September 17 2018

Graeme Brown from Hampden Bowling Club (with cup) Thomas Clark (Selkirk FC), Jim Mackintosh (St Johnstone FC) and Stephen Watt (Dumbarton FC) prepare for battle at Hampden

One of Glasgow’s most historic sporting clubs played hosted to a unique ’Bools and Bards’ competition, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, at the weekend.

Hampden Bowling Club teamed up with football poets Stephen Watt, Thomas Clark and Jim Mackintosh for the event which saw the three bards recite poems inspired by the game and compete in a special bowling ‘penalty shoot-out.’ The event was sponsored by Nil by Mouth as part of our ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ campaign celebrating the diversity of Scottish football and the positive role sport clubs play in communities.

Before talking to the stage to read, the poets took part in the shoot-out with Dumbarton FC’s Stephen pipping Selkirk’s Thomas in a ‘sudden death’ finale after St Johnstone wordsmith Jim  bowed out in the first round. Stephen’s skills saw him lift the ‘Henderson Cup’ named after Nil by Mouth founder and former Evening Times ‘Scotswoman of the Year’ Cara Henderson.

Hampden Bowling Club is believed to be located on the site of the original Hampden Park and boasts a long and proud history. It retains a strong connection with Queens Park FC.

The ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ campaign was set up by Nil by Mouth is 2015 with the aim of highlighting the positives of football and all the weird and wonderful ways the game enriches people’s lives. This visit to a site which lays claim to being the original home of Scottish football is the latest in a nationwide tour which sees the charity link up with fans, players, pundits, authors and poets to celebrate the ‘Beautiful Game.’

Stephen Watt walked away with the Gold!

Graeme Brown from Hampden Bowling Club said:
‘Hampden Bowling Club was delighted to host the first ever ‘Bools & Bards’ Event and welcome three of the best Poets in the country into our club. We have a natural tie with football, as our grounds are on the site of the first Hampden Park and therefore it is always an entertaining evening when we dip our hat to our footballing past with a bowls twist.’

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
We are delighted to be involved in what we believe to be the first event of its kind in the UK. The three poets are all smashing guys and we hope events like this help raise the profile of their work. They are a talented trio, reach with their own unique style of delivery. The audience could have listened to them all night, such is the warmth and quality of their work.

It was also a fantastic gesture by Hampden Bowling Club to host the event and we received a wonderful welcome from members. It’s an incredibly historic venue and a brilliant vehicle to bring people from all walks of life together. There was a real buzz in the room when the poets performed and a lot of happy faces after the decision to keep the national team at Hampden earlier in the week. Following the success of last year’s ‘Poets and Penalties’ and now ‘Bools and Bards’ I think the lads are a bit concerned what we will have them doing next!