New Bristol Sonics Chairman Byron Edwards has issued an invitation to all prospective Rugby League players to head down to pre-season training this week writes Matt Anniss.
With the 2017 West of England League season fast approaching, the Sonics begin pre-season training this Wednesday, 5 April, at Dings Crusaders’ Landseer Avenue ground (6.45pm for a 7.00pm start).
Chairman Edwards, who also plays as a prop forward for the Sonics, has invited all those interested in playing Rugby League in Bristol and South Gloucestershire to head down to training and stake their claim for a first team place.
He said: “The Sonics are always looking for new adult players regardless of age or previous experience and with training starting on Wednesday, now is the time to head down to Dings and get involved. We’ll make you very welcome and you don’t need to worry if you’ve not played League before, as we’ll give you coaching on the rules, tactics, technique and the finer points of the sport.
“League is a fast, dynamic, exciting, all-action contact sport that rewards effort and team work. The sport is not known by those who play it as `The Greatest Game’ for nothing!”
Edwards is one of three Sonics players who recently travelled across to Dublin as part of the West of England Lionhearts representative side that beat Ireland Under-20s 36-32 in a thriller. He believes that the potential to represent your country on the international stage will be a draw for some prospective players.
“It was such an honour to represent the West of England Lionhearts over in Ireland and the forthcoming international tours they have planned for 2018 and 2019 are hugely exciting. The squad is made up of players from clubs across the West of England – not just Bristol, but also Bath, Gloucester, Chippenham, Oxford and Swindon, for starters – who own their place through performances across the league season.
“When I first started playing League for the Sonics two or three years ago I never dreamed that it would allow me to represent my country abroad. If I can do it, then I’m sure there are loads of other players not involved in League at present who could take up the game with the Sonics and earn their own international cap. The first stage to getting that call-up is coming down to training and taking your place in the 2017 squad.”
The Sonics will begin the 2017 season – their last at Landseer Avenue, before moving with Dings Crusaders to their new Shaftsbury Park home in Frenchay later in the year – at the West of England 9s competition in Swindon on Saturday 6 May. The following week, they will kick-off their league campaign against new club Bath RLFC at Chippenham RFC. The Sonics first home game, against 2017 Champions Portsmouth Navy Seahawks, will take place on Saturday 3 June.
Bristol Head Coach Dom Swann has big plans for 2017 and has set his side the task of getting to the West of England League Grand Final, after the 2016 season ended with a limp play-off semi-final loss to eventual beaten finalists Swindon St George. He said: “Last season was a missed opportunity, but in hindsight we got what we deserved in the semi-final. To compete for honours we need a bigger squad and more players at training. I will pick players on merit due to their performances in both training and matches. Any new players that come down to training will have as much chance of making the team as those who are returning from previous seasons. I urge anyone who fancies playing to come down to training on Wednesday night and stake their claim for a place in the team.”
Bristol Sonics pre-season training takes place at Dings Crusaders RFC, Landseer Avenue, Lockleaze.