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Roman Hrabar

Roman Hrabrar 1963 to 2009

To all who attended the funeral, either in person or in spirit, thank you. It was really no surprise to see so many people paying their last respects to our friend, Roman. I estimate around 250-300 people were packed church into the church. I know Oksana was overwhelmed with how much respect Roman commanded. This was re-enforced  with the eulogies and tributes, in particular from Pat Lonsdale, Roman's long time mixed pairs bowling partner and Cliff Dennis, MyrtlesChairman.

To see players from many clubs come together shows what a close community the sport of bowls is. My apologies to those I have missed, I saw Chris Mordue (Brighouse Sports), Mick Walsh (Crossroads), Adrian & Andrea Briggs, Steve Town from Shipley Club, Adam Mellor (Eccleshill), Cliff White (Royd House), John Cook (Bradford Moor), Pat Appleyard (Yeadon Park), Tony Bather, Mario Biancardo (Idle), Maurice Carter (Bradford League President), Steve Pickles (Ladyhill), David & Dorothy Walker, Gordon Sagar (Baildon) Mick Hall (Pudsey Littlemoor). These were in addition to his friends and team mates from Myrtle Park including our President, Norman Upton, A Team Captain, Mick Upton and secretary, Irene Bird.

My admiration goes to Oksana who stood up and gave her thanks to all those who had left tributes on this site, attended the funeral, made donations to the British Heart Foundation and those who had passed on their respects. A really difficult thing to do at her brother's funeral. Oksana's husband, Steve was a rock to Oksana on a really difficult day for her.


Roman resplendent in his whites at what looks like Horton Park somewhere around 1981/82

God bless you Roman and may you rest in peace with love from all your friends at Myrtle Park and the bowling fraternity.



About 30 years ago a young lad used to come down to Myrtle Park after school, sometimes with friends- sometimes alone, borrow some woods from the hut and throw them across the green.. It wasn't long before the old stalwarts of the club could be heard passing comment in the club house about that young lad? -he shows some promise, we should keep our eye on him.

 It wasn't long before he became a member of the club, started playing for the team, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When Roman first started bowling he had a very natural, and very normal€ delivery. His distinctive high delivery  developed slowly over time. It was not something he tried to do. We were once discussing his hypnotic delivery over a pint after the game, and he had no idea where it came from either. It was something that he started to warn opponents about before the start of a game, although I only ever saw one player ( from Grove Hill  we were playing away) with blood streaming from his mouth. He forgot halfway through the match, and Roman's delivery rattled his teeth!

From his very first game for the club, to what turned out to be his last game for us against Oxenhope last year, he was always immaculately turned out, although the whites that were his trade mark in the early years had gone by the wayside.

He was always the perfect gentleman, never losing his cool if things weren't going his way, (although as we all know, they usually did) 

I have played in the same team with Roman, or against him in competition, week in week out for nearly all of the last 30 years.  I cannot bring myself to think what this coming season will be like entering the Guyson and Roman not being there, - picking a team for a Saturday and Roman not being in the first four, but besides being our star, he was our friend, and we shall all  miss him dreadfully.

Goodbye mate.

Mick Upton (Myrtle A Team Captain)

Skipton Devonshire Bowling Club

Sutton Park bowler Roman Hrabar made the right decision to invest some of his winnings, won with his other team Myrtle Park and take up one of the last places in the Wetherspoon Devonshire Classic, qualifying for the final day with wins against David Hemsley and Graham Wood, he took his place in the final at Skipton Devon held on Sunday 2nd October 2005.

Hrabar met team mate Mick Upton in the quarter-finals and must count himself very lucky to get through, after a very good game Upton was lying game at 20-19 with a touching bowl, Hrabar's only option was a strong bowl it looked close, but just clipped the jack on the way through moving Upton's touching bowl over three times, leaving Hrabar to score one point and level the match at all but a piece, the final point went Hrabar and a 21-20 win. The other quarter finals saw Hedley Kettlewell (Brighouse Sports) in good form as he beat Gordon Schofield (Accrington) 21-4, David Upton (Sutton Park & Myrtle) always had the better of the game against Craig Lambert(Broughton Road) and won 21-9, Lambert's team mate Sam Kimberley also found it tough going and went down 21-12 to Graham Perry(Crosshills).

