Scoring from three ‘bards’

The Yeats of Yarrow - Thomas Clark.
The Yeats of Yarrow - Thomas Clark.

The ‘Beautiful Game’ will be celebrated like never before this weekend as three Scottish football poets take part in a unique competition in the Borders.

Selkirk’s Poet in Residence, Thomas Clark, will be joined by his Dumbarton and St Johnstone counterparts, Stephen Watt and Jim Mackintosh, to compete for the ‘Poetry and Penalties Cup on Saturday at the Stowed Out Festival in Stow.

The competition is being sponsored by the Nil by Mouth charity as part of its campaign to celebrate the positives of Scottish football.

The three poets will fuse recitals of their prose ay 6.30pm with a special penalty shoot-out to determine the winner of the trophy in front of an audience of festivalgoers.

Thomas Clark, also one of the organisers, became Scotland’s first footballing ‘Poet In Residence’ in August 2015 where he spent the season chronicling the ups and downs of life at Lowland League Selkirk FC.

The Stowed Out festival runs across the August 25-26 and aims to showcase a diverse line-up of music, spoken word and art which is sometimes challenging but always entertaining.

Thomas said: “It’s fantastic finally to get all three of Scotland’s bards together in one place and there can be no better occasion for that than a bit of friendly competition.

“Every young lad grows up dreaming of lifting the cup and – let’s face it – the Selkirk FC trophy cabinet isn’t exactly bursting at the seams.

“But win, lose or draw, it will be an event to remember, and that’s what football is all about.”

Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott said: ”We are delighted to be involved in what we believe is a global first poetry and penalties competition. The three poets are all smashing guys and we have been following their work

closely over recent years. Our charity seeks to use football as a vehicle to bring people together and to remember the things we have in common, and this is such a unique way of celebrating the joy the sport can bring to millions of people each weekend.”