K.R.F.C. - KHOBAR RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB

www.khobar-rfc.com

A Brief History

The history of Khobar Rugby Football Club (KRFC) is one of a struggle against all odds. It was built around a handful of expats who sought a social gathering in the ‘dry’ dusty Eastern Province. It is fair to say that Khobar RFC is better known for its social activities than the amount of trophies that it has won. However that was then and this is now. Actually very little has changed, we are still known for our social attributes but the difference is on the field, where we have learned a lot. We strive to improve the quality of rugby without losing the fun element.

Our location has moved a number of times around various compounds and it is sad to say that at times we struggle with numbers, mainly due to the quantity of expats in the area at the time.

The original name of Khobar Eagles is one that many will remember and hold dear to their hearts. Due to relocation of many of the players from Khamis Quins RFC to the Eastern Province in 2004, it made ultimate sense for the two clubs to amalgamate. Quite rightly the Quins wanted to keep a part of their long established identity and it was decided that the name would change to Khobar Quins RFC. This was a local arrangement, but for unknown reasons it was not registered with the AGRFU. This situation has been rectified and we are now fully associated with the AGRFU.

Memories are fading fast, but it is believed that the team was founded in 1976 and played on a sand pitch close to the Pepsi Cola factory in Khobar. In 1999ish they moved to a local compound, which had a purpose built sand pitch and proper posts. However there were no facilities for a club house, so this was established at another nearby compound. (If any readers can shed any light or correct some of the information, it would be gratefully accepted).

The club has been a regular at the Bahrain 10`s and Dubai 7`s, but usually the ‘real ale’ took charge and after the first day, playing took a back seat and socialising became far more important. We did win the plate in Bahrain during the 2001 tournament.

At the time Kanoo was the main sponsor and an inaugural match for the Kanoo Cup was played between Khobar and Bahrain in May 2002. It is no longer competed for as Kanoo no longer sponsor the club.

The turn of the millennium saw a semi-stable period when Khobar RFC enjoyed a few fruitful years, which saw players travelling from as far a field as Jubail (one hour’s drive), to train and play rugby in the Saudi League. Other teams in the league included Jeddah, Riyadh and Khamis (prior to amalgamation). Indeed Khobar hosted its own tournament in the form of the Saudi 7s, which was a warm-up for the Saudi teams before taking part in the Dubai International 7s.

It would be remiss not to mention the ladies. A number of the fairer sex also got the rugby bug and were well established in there own right. They trained with the guys and helped to establish a real club atmosphere. It is hoped that it will not be too long before the girls are back on the seen again.

Due to its geographical location (just across the Causeway from Bahrain), KRFC enjoyed affiliation to Bahrain RFC, who were most welcoming. They have supported us socially and also allowed us to use their facilities as required. This affiliation continues to this day and long may it last.

In 2004 a very serious security incident, which took place in the local area and included fatalities, resulted in many of the expats leaving the area and also in the freedom to enter the compound, which was the hub of all activities. The effects were devastating to KRFC and although the will was still alive, logistics could not be overcome. This meant that rugby in the region slowed to a standstill and despite valiant effort from a few ‘stalwarts’, it struggled to be regenerated.

A new injection of enthusiasm came along in 2006 and with it encouragement, threats, bullying and begging to players, to play firstly Touch Rugby and then full contact. It was soon realised that the majority of players were the other side of 35 and the player base was some 20-25 on a good day. But the important thing was that we were playing rugby again and word was getting out that we were back on the map. A golden opportunity presented it self in the form of the inaugural ‘Bahrain Midnight 10’s’ tournament (Apr 2007). This is an international invitation Vets competition which took place at night on the first day and the afternoon of the second. In between you slept if you wanted to but partying was a ‘must’. It attracted mostly local teams and the incentive of a party in Bahrain stirred us on. We trained hard and players committed themselves to achieving the best we could. From the training sessions it was clear that there was a great deal of talent on the park, but how long would the old legs last? The standard of rugby was high - what the players lost in speed over the ground, they made up for by sharing cunning and knowledge of the game. (What the ref does not see won’t hurt him!!).

Through dogged determination, some very good performances and the strip (see photos on the site), we won the competition. There was a great deal of ‘eggs on faces’ as the old comments of “its only Khobar, they are only here for the beer” were replaced with “they have only gone and won it’. This put KRFC firmly back on the map and people have started to sit up and take note.

The next step is for us to encourage more players, contribute to the AGRFU and continue developing rugby in the region. It is hoped that we will be accepted as competitors in the 2007 Dubai 7s 'local Vets' category.

The achievement so far would not have been possible without the efforts of all the players and sponsors, who have devoted time and effort to ensure that Khobar Quins RFC is a going concern.