Blockbuster start on the cards for Ottery and Sidmouth

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE

Action from the pre-season friendly between Axminster Town and Ottery St Mary. Picture: SARAH MCCABE - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary manager Billy Rouse is already looking forward with huge anticipation to a mouth-watering opening day to the new Peninsula League season. 
The Otters will begin life at this level with a massive local derby at home to Sidmouth Town.  
“It’s a good one to start the season, Danny Burwood [Sidmouth manager] has already been in touch to wish me luck for the season and I’ve sent him the same,” said Rouse. 
“When I took the job at Ottery, the aim was to get in the Peninsula League and it is fantastic to do that at the first attempt. I know it has been achieved in a different way but we were top when the season was curtailed, and we have the best facilities out of the clubs that applied for promotion. 
“I can’t wait for the players to have a chance to show what they can do on that platform.” 
As well as fascinating local derbies with the likes of Sidmouth, Axminster, Honiton, Crediton and Cullompton, the Otters will get to taste new venues and new opposition. 
Teams like Torpoint, Ivybridge and Brixham are well established clubs at this level, but there is absolutely no fear in the Ottery camp, just excitement to prove their credentials. 
“The fact all the fixtures come out at once makes it so exciting,” said Rouse. “I’m like a kid at Christmas, planning all the fixtures, travel plans, training, everything. 
“It’s my first chance in this league and games on a Saturday and Wednesday is going to be brilliant. 
“We are looking forward to games like Torpoint away (September 18), getting on the ferry and enjoying the whole experience. 
“You look at the fixture list and we are going into the unknown with a lot of clubs. We go to Brixham in the second game of the season, on a Wednesday night, and they are normally strong in this division. 
“The flipside is that teams won’t know much about us and we have always competed, whatever team I’ve managed, we have been fighting near the top and we’re not here just to take part.” 

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