By Eddie McAteer Student Sports Correspondent
With Christmas, New Year and exams out the way, we can now turn our attention to the array of sport taking place in Bristol over the next year, as the city’s teams look to write their own story for the coming decade.
In football, a busy transfer window for both Bristol City and Bristol Rovers has seen City’s captain leave for Burnley and Rovers have brought in multiple new signings. City are aiming to find that extra bit of consistency that would allow them to reach the play-offs, after narrowly missing out on them last season. Lee Johnson’s side are currently fifth and have been as high as third in the championship this season.
A strong run in 2020 could even see Bristol City in the premier league for the 2020-21 season. Their home game against West Brom on 22 February could prove to be a determining factor in the Robins’ fate, as a win would prove they have what it takes to beat the top teams and therefore compete in the premier league.
Bristol City Women currently find themselves bottom of the Women’s Super League table with six points from 12 games. Equal on points with Liverpool Women and one point behind Birmingham City Women, Bristol’s future remains in the balance. On Sunday, February 23 the team will play out a crucial fixture away to Birmingham which could determine their status as a top tier team for next season. Bristol’s dire defence, they have conceded an average of just over three goals per game, will be a cause for concern for fans hoping they can remain in the league.
Bristol Rovers, who last won in the league in mid-December against Ipswich Town, will be aiming to prevent their stuttering side from dropping further down the table. At one point in the season, they were flying high in fourth place, fast-forward four months and they have fallen to 13th.
Rovers fans will be hoping that the return of manager Ben Garner after an extended absence due to family reasons can boost the team. The Pirates host Sunderland, whose fall from grace has been unenviable, on Tuesday, March 10th, a game that may show if they are able to finish above tenth for the first time in over 20 years.
In the rugby world, Bristol Bears fans will be hoping that their team can rediscover the form that saw them win 17 points from their first five games. After missing out on the European Champions cup by just five points, the Bears are going to want to unleash Fijian star, Semi Radrada, on top tier European rugby after it was announced that he would be joining the team at the start of the 2020-21 season.
England prop, Kyle Sinckler, is another exciting addition to the squad for the new season and he will be aiming to win some silverware with his new club. A potentially crucial game against Northampton on 16 February could determine if Bristol are serious about their top six ambitions.
The Bears’ women’s team is in the stable yet unspectacular position of seventh in the Women’s Premier 15s table. They are in no danger of falling down the table and are not really close enough to challenge for the play-offs so for the Bears the aim for the rest of the year must be to try and move into the top half of the table.
In basketball terms, Bristol Flyers currently sit in eighth place in the BBL Championship with three wins from seven games. Just inside the play-off positions, a strong start to 2020 is needed if the flyers are to be at the O2 on the final day. After falling short against Worcester Wolves in the BBL Cup final, the flyers have won one and lost one whilst suffering their heaviest defeat of the season against Glasgow Rock. There is still plenty to play for in 2020, however, a season-ending injury to MVP Fred Thomas could threaten to derail their season.
Featured: Epigram / Eddie McAteer
What are your predictions for the teams in 2020?