In the week that snooker player Neil Robertson turned up at the village of Barnsley in Gloucestershire rather than Barnsley Yorkshire for a tournament, the Sandgrounders were extra careful on their first visit to Leigh , non playing captain Nick Foss making sure that his sat nav didn't show Leigh in Essex 250 miles away.
The Southport crew were disappointed at the timing of this match as they had been invited to Simon Cowell's birthday bash in LA the same night. Cowell , a massive Sandgrounders fan , had even offered to provide his personal Lear jet to get the team there. Little Mix and Ed Sheerin were playing and the temptation was too much for Nick Wilson and Josh Taylor who both declined the chance to step in for Nick Foss who was suffering the dreaded manflu.
Ged Wilson's commitment to the team cannot be overstated and he was happy to be a last minute sub and accompany Uncle Ray and , making her Wigan debut , Chris Foley.
Chris had just returned from Portugal and looked suitably refreshed and tanned but hadn't played for 3 weeks.
Much to Chris' concern the team did not arrive until 7.28. This wasn't good planning and due to the fact that Uncle Ray had been stuck behind a learner and then a tractor on his drive from Southport to the Rufford rendezvous. As a result Chris had no time to practise and was fretting.
The Dragons were already there - Jacob and young Adam were knocking seven shades out of the ball whilst Lee Smith looking ever more the Johnny Depp with his flowing pony tail , Pirates of the Caribbean T shirt and magnificent Everton tatt was working on the scorecard. "Jacob's injured his wrist" Lee announced "and can't play" . But , but , but he's just been smacking the ball to kingdom come ...."Yeah I know but his wrist isn't right" . They obviously set the bar very high at the Dragons and so , just in time Enter the No1 Dragon ... the Owdmon himself David Mawdesley.
"Should have been in the South of France me " said Dave ... "but here I am " - what dedication to the cause.
And so we were off and a blistering start for the Sandgrounders as they won the first 6 matches.
Uncle Ray beat Johnny Depp 3-1 .
Chris' worries faded as she beat Owdmon in straight sets showing tremendous control and patience whilst David showed neither .
Ged beat fellow City fan young Adam 3-1, but in the course of the game Adam injured his knee . What is it about these youngsters in Leigh? Unsurprisingly and very wisely, Adam declined treatment from the Sandgrounders' nurse Hattie Jaques who had ministered so well to Wayne 2 weeks previously. .
We then had a classic encounter between Uncle Ray and Owdmon and with David finding his mojo and getting over his frustration of not being on holiday we saw the return of the backhand that we know and fear so well.Ray clung on to win 11-4 in the 5th but this was a sign of things to come in the 2nd half.
Ged then took on Lee in what turned out to be the match of the night. City v Everton , come on you err .....blues!From 2-1 down Lee battled back to take it into the 5th and then lead but Ged displayed nerves of steel to take it 11-7.
At half time it was 15-5 and the Sandgrounders were very happy. Not as happy as Josh and Nick Wilson over in LA it must be said but happy nonetheless.
Ged stayed on to partner Ray to a routine doubles win against David and guest specialist doubles player, Chris "Galeforce" Garfin.
It then started to unravel for the Southport crew. Uncle Ray unwisely tried to change Chris's technique with a video he had taken of her resulting in her losing 3-1 to young Adam. By this point Adam was having difficulties moving due to his knee injury. This restricted his attacking shots but weirdly seemed to work in his favour as he was forced to play a more compact , controlled game.
Ged , who has clearly been working out , continued to carry the team, beating Owdmon in straight sets with a display of movement , power and precision to justifiably earn him his 3rd POM award in 3 games . Well done sir .
Stand in skipper Ray then gave a captain's performance in his game against inured Adam who by this point was playing on one leg. Captain of the Titanic that is as he went down 1-3 , almost without trace.
In the clash of the Evertonians Lee beat Chris 3-0 , which is probably the best result the Blues will get all season.
And so it ended Dragons 15 Sandgrounders 23. Everyone seemed to be happy with the result especially Josh and Nick W.