Bahrain Rugby Football Club – A Brief History….
Bahrain Rugby Football Club started life as a section of the British Club in 1971, becoming its own separate entity in 1974 taking up residence at a small ground on the perimeter of the Bahrain International Airports Muharraq Runway. The early days saw games played largely against local sides and the occasional visiting side.
The clubs ambition and its rapidly growing fixture list saw it outgrow its original home and a new one was located in 1977 in Saar. This was to be home for the next 18 years seeing games against all of the countries of the Gulf, in a league program Bahrain RFC was instrumental in forming. Bahrain’s legendary hospitality (alongside that of its Rugby Club) saw the club rapidly gain an international reputation seeing visiting sides from all over the rugby playing world.
Bahrain RFC’s growth and success in the 1980’s was prolific, rapidly rising to dominate the regions rugby scene perhaps peaking in 1988 when the club completed an unprecedented triple winning the Arabian Gulf League, Cup and Dubai 7’s championships in an undefeated season. Indeed such was Bahrain’s reputation and strength that it was frequently asked to represent the Arabian Gulf region without the need to call on other clubs help.
The 1990’s brought the Gulf War and with it numerous visiting military sides in desperate need of a little relief. Bahrain RFC immediately stepped in to the breach playing an unbelievable 50 different sides in six months on top of managing to fulfill visiting friendlies with neighbouring Arabian Gulf Countries in an otherwise suspended Arabian Gulf League Program. This helped to establish a relationship with the Naval teams that exists to this day.
Another significant development that occurred in 1991 was the formal recognition by and association with the General Organisation for Youth and Sports giving the club much needed recognition and guidance from its local hosts. GOYS patronage of the Club enabled the Club and its members to go forward in to their future endeavors to promote both the club and their adopted country with renewed confidence.
The mid 1990’s also saw the club finally start to plan its next move. For although its crushed coral pitch was much loved the introduction of Netball for the Ladies of the Club and the Junior Rugby programs for the children put pressure on the facilities as numbers increased.
A new site was identified, not too far away, in Janabiyah. Negotiations commenced with the Landlord Sheikh Attiatullah bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifah, who agreed to give the club every assistance and the next phase of our clubs expansion began.
The opening of the Janabiyah site with its grass pitch, second sand training pitch, two netball courts and custom built changing rooms and clubhouse was the height of luxury in Arabian Gulf Circles and the envy of other clubs. However Bahrain RFC’s ambitions did not stop there; The club immediately started a second rugby team, expanded its junior rugby program to over 150 children for the first time and commenced running 5 netball teams (hosting the Middle East Netball Championships in it’s first year).
1997 saw further enhancements with the sand training pitch grassed and an ambitious bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to Bahrain succeeded as the Club hosted the first RWC match to be staged in the region when Botswana came to play the Arabian Gulf. The second match against Tunisia was also hosted three months later by the Club and televised live by Bahrain Television.
Bahrain concluded the season as League Champions defending the title they won the previous season whilst narrowly losing the Arabian Gulf Cup Final to Dubai, the club also provided seven of the Arabian Gulf Squad that competed in the Rugby World Cup that year.
After a quiet year in 1999 the club once again got the itch to expand with the club deciding that it would like to try its hand at catering, a small 30 seat restaurant and kitchens appeared and was immediately a hit with the Club’s membership. 1999 also saw the expansion of the clubs limited Junior Football schools in to a fully blown Junior Football section, initially boasting just 50 children ( Junior Rugby at this point pushed the 200 mark).
The Millenium came early for Bahrain RFC when they were invited to participate in a match with the Bahrain Defence Force in the presence of his majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa honouring the club both with the invitation and by personally kicking off the match.
Bahrain RFC played well managing to sneak a victory in a hard fought contest that laid the foundations for another successful season.
The Club also continued with its expansion program commissioning a 25m Swimming pool and opening its own swimming school. The pool boasted two new changing facilities and a state of the art filtration system designed to minimize the possibility of any accidents
(technology that was new to Bahrain at the time).
During 2002 the popular ‘Mano’s’ Bistro was expanded to enable it to accommodate more guests whilst the club continued to concentrate on its core sporting activities, reducing its moderate debt and taking a well earned break from what had been 6 1/2 years of high paced expansion.
Despite this need for a well earned rest the Club still showed strongly winning the Bahrain Duty Free X’s Championship, and finishing Runner-up in the AGRFU Cup and League Competitions.
2003/4 also saw further consolidation with the club happy to concentrate on its burgeoning sporting program and putting in place some much need management and membership controls. Partnering with the Bahrain Cricket Academy to develop a school of excellence for the Islands Junior Cricketers bringing in 3 custom built floodlit training facilities. Further pressure was also placed on the Club’s hard court area with the introduction of a Junior Netball Program for the clubs young girls.
