Bristol Sonics’ unbeaten record will face its sternest test of the season on Saturday, when form team Sheffield Hallam Eagles make the long trip Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground in Lockleaze.
With the Sonics usual home ground Clifton RFC unavailable for the next four weeks due to urgent pitch repairs, Saturday’s crunch game will be played at Landseer Avenue in Lockleaze, home of rugby union National League 2 side Dings Crusaders.
The Sonics will be based at Landseer Avenue until the end of June. That means all first and second team games, and under-14 and under-16 coaching sessions, which begin this Sunday (19th May, 10.30am), will take place at Dings’ famous home ground.
Saturday’s game is undoubtedly the most important game of the season so far for both sides. The Sonics won a high scoring nail-biter when the two sides clashed on the opening day of the season, but since then the Eagles have swept aside all-comers with ease.
The Sonics have yet to taste defeat this season, having won all five of their Conference League South matches. While there have been some comfortable victorties, including last weekend’s 40-6 away win at St Albans, the Sonics have yet to hit top form.
With Sheffield Hallam able to call on Academy players from professional side Sheffield Eagles, the 2012 Kingstone Press Championship winners, Sonics’ Director of Rugby Karl Fearnley knows his side face a tough task on Saturday.
Fearnley said: “If we’re not at the top of our game on Saturday, the Eagles will rip us apart. They’re a fantastic side, and can call on some extremely talented young players, some who have huge futures in professional Rugby League. The key battle will be in the forwards. If we can slow them down and win that battle, we’ll have a great chance of winning. It should be a cracking game.”
Fearnley is sweating on the fitness of influential captain Dom Swann, who inspired his team to victory last weekend. The veteran stand-off will have a fitness test before the game. The Sonics will also be without hookers Harry Marson, who impressed last weekend, and Matt Williams, who has chosen to step down to Tier 4 and play with his local side, Gloucestershire Warriors.
Sonics second team will be looking to build on their good start to the West of England League season when they travel to Oxford Cavaliers on Saturday.
Last weekend the Sonics’ Seconds opened their account with a hard-fought 26-20 win over bitter local rivals Swindon St George.
Bristol Sonics face Sheffield Hallam Eagles at Dings Crusaders RFC, Lockleaze, on Saturday 18 May, kick-off 2.30pm.