Otters not yet out of another promotion race
PUBLISHED: 11:41 28 December 2017
Ottery St Mary are without a game this weekend - the final match day of the year in terms of local football and the Macron Devon and Exeter League.
With it being year’s end, the Otters can reflect on the season to date, one that has seen them play 11 of what will eventually be a 26 game Division Three campaign.
A return, to date, of just four wins and six defeats in those 11 games is not the most impressive.
However, for the Otters faithful, the past three seasons have brought successive promotions and it was always the case that the year-on-year success had to end at some stage.
Not that the Otters boss Dave Fairweather is ‘throwing in the towel’ on a fourth straight promotion just yet!
The Otters boss says: “We have underachieved at times this season, but we are not far off and the fact that we still have two games to play before we even reach the halfway stage of the season fills me with plenty of optimism that there is time for us to make a challenge for another promotion.”
He continued: “I have said it many times before, but the key word - and I know we, as a club, are not alone with this particular view - is availability.
“If we could get better commitment from the players as a squad - and I mean to both training and match day availability - then we would give ourselves such a better chance of success.
“A deeper look at the squad shows that many of the lads with us now in Division Three have been with us since our Division Six days just three short seasons ago and that presents us all with a challenge, for the higher we climb together the better the opposition is going to become and so there is a greater need for us to work harder in training for it is on the training ground where I passionately believe that games are won and lost.
“The more time we can spend collectively working on routines and disciplines, the better we will be as a team on any match day.”
In terms of the season so far, the Otters have won league games at Royal Oak and Priory - the latter top the table at Christmas by four clear points - and have also enjoyed home wins over Pinhoe and, in their most recent outing, at home to Countess Wear in a game that marked the first clean sheet of the Otters league season.
Ottery begin their 2018 fixtures with a Bill Slee Cup tie against North Tawton on Saturday week (January 6).
The cup tie is the final one of the 2nd round ties to be played and the winners will join Uplowman, Winchester, Whipton and Pinhoe, Tipton St John, Kentisbeare, Crediton United and Woodbury in the quarter-finals.
In terms of the Otters’ league campaign they are next in Macron Division Three action on January 13 with a visit to Clyst Valley and they are away again the week after with a January 20 game at Lympstone.
After that East Devon derby at Lympstone, the Otters will have reached the halfway stage of their league season.