Bristol

Bristol Rugby are a rugby union club who have played in the Guinness Premiership for the last two seasons, after being named National League One Champions at the end of the 2004-05 season.

History

Bristol Rugby Club was the result of a merger between Carlton and Redland Park in 1888. On its formation Bristol began leasing the County Cricket Ground at Nevil Road until 1919 when the club moved to Radnor Road in Horfield. Two years later, Memorial Ground was built on Buffalo Bill’s Field in Horfield and has served as Bristol’s home ever since.

Bristol lost their inaugural game to Cardiff in 1888 but had a relatively successful first season, and continued to perform well during the latter years of the nineteenth century. The Bristol team were particularly successful during the 1891-92 season when they won twenty out of twenty four games. During the early years of the new century Bristol established themselves on a national level, beating many of the country’s top rugby union teams.

In 1905 the team had its first international encounter when they met the New Zealand All Blacks at home, but despite their strength in national games, Bristol lost the match 41-0. Rugby was suspended during the First World War but in the post-war years a Bristol United team was formed for returning servicemen.

The club soon returned to its pre-war strength, beating Cardiff 19-3 in Bristol’s inaugural game at the Memorial Ground. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War the Bristol team had a brief losing streak but after the war, the team was captained by Bert McDonald who brought about marked improvements in their game.

In 1957 John Blake became team captain and the club entered a particularly victorious period with Gordon Cripps breaking the national record for points scored in a single season. Over the next few years, the team went from strength to strength, marked in 1965-66 when they won an impressive 39 games.

In 1971-72 Bristol won a thousand points and, although league rugby had not been established at that point, the club was named the unofficial national champions.

In 1983 Bristol won their first official competition when they beat the Leicester Tigers 28-22 for the John Player Cup. Following their cup victory Bristol had no more triumphs for more than a decade, struggling to adapt to the professionalism of league rugby. After coming bottom in the premiership league at the end of the 1997-98 season, Bristol were relegated to premiership two.

At the same time, the club was faced with serious financial difficulties, but at the last moment Malcolm Pearce saved the club from administration and provided Bristol with the financial backing it needed. Bristol dominated their first season in premiership two and won the championships with ease, sending them back to the top division in 1998.

At the turn of the new millennium, Bristol signed a number of new players and, under the guidance of head coach Dean Ryan, the team showed marked signs improvement. At the end of the 2001-02 season Bristol reached the premiership final, after ending the season with more bonus points than any other team, and for the first time the club also qualified for the Heineken Cup.

The following season looked good for Bristol but off-field, financial worries led to poor performance on the pitch and the team finished bottom in the premiership, being relegated for the second time in less than a decade. Under the direction of head coach Richard Hill, both club and team were stabilised and in 2005, after winning the league one championship, Bristol were promoted back to the premiership.

Since then Bristol have had mixed success but after a surprisingly strong season in 2005-06, fans are hopeful that the club will not be faced with relegation again any time soon.

Honours

  • John Player Cup: 1983
  • Powergen Shield: 2004
  • Allied Dunbar Premiership Two: 1998-99
  • National League One: 2004-05

Contacts

For information about matches or for general enquiries contact the Bristol Rugby club office at:

Tel: 0117 958 1630
Fax: 0117 958 1631
Email: steveg@bristolrugby.co.uk
Address: Bristol Rugby c/o Clifton RFC, Station Road, Henbury, Bristol, BS10 7TT

Tickets

Tickets for Bristol matches can be pre-ordered online or on the ticket office hotline (0871 208 2234) or bought on match days at the following prices:

Centenary Stand

Adult: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Senior: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Student: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Juvenile: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)

West Stand

Adult: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Senior: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Student: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)
Juvenile: £32 (early bird) £35 (match day)

Guinness Stand

Adult: £25 (early bird) £28 (match day)
Senior: £20 (early bird) £23 (match day)
Student: £17 (early bird) £20 (match day)
Juvenile: £10 (early bird) £10 (match day)

South Stand

Adult: £23 (early bird) £26 (match day)
Senior: £17 (early bird) £20 (match day)
Student: £15 (early bird) £18 (match day)
Juvenile: £8 (early bird) £8 (match day)

West Enclosure

Adult: £20 (early bird) £23 (match day)
Senior: £13 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Student: £12 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Juvenile: £6 (early bird) £6 (match day)

Centenary Terrace

Adult: £20 (early bird) £23 (match day)
Senior: £13 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Student: £12 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Juvenile: £6 (early bird) £6 (match day)

Bass Terrace

Adult: £17 (early bird) £20 (match day)
Senior: £12 (early bird) £15 (match day)
Student: £12 (early bird) £15 (match day)
Juvenile: £5 (early bird) £5 (match day)

Family Enclosure

Adult: £20 (early bird) £23 (match day)
Senior: £13 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Student: £12 (early bird) £16 (match day)
Juvenile: £6 (early bird) £6 (match day)

Travel

Bristol Rugby are based at: The Memorial Ground, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol, BS7 OAG which is easily accessible by car and public transport.

By Car: Leave the M5 at Junction 16 signposted Filton and join the A38 towards Bristol City Centre. After passing the British Aerospace works and the Duke of York pub on the left, turn left at the next set of traffic lights signposted Memorial Stadium and the stadium will soon become visible. It is very difficult to get a parking space in the ground’s official car park so to park continue straight on at the lights and turn right at the side of the Wellington Pub where there is usually on street parking available.

By Train/ Bus: The nearest station to the ground is Filton Abbey Wood which is approximately 25 minutes walk from the stadium. Bristol Parkway (more easily accessed by national rail services) is a 2 mile walk from the stadium or a short ride on bus numbers 73 or 74.