The semi-finals saw Roman Hrabar give an exhibition against Hedley Kettlewell, losing 5-3 Hrabar then got in and in ten ends scored six two's and four singles to lead 19-5, Kettlewell reduced the arrears but was never going to win, as Hrabar moved into the final with a 21-10 win scoring eight two's in the match. Graham Perry and David Upton had a much closer game with both players finding it difficult to get the good leads consistently, to put his opponent under pressure, eventually Upton, behind by the odd point, put three good ends together to win the match 21-18.

Hrabar was not going to let his chance of victory slip to team mate Upton and he once again produced some excellent bowling to always lead in the match, David kept pulling out some good bowls but he could never get a run going as he got further behind, where bowlers are happy to get singles, Roman consistently got two's which put him ahead very quickly, six more singles in the final saw him win with ease 21-12. Matthew Gillett of Wetherspoon's presented the £1000 in prizes.


Thanks to JD for the following article and picture

The finalists are pictured: (l to r: David Upton (runner-up), Matthew Gillett (Manager of the Wetherspoons Devonshire, Skipton) and Roman Hrabar (2005 Devonshire Classic Champion)

 Tributes and messages


I have just been informed today the 5th March of the tragic death of Roman Hrabar.


I am staggered by the news and quite upset.


Having seen Roman advance in the game from a teenager of tremendous promise into one of the very best that the county of Yorkshire Parks has ever produce. It is a very sad time, Pat and l thoughts are with his sister at this moment.


I always believed that if he had decided to venture into the upper circles of bowling, and bowl against the big guns, he would I feel sure have established himself amongst the all time greats. I often asked him about it be he was quite happy and content to play around the local areas.


His achievements listed by Roy in the paper are unique, his style, unorthodox, but truly magic, my memories of Roman are treasures, and it was my enormous pleasure to have been around watching such talent, and indeed being a team mate at Myrtle Park.


A staggering loss, rest in peace.


Ray Angus

Good memories of when I got my first chance in Salts 'A' Team had to play Roman, had a great game with a great bowler who encouraged me the whole of the game.

Salt Happy

Shocked and stunned, Roman was a legend of the game and true gentleman. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends from all at Black Swan Bowling Club, Harrogate.

Dave Rowson

It was with deep sadness that  Pam, Gillian, Richard and myself  heard of Roman's and our condolences go out to his sister Maria at this time.

I well remember him first arriving at the green and his enthusiasm for the game was evident as he "pestered" anyone and everyone for a game. His enthusiasm was such that he was very rarely turned down and it was not long before he was beating the experienced bowlers.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I had the pleasure of playing with and against Roman over several years and it was hard not to do a lap of honour on the rare occasions (I can remember only 2) when you actually beat him.

And he never forgot those formative years. When our children, Gillian and Richard, started playing, Roman was there to encourage them and give advice.

He will be sadly missed by all and we will always remember 'Rhubarb' as a friend, team-mate and, most of all, a thoroughly nice guy.

RIP Roman.

Peter, Pam, Gillian & Richard Orme

Still in shock even now , have known Roman for over twenty years, I got to really know him well by bowling with him at myrtle for the last six or seven years top bloke on and off the green always made time for anybody, he always had a smile and just really enjoyed the game immensely, and as everyone who knew him what a fantastic player he was. I am gonna miss you mate and I am proud have known you , it is not going to be the same at myrtle, but with you looking down on us we will try keep up the high standard that you always tried to maintain !!! GOD BLESS YOU ROMAN,


R.I.P. Dear friend, I cannot believe it.

From your old pal, "Stamper" (alias Roy Sanderson)

When I was told of Roman's death I could not believe it. We are shocked and devastated. I played with Roman at Sutton Park and against him in the Aire Wharfe League, at Myrtle. I will miss him immensely. His sense of humour and at times an outrageous flirt, but his conduct on and off the green was immaculate. His skill and action was incredulous but truly effective.

He helped Sutton A to win the Craven League in 2007 & 2008.

I can only echo what others have written before me. I will miss him dreadfully and scores of other bowlers will too, I feel honoured to have known and Bowled with him and called him my friend.


