Queens Park FC Sports: 1886 -1890

From the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of 6th September, 1886:  “On Saturday afternoon the Queen’s Park FC held their annual sports at Hampden Park.   The weather was highly favourable and there was a large attendance of spectators.   The meeting being now regarded as the principal one in the West of Scotland, several famous athletes competed, together with some Englishmen, and the various events were upon the whole keenly contested.   In the one mile open handicap DS Duncan , the champion was defeated.   He gave up running at the end of the third lap, the pace being evidently too fast for him.   Stevenson and Anderson kept at it, the latter winning a good race by three yards.    During the day, Ray of Ulverston gave a good display of pole vaulting.   He endeavoured to defeat his record of 11 ft 5 1/4 in made at Whitehaven a fortnight ago, but in this he failed, only managing 10 ft 10 in.   The arrangements for conducting the events were excellent and altogether the sports were a complete success.   The band and pipers of the Royal Scots under the leadership of Mr SG Griffiths supplied excellent music.   At the close of the competitions Mr Cameron Corbett , MP for Tradeston, made a short speech after which Miss Scott presented the prizes.”

The events on the afternoon included a 100 yards open handicap with 6 Heats, 220 yards  open handicap, a 440 yards open handicap, 440 yards confined, 880 yards confined,  one mile open handicap, high jump, two bicycle races and a one mile tricycle handicap.   

DS Duncan

Withe the football season beginning on the first Saturday in September 1887, the Queen’s Park FC Sports were held on 4th June.   The clash with the established sports in Greenock and the Heart of Midlothian Sports in Edinburgh did not seem to affect the proceedings at Hampden for this preliminary meeting.   “The preliminary events in connection with the annual sports of the Queen’s Park Football Club was carried through on Saturday afternoon in presence of a fair gathering considering the unimportant character of the sports, which were only preliminary events to the excellent display to be made next Saturday when the programme proper will be gone over. ”   

The sports began with the Heats of the 100 yards confined, went on to an extended four a side competition featuring Rangers No 1, Clyde Strollers, Cambuslang Strollers, QP Strollers, Rangers No 2, Gordon Athletic, Rawcliffe, Vale of Leven, Abercorn, Partick Thistle, Royal Albert, Clyde, Kilmarnock, Rutherglen, Cartvale, Drumpellier, Cambuslang, Battlefield, St Mirren, Dumbarton Athletics, Cowlairs, Victoria and The Etceteras (QP).   Four of the above teams did not appear and the semi finals between Dumbarton and Dumbarton Athletics  and  The Etceteras (Queens Park) and Cambuslang would be played the following Saturday, as would the semis and finals of the confined 100 yards.

The weather the following Saturday was reportedly not of the best and there was not a big crowd at the start, either in the ground or in the stand.  The first event was the half-mile confined and when this was ‘got out of the way’ the 100 yards open handicap runners took to the track for one of the feature races of the afternoon.   The track was ‘in capital going order and fast’.   There were ten Heats of the race and many very good athletes were among them.   The Maley brothers, Willie (3 yards) and Tom (1/2 yard) both qualified for the second round, with Tom winning the final after a hard race against AS Blair by half a yard.    Queen’s Park Etceteras won their semi-final and then defeated Dumbarton in the final.   The athletics programme included all the usual events from 100 yards to one mile with some confined events mixed in with the open handicaps but the cycle races were regarded as the big draw with English champions competing, there was also a tandem race and a tricycle race.   

