The Latter Years
A recollection by:
Graham Vizor 1977 – 2007
Chairman 1980/81 1981/82 and
Secretary 1979/80 1986/87 1987/88 1988/89
All good things come to an end, and time was called in the late 1980s on the rugby-playing side of DRUFC.
In 1985/6, we won our own 7’s Invitational, the Khobar 7’s, and the Plate in the Bahrain 15’s. However, the writing was on the wall, as Dean Culshaw (Deano) noted in his Chairman’s report for that season:
“There is no doubt that 1985/6 will be looked back upon in future years as one of Dhahran’s better seasons on the rugby field…. given that our membership base has been eroded by short-sighted company policies, matrimony, excessively large egos and sundry other feeble excuses, it is hoped that we can continue to raise a side, and the very least we can do is to keep going as a social entity and provide a focal point for self-entertainment with an occasional foray onto the rugby pitch.”
The highlight of Dhahran’s social scene, the May Ball, had come and gone, but funds were still raised via the 200 Club and the AEA Fair (with all those wonderful helpings of Fish and Chips, coated with homemade batter ++).
Despite the falling numbers, we continued to field teams in the Dubai, Dhahran, and Khobar 7’s tournaments as well as ‘proper rugby’ matches against Khobar Eagles, Jubail, and Riyadh. We had to admit, though, that playing in Riyadh didn’t quite hold the same attraction as going to Bahrain, Dubai, and the like.
We kept ourselves amused by entering teams in Dhahran’s soccer, softball, and darts competitions; other entertainment included quizzes, car rallies, beach parties, cricket matches…. Highlights were the annual (pre-woke and therefore allowable) DOG’s dinners as well as Christmas parties (with a strict reminder of the required etiquette given by Brigadier Roscoe and Rear Admiral Vizor).
Dean’s words proved so prophetic that he repeated his Report in 1987 and 1988 and we staggered on; but by the late 80s, golf was taking an ever-increasing priority over rugby training for many of the ageing rugby superstars, especially for the Aramcons.
Eventually, the takeover was complete with DRUGS (Dhahran Rugby Union Golf Society) replacing DRUFC; various golfing tours to Dubai and the Far East became popular, culminating in the annual Thai Tour.
Some rugby continued to be played, mainly of the ‘touch’ variety on the new grass fields of Dhahran Hills, with those who wanted to play 15’s joining in with the Eagles down in Khobar.
DRUFC played such an important part in so many of our lives while residing in the ‘different’ society that was Saudi Arabia in the 70s and 80s. Those that benefitted most were us players, but let’s just give a thought to the social members who contributed such a lot over the years. You know who you are. Thank you!
About The Author
Arriving in Saudi Arabia in 1976 was like coming home, as Richard had been brought up in Kuwait as an “oilbrat” during the 1950s and 60s where his dad was Chief Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Co. As a Chartered Accountant, Richard worked for Aramco in both Internal Audit and Contract Cost Compliance, but despite his father’s prowess as a golfer and his mother as a tennis player (Persian Gulf Oil Companies Lawn Tennis Association Ladies Champion in 1956), his social life gravitated to the Dhahran Rugby Club and amateur dramatics. He used his organising skills to become a representative on the Aramco Employees Association, Treasurer for DRUFC between 1976/77 and 1978/79, and then Chairman in 1979/80 before leaving in 1980. He continued with a varied finance career in shipping (Japan) automobiles (Guam) and dance education (UK).
Finally retiring in 2015, Richard and his husband live in London and he has used his time not only to continue travelling, but also to write Dance into Business for dance students wanting to start a business.
About this Article
The Unofficial History was produced to mark what would have been the approximate 50th Anniversary of the Dhahran Rugby Union Football Club (DRUFC) 1972- 2022, depending on what year you believe the club to have been established.
The Editor: Richard Thom first started playing rugby as a young boy in Scotland playing for the 1st XV at prep school, and then the Colts and 1st XV at Strathallan. He rediscovered rugby in Saudi Arabia, and not only played for the 1st and 2nd XVs on the wing but helped to keep the Club on track as Treasurer and Chairman. Moving to Japan after Saudi, Richard continued to play for the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club (YCAC) as second row for the 2nd XV, a far cry from the wing in Saudi.
Coming back to the UK in the mid-80s, it was the camaraderie among those in the club who played, supported or just joined in that helped to bond us all together to meet regularly and to mark the occasion with a "Not the May Ball," the third for which this booklet was produced.
- John Bailey 1975 - 1980
- Mike Galbraith 1971
- John Kates 1973 - 1975
- Bill Flynn 1973 - 1975
- Martin Watson 1974 – 1977
- Stan Peters 1974 – 1978
- Mike Sullivan 1978 - 1984
- Graham Vizor 1977 – 2007
- Carolyn Coles 1977 - 1985
- Lesley Williams 1979 - 1986