RIP. Sweetie,


Sue & Pete Finnie

Just heard today of the sudden death of Roman Hrabar. This will be a huge shock to all in the bowling world.
I'm sure I speak for all in passing on deep sympathy to all his family and friends, many of whom will no doubt read your subsequent messages on this thread.
I'm sure we will all have our personal memories of a super player and good bloke.
RIP Roman.


What shocking and sad news.
Roman had the most unique delivery style there has ever been in crown green bowls.
Roman always played with a smile on his face.
Roman played for Lister Park in Bradford when I played for Wibsey Park, at a time when the quantity and quality of youth bowling in Bradford was probably the best in the country.
As has been said in the other thread, Roman Hrabar was a lovely guy and leaves a unique legacy: he played the game well and with no edge to him, unlike so many others who may have won more but with no style or substance.
RIP Roman.

Knew Roman ( rhubarb) for a lot of years and what a nice bloke he was and great player winning many big comps
deepest sympathy goes to his family

RIP mate

Totally shocked and saddened when I heard about this. Smashing bloke and a top player who will be sadly missed.

RIP Roman


What a tremendous shock. A true gentleman and fantastic bowler. One of the best bowlers to come out of Yorkshire, with that unique action. Winner of I think two Yorkshire merits, The British Parks and numerous other competitions. Will be sadly missed and only in his mid forties. Condolences to his family in particular to his sister who went everywhere with him. Truly gutted. RIP Roman.

Easy Rider

Just to echo previous messages, a great player and a top bloke. My thoughts go out to his family.

Bryan Harrison


Gutted to hear this very sad news earlier today.
Roman was a gentleman who entertained us all with his amazing action and his dazzling whites.
A sad loss to the game and the whole of the bowling community.

Adrian & Andrea Blennard.

Just heard the sad news that Roman has passed away at the young age of 45.
Roman was without doubt one of the best players I have ever seen grace a bowling green. His unique style was a joy to watch and no doubt he will be sorely missed by the bowling fraternity.
My condolences to his nearest and dearest.
Andy H
Pudsey BC

Completely gutted, great guy and outstanding player, his record was phenomenal. He is going to be deeply missed.



Having known Roman or Persil as we used to call him in the early days. And having been beaten by him on quite a few occasions over the past 30 years there is one word he used to use quite a lot and that word is immaculate and that's what he was.

RIP Roman you will be sadly missed 



A big shock, great bowler and great bloke, will be sadly missed. Am gutted. My thoughts are with his family and friends.R.I.P Roman.


 Had known Roman since I started bowling 25 years ago, great bowler, great guy on and off the green, what a great action he had.

Watched him win comps all over, not just in Yorkshire, will be greatly and sadly missed.

RIP Roman

Adam Mellor

Sad he is leaving us so young, what a shock.

Didn't know him personally, but he always came across as a true gentleman whenever our paths crossed.

Sincere condolences to his family from Beighton Towers

I didn't know the man personally but was in his company on a couple of occasions and saw him bowl fabulous appetite for the game. Good night god bless Roman you will be missed on the bowls circuit.


Wey Laad

Like everyone who knew Roman, I was absolutely devastated when I read the news of his death.
As everyone has already said, an absolute gentleman, a great bowler and character. 
If you wanted an example of how the game should be played, and conduct yourself on and off the green, you need look no further than Roman.
God Bless
Doc Watson

Still in total shock hours after finding out the shock news !! Roman was a great guy and a good friend.

You will be sadly missed Roman, R.I.P

John, Tracy & Gordon Preston

Some of the posts on here really take you by surprise and this one certainly has.
One of the best players of his generation. Nice lad on and off the green, amazing player, true character, unique action always good to watch and always good to watch the reaction of opponents that didn't know him when his back swing clipped them on the chin.
Thoughts to his family


I can still not get over the sad news of my friend Roman. Having played many years against the very best, I have to say that Roman was one of the most gifted players ever to grace a bowling green. He had the most wonderful name and stylish delivery. I only wished he would have had the drive to establish himself amongst the very best in the game. On many occasions I tried to coax him into playing in the Mirfield league so that bowlers that maybe did not know him could see what a great talent he was. His wins per ratio in competitions will never be surpassed having won the Yorkshire Parks Merit on 5 separate occasions. He was also an accomplished pairs player and won many titles. We will all miss this true gent who will never be forgotten. Condolences to friends and family and to his great love Myrtle B.C.