Bahrain RFC’s Rugby teams enjoyed further success winning the Bahrain Duty Free X’s for the thirteenth time, Winning the Dubai 7’s , finishing once again Runners-Up in the AGRFU League and Cup competitions. As if this was not enough the Club’s Junior Rugby section were crowned Middle East Champions at Under 8, Under9, Under 12, Under 13 & Under 15 levels. The Clubs Senior Netballers won the Middle East Championship with the junior girls sections crowned Bahrain Champions across all age groups.
2004/5 once again brought new sporting programs, this time specially aimed at children under the age of 5 with introductory programs to general sports and new soft playing facilities inaugurated. Whilst the Club’s focus at this time was undoubtedly on Youth Sport, the Club’s Rugby, Football, Netball & Swimming Sections continued to compete both throughout Bahrain and Internationally.
Bahrain was also proud to host visiting Rugby Teams from the British Army, Shannon RFC in Ireland and footballers from the Australian National Team.
2005 proved to be one of the biggest in the clubs history. A simple idea….invite them and they will come! Proved to be correct as over 500 former members joined the club in a celebration of friendship that had gone on for well over 30 years. In order to host the event it was obvious that the current clubhouse could not cope so an Air-conditioned Marquee was installed in order to ward off the summer heat.
From humble beginnings the club now boasted in excess of 500 families as members participating in over 40 sporting activities each and every week.
2006 saw more pressure put on the clubs facilities with another 100 families joining the club. The club’s ambitious sports for all attitude saw the construction of a new hard court area to replace the previous netball courts.
This area was designed to allow a greater number of courts to be used (Three) and it is perhaps a mark of the successful implementation of this attitude that is was necessary to expand the facility with a fourth court to be added in late 2007.
This expanded facility was inaugurated with the return of the Middle East Netball Championships to Bahrain for the first time in 10 years, an International Event being staged by Bahrain RFC which featured athletes from 15 countries competing for the title, & being voted as the venue again the following year unanimously.
This facility was also deliberately designed to accommodate 6-a-side Football, Basketball, Eight-a-side Field Hockey and Tennis allowing the Club to once again expand it’s sporting horizons.
It also saw the Cricket Academy get a new home with new concrete and grass nets being constructed to allow Bahrain’s fledgling cricketers the chance to get experience on grass wickets prior to participating in competitions overseas.
2007 was a special year for Bahrain RFC when as a mark of the evolution of the Club from being ‘just a Rugby Club’ to the family based Sports Club it is today the Club commenced the construction of a state of the art Children’ Play Area. Designed to allow the under 13’s to play in total safety, the Play Area features play equipment from PlayWorld in the USA, and custom designed safety flooring made specially for the project.
2008 saw the Club determined to raise the playing standards of it’s Rugby Teams which had been in decline for several years. To that end three full-time professional sports coaches were recruited from the UK and a dedicated Bahrain Players area created which included a free weights room and gymnasium.
Also as part of this excercise the Club invested heavily in qualifing all of it’s volunteer coaches to international standards ensuring that every sport was given the chance to shine.
The benefits achieved by the introduction of professional coaches, a qualified & structured coaching system, alongside heavy investment in playing and training equipment began to show almost immediately. Sports sections results improved and with this the number of people wanting to train and play at the club increased at such a rate it became obvious that, although the club had invested heavily in an ambitious expansion program over previous seasons, the club’s facilities simply could not cope with the demands being placed upon it.
In early 2009 the Club was faced with making the decision to cap the clubs membership and participation in it’s main core sports for the first time in it’s history. However just as the Club’s Committee were about to announce this move Sheikh Attiatullah bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifah (the Club’s Landlord) once again came to the rescue granting an extended lease & more importantly making additional land available.
Plans were immediately drawn up for the introduction of a third grass surface, which whilst it’s size was only suitable for junior sports and training, would result in the ability to increase participation numbers by nearly a third for the 2009/10 season.
What’s New for 2010?
2009 has seen the commencement of construction of a new 100 seat poolside function room which is due to complete for the start of the 2009/10 season. Designed to accomodate a range of smaller dinners and events, as well as being fitted with a full audio visual system, the room will offer the ability to host more private functions & training seminars in the daytime, whilst providing increased Clubhouse capacity in the evenings for the club’s burgeoning membership.
Also on the Social front 2010 will see the introduction of a new Marquee for the Club, replacing the one commissioned in 2005 and capable of handling functions in excess of 300 people in air conditioned comfort.
On the Sports front 2009/10 will see the Club’s first specialist youth rugby academy set up offering specialist advice and training to those players with the potential to make an impact on the international rugby scene. Advice and coaching will be offered on a players nutritional & strength programs as well as developing their speed, agility & quickness, all key assets in a modern rugby player.
