South Scotland

Dumbarton poet Stephen Watt wins penalty shootout in Stow

Winning penalty Image copyright Nil By Mouth
Image caption Dumbarton's Stephen Watt proved the most effective from the penalty spot

Dumbarton emerged as winners of the first Poetry and Penalties Cup held in the Borders at the weekend.

Club poet in residence Stephen Watt saw off St Johnstone's Jim Mackintosh and Selkirk's Thomas Clark in the unusual shootout.

The event took place in the village of Stow on Saturday as part of the annual Stowed Out Festival.

It was backed by the Nil By Mouth charity in its efforts to "celebrate the positives of Scottish football".

The event was also to promote Mind The Time - a collection of football poems to support the Football Memories project working with people with Alzheimer's.

Image copyright Nil By Mouth
Image caption Thomas Clark, Stephen Watt and Jim Mackintosh took part in the event

Each poet had 15 seconds prior to each kick to recite something suitable about the game before trying to beat the goalkeeper.

Mr Clark converted just one of his five efforts but both Mr Watt and Mr Mackintosh managed three goals before going to sudden death.

However, the St Johnstone poet saw his spot kick crack off the underside of the bar which let Dumbarton take the title.

Mr Watt said: "Making poetry fun, proving football and literature work together, and of course getting an important message across about the work of Nil by Mouth and Football Memories, were all key to what made this competition work.

Image copyright Nil By Mouth
Image caption Dumbarton took the trophy after the shootout went to sudden death

"I'm lucky that my penalties went in but getting to spend time with the guys was, by far, the best part of it.

"And having a nice shiny trophy to bring back to Dumbarton makes life a little sweeter."

Mr Clark described the winning penalty as a "thing of beauty" while Mr Mackintosh said he was available to take penalties for St Johnstone if required.

Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott added: "This was a day of firsts, given it was the first time Scotland's three footballing poets performed together and the staging of the inaugural Poetry and Penalties competition.

"The poets were all up for a laugh and with a bit more practise their footballing skills will rival the quality of their prose.

"We already have plans to get them together again in the next few months for another event and I've no doubt Jim and Thomas are already planning on taking Steven's crown next year."

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