R.I.P Roman.

Chris Mordue


Played with Roman at Myrtle, and what a fantastic guy he was!
Totally shocked when I heard the news today & at only 45 what a tragedy!

Roman was one of the greatest bowlers Yorkshire has ever seen, and a top guy with it.

My deepest condolences go to all family and friends.

RIP Roman you will be very sadly missed!

Scott Wilkins

I can only echo what everybody else has said about Roman, Great Guy on and off the green, and a brilliant bowler. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, especially his colleagues at Myrtle Park BC.

Our sincere condolences go to all his family on his untimely passing. RIP Roman.

Mick & Sandra Hall

So tragic to hear the news of Romans untimely death. My thoughts go out to all his family and close friends. He will be fondly remembered as a great player and one whose action endeared him to many and bemused others. I know for sure he will always be talked about, in pubs and on greens when the question of best, worst and strangest deliveries of players that have played the game of bowls is raised. He has truly left his own legacy. RIP Roman.


Rest in peace Roman - thanks for the memories.
Deepest sympathy to all his family.

Chris Squires

Roman was one of the most naturally gifted bowlers that I've ever seen. Winning the Yorkshire Parks merit 5 times and losing in the final of the Yorkshire ABA merit twice are testimony to his class. I have no doubt that if he had entered a wider range of competitions he would have been recognised as one of the top players in the country.

I had the pleasure of working with Roman for a while when he was the security guard at our place for a while. I used to have regular daily chats with him.

Not fair when someone so young is taken away. A very sad loss. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Roman. There'll never be another delivery like yours.

Cranny Lad

A really nice bloke and a great player who, as other people have posted, had he have ventured further a field would have won a lot more titles and been a great asset to anyone's team. A very sad loss at such a young age my deepest condolences to his family.


Can not believe it, had many a tussle with him in the Horton / Lister park comps, nearly knocked me out with his 1st delivery the first time I played him with his action, top player, last saw him at Spen a couple of years ago in a Parks qualifier still as keen as ever, he would have given all the top circuit bowlers a run for their money if he had wanted to, a sad loss.

Nugget 21

Just read the news and totally shocked. Played against Roman a few times but also had the pleasure of bowling in the same team as him at Lister Park for several years in the 80s. His consistency week in week out and enthusiasm for the game were phenomenal.
When you add that natural talent to a totally unique delivery, and his sharp dress sense on the green, and you had something very special indeed.
A big loss to the game, and my condolences go out to his family, and to his friends at Myrtle Park.

Mister Whippy

Very saddened to hear the terrible news, I knew Roman for 20 odd years, his sister as well, having used to work with her. A huge loss to his family and to the bowling world, and his unique style and grace may never be seen again. Arguably the greatest player to come from Yorkshire, u will be missed by all.

Jon Edmondson

May I also send condolences to Roman's family on behalf of the Davison family. Me, my dad and grandad all knew Roman in one way or another. My only real experience of playing against him was in the Dacre Banks pairs a couple of years ago though I remember him playing for the parks when I was much younger. Held in high regard by all, as evidenced by the preceding messages. He really will be missed.

Jimmy Davison

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Roman As the Competition Secretary for the Bradford League
for the past eight years I found Roman a very good competitor. Who besides being an excellent bowler, he was also a great sportsman, both on and off the green and showed respect to everyone who knew him.
He won the Bradford Pairs seven times the first in 1985 last time in 2006

Condolences to his family
Norman & Glennis Lickley Guiseley.B.C.

I knew Roman for the last thirty years or so ... cannot exactly remember. I know he was older than 42, just older that me I think ..maybe 46. 

He wasn't your average person - He was a bit unusual in a way that often accompanies genius. Roman was also a perfectionist always striving to create a work of art on the bowling green and sometimes he did. Those who remember watching him in his best years will know what I mean. In those days Roman was one of the best bowlers to grace the bowling green and would be more widely known if he had taken to the circuit rather than settling for the local events.

Roman was a friend who I would see quite often in the summer months and occasionally in the winter.... he would always take time to say hello.

We will all miss him - may he rest in peace.

Deepest sympathy to his family.


Total shock. Known Roman from the old Shipley League ( LATE 70'S EARLY 80'S ).
Knocked one of our players out in his first game.
Will surely be missed by all in the bowling world.
Condolences to all his family.