The Academy will work with internationally recognised coaches and visiting players to develop all players to their maximum potential.
Bahrain Rugby Football Club –
1995 – .
|Bahrain RFC Formed as a section of the British Club.
BRFC moves in to a small shack on the perimeter of the
BRFC moves to new Clubhouse in Saar, running 3 sides
BRFC now running 3 sides, Netball introduced for the ladies
Junior Rugby Program Started for Clubs Children.
Formal Touch Rugby Tournaments start
BRFC becomes affiliated to General Organisation for Youth and Sports.
Bahrain RFC’s SoccerStars program is launched.
First Formal Touch Rugby League in GCC starts
New Site at Janbiyah identified building starts on new clubhouse
Janabiyah site opens with one grass and one sand pitch, netball is played
on the clubs car park whilst additional funds are sought to build the
promised new courts.
2 New Netball Courts are built.
Clubs sand training pitch is grassed. Bahrain hosts first Rugby World Cup game to be staged in the region.
Floodlighting installed on Clubs Main Pitch.
Clubs Office and Kit Shop turned in to a Restaurant with a store room modified as a kitchen.
Club Opens new 25m Swimming Pool, changing facilities and
Scrums (Later Mano’s) Bistro is born out of the Restaurant Area after
an expansion program to increase its capacity.
Club constructs 3 floodlit Cricket training facilities.
Old Floodlighting assemblies revamped and replaced on Clubs Training pitch.
200 seater Air-conditioned Marquee installed to cope with the crowd at the Clubs Reunion (attended by over 600 people).
Netball Courts expanded in to a Facility hosting 3 Netball Courts,
Basketball, Hockey, Tennis and Handball.
Safety Certified Children’s play area commissioned.
Netball Courts further expanded to 4 Courts and converted in to a Multi- Sports Facility.
Bahrain RFC Players Area opened with Free Weights Room
Professional Coaches hired for first time
Construction starts on Third Grass Playing Surface
Construction of Multi-Purpose Function Room alongside Club’s Pool
Expanded Car Park Opens, New purpose built Maintenance Area Opens
Multi Sports Area reconfigured to host Handball
Bahrain Rugby Football Club –
1995 – .
|1971 – Bahrain RFC Formed as a section of the British Club.
1980 – Bahrain RFC regularly puts out 3 teams on away trips around the Gulf
1981 – Netball introduced for the Lady Members.
1985 – Mini Rugby Starts for the Clubs Children. Bahrain’s Juniors travel to
Dubai for the Arabian Gulfs first ever Mini Rugby International Game.
1992 – Touch Rugby League starts & SoccerStars School for Junior Footballers started. (Mini Rugby Restarts after the Gulf War)
(Both of these activities existed in a piecemeal fashion prior to this date, Formal programs however commissioned in this season)
1996 – Bahrain RFC hosts Gulf Netball Championship for the first time.
1997 – Bahrain RFC hosts the regions first two Rugby World Cup Games
(Arabian Gulf v Botswana & Arabian Gulf v Tunisia)
2000 – Swimming Squads / School started after Swimming Pool is completed
2002 – Junior Netball Program started within Bahrain RFC
2003 – Cricket is introduced to Bahrain RFC with the completion of the floodlit training facilities
2004 – Gaelic Football program is formally started for the Children.
Sticky Fingers and Mini Golf Programs start for the under 5’s.
Mini Football Academy inaugurated.
2005 – Bahrain RFC invite other local clubs to inaugural Junior Netball League
2006 – Netball Courts Expanded.
2007 – Multi-Sports Facility commissioned.
2008 – Professional Coaches introduced
Free Weights Room & Bahrain Players Area commissioned
2009 – Third Grass Pitch Laid.
Australian Rules Football Section formed
Bahrain Rugby Football Club –
|Arabian Gulf League Champions
Arabian Gulf Cup Champions
Middle East XVs Champions (X’s Champions since 1997)
Dubai VII’s Champions
|75/6, 76/7, 78/9, 80/1, 82/3, 83/4, 84/5, 88/9, 91/2, 92/3, 94/5, 95/6, 97/8, 2000/1
86/7, 88/9, 91/92, 92/3, 95/6, 98/99, 2002/3, 2008/09
79/80, 80/1, 81/2, 83/4, 84/5, 90/1, 92/3, 93/4, 94/5, 95/6, 96/7,97/8, 98/9, 99/00, 00/01, 01/2, 02/3, 03/4.07/08, 08/09
75/6,76/7,77/8, 84/5, 85/6, 86/7, 88/9,92/3, 94/5, 03/4