Earlier in the year Southport Storm travelled to Latchford Albion in Warrington for an away fixture. Latchford were a far superior side on the day. They were clearly a well drilled side and used their experience to outplay the Storm and win comfortably.

As a new club continuing to learn and grow in our first season, we were always going to suffer defeats and come across sides with players who have played the game all their lives. Latchford were one of these sides but they were very supportive of the Storm players during and after the game. It was clear that the game was over as a contest by half time, but when Southport heads started to drop, the opposition players showed a lot of class on several different occasions and patted us on our backs and told encouraged us to keep our chins up and keep trying.

Ste McCann and Southport Storm player

Ste McCann

Even the Latchford spectators on the touchline were chatting away with ours and wishing us good luck for the rest of the season. After the game their coaching staff even offered to help us in any way they could in the future. The Latchford Albion club showed a great deal of class and respect that day and did themselves, and the sport proud.

Storm captain Dave Oliver decided to send an email to the Warrington Guardian newspaper in the hope of getting Latchford the recognition they deserve for showing the true spirit of the game. This is not something that the club has ever done before but Dave decided they deserved to be congratulated. With us obviously not getting the Warrington Guardian in Southport we didn’t know if the story had been printed or not until a few weeks later when Dave got a phone call out of the blue.

The call was from Mike Lomax who is a director at Warrington Wolves. He said he had read the article in the paper and loved the story. He explained to Dave that Warrington are keen to help the amateur game as much as possible and especially new clubs trying to promote the game outside of the rugby league heartlands such as ourselves. He also expressed his pride that a local club in his home town had showed such class. He invited both clubs to the Warrington Wolves vs Catalan Dragons match in June as his guests. And we would all enjoy hospitality in a luxurious lounge before and after the game.

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When we arrived at the spectacular Haliwell Jones stadium, we were told thet Dave and a representative from Latchford would be interviewed on stage in front of all the people in the room which was approx 100 people. The interviews lasted about five minutes and were enjoyable for everyone as they were a few laughs and both clubs were promoted. The next speaker was Tony Smith the Warrington head coach. This was special only an hour before kick off as he was in a rush to prepare his players but a big game. He had been told he was not obigued to speak and could just pose for a picture if he wanted to but he insisted on speaking and he explained why on the microphone.

He explained that the amateur game is vital to the sport and he realises how important it is. He also told the Storm players not to give up and be patient as we will continue to learn and gain experience as we establish ourselves which was great advice.

Tony then shocked both clubs by inviting us all to a Wolves training session. This will be a fantastic day for everyone who can convince their boss to give them the day off work for it. We will learn a massive amount from it and it will be very exciting to meet and greet so many Super League stars. The players are all excited and have been talking about which players they are looking forward to meeting the most. Rei Chambers wants to meet the Kiwi players from his homeland, Ben Walton wants to meet Roy Asotasi and Sam Collison is hoping he gets a chance to tackle Ashton Simms, good luck Sam. Dave Oliver is excited to meet all of the Wolves players.

Our club has received great gestures from both Latchford Albion and Warrington Wolves. Our players who didn’t previously support any Super League club now consider themselves Warrington fans and most of the squad now think of Warrington as their second team. We now consider Latchford Albion and Warrington Wolves as friends of our club and wish them both the best for the rest of the season.

State of Mind would like to wish the Storm all the very best for the future