Otters boss left ‘shocked’ by DEFL’s new structure

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 August 2020

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 final success against Sidmouth Town. Picture: BR

Billy Rouse with the Morrison Bell Cup in the dressing room at Ottery St Mary after his sides 2019 final success against Sidmouth Town. Picture: BR

Archant

Ottery St Mary manager Billy Rouse has said he was shocked when he saw the make-up of the 2020/21 Joma Devon & Exeter Football League.

The leagues have been split into regionalised groups with all divisions having two subsections (east and west) expect Division Four which has three (east, west and central) in an attempt to combat the shortened season.

Ottery’s development squad has been placed in Division Two East but Rouse said he was shocked by the other teams in their division.

He said: “When you look at Axminster Reserves (which consists of Upottery’s first team from last season) being placed in that division alongside a strong yet only Division Five side Exeter United, it does make you think how have the divisions been decided.

“During the takeover at Ottery, we asked the league for a name change from Cronies to Ottery Reserves. I expected a relegation to Division One but this almost feels like Division Four.

“That said, if these league standings stay as they are you have to compete and beat the teams in front of you.

“On their day, I think the reserves will be a strong outfit but because of the fluid system of the club, players will be expected to move around when necessary which will mean a lot of adapting to different players. However we as a club are relishing the challenge.”

The Otters first team was back in action last Saturday (August 15) when they drew 0-0 at Axminster Town, but Rouse said he felt disappointed not to win.

“[Axminster manager] Joshua Stunnell said after the game that we deserved to win and we’re the toughest opposition they had faced, what more praise could you want from that?” added Rouse.

“We restricted Axminster to one long-range effort but unfortunately had three gilt-edge chances missed as well as another goal chalked off by the official, unfairly after watching the footage but that’s football.

“We have to learn to be more ruthless if we want to achieve things!

“At Axminster, Josh records the game and he was kind to let me rewatch the footage. It’s a great learning tool and something hopefully we can install at Ottery.”

Next up for Ottery is a game against Elmore Reserves tomorrow (August 22), while the reserves travel to Paignton Villa.


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