On behalf of the Members and Staff at Bahrain Rugby Football Club, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Rowark, who sadly passed away on Friday 7th May after a long battle with Cancer.
Jim arrived in Bahrain following a successful career in education in Hong Kong and with Hong Kong Rugby as a coach and player. He was all set to lead a less demanding life, however, this was somewhat curtailed once Bahrain RFC heard of his arrival to the island. Jim was known to several BRFC members from their various jaunts to the Hong Kong 7s and such began his immediate return to coaching where he led the 1st XV & Colts sections back to winning ways and championship success.
While Bahrain 1st XV had accumulated a group of talented players during Jim’s first year in charge, it would be fair to suggest that they were somewhat lacking in application until Coach Jim got his hands on them. With his direction, Bahrain produced a superb late run and a first major trophy in seven years.
The following year was to be even better for Jim and his team as they dominated the league, losing only one of their 14 games on the way to a deserved title and, but for a heart-breaking one-point defeat to Abu Dhabi Harlequins in the cup final, would have claimed a memorable double.
When not cajoling others to try and master the basics of rugby, Jim was an ever-present attendee at home fixtures. Never difficult to find due to his strength of opinion, voice and shirt selection, Jim would engage with everyone and deliberate over the finer points of the game and why nobody was as good a player as he was in his day; a difficult discussion to counter as few, if any in Bahrain had seen him play. “Best wing forward never to play for England!”
A keen tourist, with or without BRFC, Jim was always sure to share a story about the game, life, golf (any topic really) over a bottle of beer or a glass of red wine. The latter being one of Jim’s keen interests; a home in France complete with fully stocked cellar was appropriate.
From Yorkshire with stops in Cambridge, Cornwall, Hong Kong, France and Bahrain, Jim always took a challenge head on with success in mind – how else do you explain a Manchester United supporter from that side of the Pennines. A small village to a long and eventful expatriate career. Fiercely determined, loyal, kind and sometimes contrary, the world will be a little less interesting without him. Chapeaux Jim.
Our deepest condolences to his wife Hilary, children Iain, Caroline, Craig and Niall and all of loved ones who were lucky enough to have known him.