Saddened to hear of such a sudden loss.
A great bowler and a gentleman.


You were a great player and a great mate,The last 3 years at Sutton BC were truly the best years I've ever experienced in my bowling career. We won everything,but most of all,what a great laugh we had.You will go down in this sport as a legend.I will never forget you mate!!!


We in East Midlands first came across Roman Hrabar in 1988 when he won the British Parks Individual Merit and we had never seen a delivery like it.

Apart from that unique delivery he was a pretty unique guy and will be greatly missed.

Bill Maybry
President East Midlands Parks


The picture above is the last one taken of him representing Myrtle Park. He finished as he started with an emphatic win against a good player and friend in Gary Bowdin


Myrtle A




Roman Hrabar



Gary Bowdin

Malcolm Whitham



Mary Hemsley

Chris Bridge



Derek Pollard

Michael Upton



Mick Skwarek

Guy Greene



Ronnie Bowdin

Chris Wilson



Pam Potts

Ken Pollard



Debbie Hosty

Pete Hepworth



David Hemsley

Chris Dickerson



Trevor Douglas

Mark Barker



Brian Potts




 The Scorecard from Roman's last match v Oxenhope Saturday 27th September 2008

Myrtle Park A (Division 1) Team Averages 2008

Roman was top of the pile.....again












Roman Hrabar








Michael Upton








Mark Barker








David Upton








Chris Wilson








Chris Dickerson








Eric Holmes








Malcolm Whitham








David Cadwallader








Stuart Lawton








Chris Bridge








Phillip Walker








James Pollard








Peter Hepworth








David Earl








Guy Greene








Ken Pollard








Bill Leach








*Roman's only Saturday league defeat in 2008 was Saturday 28th June against Oxenhopes' Derek Pollard


As usual, in his whites and a young eager talent is recognised by the County in 1987


Details of the Match


Unfortunately, Roman didn't win on his debut, however, he went on to achieve with the County in following years


From the Telegraph & Argus:Latest Headlines

Death of Roman is big shock

9:33am Thursday 12th February 2009

The local bowling scene has been stunned by the sudden death of Myrtle Park's Roman Hrabar at the age of just 45.

Tributes have flowed in following the loss of one of the areas greatest and most colourful players, who died at home last week.

Hrabar played briefly for Lister Park, Oakworth, and Keighley Bowls Club during their heyday in the Skipton League.

More recently in that league, he starred for Sutton, helping their A team to two Division One championships.

However, it was at his first club, Myrtle, that he made his mark with his unique style and skill, entertaining spectators for many years and ensuring his teams success in the Shipley and Aire Wharfe Leagues.

He gained County Parks honours at Myrtle Park, won the Yorkshire Parks senior individual merit title six times from 1985 to 2003 and was British Parks Crown Green individual champion in 1988 and 1991.

He also lost narrowly in consecutive Yorkshire ABA Merit finals back in 1989 and 1990.

Add the Skipton Merit to these in 2007, and he proved his ability to be no fluke.

Hrabar was also a terrific doubles player, being victorious in many events but especially in mixed pairs with his partner Pat Lonsdale.

Despite all this, he remained a very modest person and would speak to anyone around the green about the game and enjoy a laugh and joke with his many friends.

Sincere condolences go to his dear sister at this sad time. Memories of  'the man in white' a name given to him because of his dress sense€" will last a long time.

May €˜Rhubarb€", as he was known affectionately in this area, rest in peace.

The Myrtle Park Bowling Club website was inundated with tributes, not only from fellow members but from across the bowls community.

Myrtle A team captain Mick Upton said: "He was always the perfect gentleman, never losing his cool if things weren't going his way, although as we all know, they usually did.

I have played in the same team with Roman, or against him, in competition, week in, week out for nearly all of the last 30 years.

I cannot bring myself to think what this coming season will be like . . .

Brighouse Sports Club member Chris Mordue, one of the Brad-ford area's best bowlers, said: "I can still not get over the sad news of my friend Roman.

Having played many years against the very best, I have to say that Roman was one of the most gifted players ever to grace a bowling green.

He had the most wonderful name and stylish delivery."

His funeral is next Wednesday, (12.15pm) at Sacred Heart Church in Bingley.



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