rugby League in the city can contact the Sonics through the Get Involved section of this website.