Tom Maley

The sports in 1888 ere held on 9th June in weather so bad to start with, there was torrential rain for an hour before the start, that there was talk of them being postponed.  There were no records in the races, nor were there any double winners but it was reported to be a good meeting.   The 100 yards open handicap was won by RA Taylor of EUAC from T Maley, Clydesdale Harriers and A Hastie, Clydesdale Harriers and the 120 yards hurdles was won by JT Ward, Clydesdale Harriers, from A Watt of Queen’s Park. .   JR Gow of the Rangers FC won his Heat of the 100  but failed to make the final. AT Symington won the 220 yards.  R Welsh of Ayr won the 440 yards, J Allan of Queen’s Park won the 600 yards from T Blair, also of Queen’s Park.   The one Mile was won comfortably by A Hannay, Clydesdale Harriers and Rangers FC 

The preview of the sports in 1889 was:   “The annual sports of the Queens Park FC come off on Saturday on their beautiful ground at Hampden – the best adapted enclosure for athletics in Scotland.   Great pains are being taken to have the cinder path in prime order, and with favourable weather the surface should be smooth and suitable for fast performances.   The cream of athletes and cyclists have entered, and the sports promise to rival all previous enterprises of a similar kind held by this club. ”   

Glasgow Herald, June 3rd, 1889

Quite the build up but would the sports live up to this billing?   Seven days later.

“Another instance of the apathy of the Glasgow public to athletics meetings was forthcoming on Saturday when the Queen’s Park held their annual sports.   The weather, it is true, was not very inviting but had it been a football match thousands would have suffered, without raising a murmur, any little discomfort that may have been caused through the rain.   We cannot comprehend why the Glasgow public should be so one-sided in their taste.   Football unquestionably is a great game but there are physical traits, if we may so speak brought to the surface as our athletic meetings which are every bit as interesting as the pluck and determination usually shown in a football match.   Last year the Queen’s Park dropped £70  on their meeting, and the loss on Saturday will not be much less than that amount.   We hope better times are in store alike for the QP , and all those clubs who are doing so much to give athletics a firm, solid footing in Scotland.”     So thanks to the weather  the attendance was poor.   The meeting itself, according to all the reports was a good one with the Mile being specially mentioned.   John Blane of Clydesdale Harriers and Maybole could not run, which was a real pity, but the race between Charles Pennycook, Clydesdale Harriers and Arthurlie FC, off 15 yards and AM Marshall of Irvine FC, off 20, was a good one with Marshall just winning,.   Robert Mitchell of Clydesdale Harriers and St Mirren FC won the 600 yards, DK Gow of the Rangers Fc won the 100 yards handicap, and JR Gow, of Clydesdale Harriers and Rangers FC won the hurdles.   Where the athlete had joint membership, both clubs have been shown to indicate that it was a time when no sport claimed exclusivity and all clubs had multi-talented sportsmen representing them in open competition.   


On the second Saturday in June, 1890, the report in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read:

“Beteeen five and six thousand spectators assembled at Hampden Park on Saturday afternoon, in brilliant weather to take part in the annual sports held under the auspices of the club.      An interesting programme was named, and all the finals with the exception of the two miles safety race were keenly contested, the excitement was well sustained to the finish.   In the two mile bicycle race, Young, who rode a pneumatic tyre machine,  again demonstrated his  superiority, winning handsomely by about 20 yards in the good time of 5 min 44 sec.   ….     The 600 yards scratch race was looked upon as one of the events of the meeting.   Both Mitchell and Logan had kept themselves in it, and as Mitchell held the record at 1 min 52 secs, the contest excited great interest.     The race was at a good speed throughout, Blair of the Queen’s Park winning on the tape by a few inchesbut the time was 6 1-5th seconds slower than Mitchell’s record. … ”   Results: 

120 yards hurdles:  TM Duncan, EUAC, ; 2,  TW Young, Clydesdale Harriers; 3.  TE Maley, Clydesdale Harriers

400 yards open Handicap:  FD Watson, Stewart’s College  7 yards; 440 yards open handicap: W Martin, Newmilns, 26 yards

600 yards scratch race: 1.  T Blair, QPFC;  2.  R Mitchell, St Mirren FC;  3.  J Logan, Vale of Leven

880 yards handicap: J Taylor;   one mile open handicap:  A Hannah, Clydesdale Harriers, 20 yards.

T Blair, Queen’s Park FC