Otters’ Bill Slee Cup win sets up big final farce

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9027. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary staged a remarkable second half recovery to win their Bill Slee Cup semi-final against Woodbury to book a berth in the final of the cup, writes Steve Birley.

Under normal circumstances the semi-final victory would lead to great excitement and an end-of-season cup final.

However, this season time has run out and, with it now being June 1, the final of a cup played in the 2017/18 season will not be played until the start of the 2018/19 campaign!

It’s something that does not sit well with Otters boss Dave Fairweather, who makes a very valid point when he says: “It’s ridiculous!

“Both ourselves and Kentisbeare were, of course, very keen to get the game in before the end of May and we could have done that, playing on any day from Monday through to Thursday of this week, but all attempts to get a decision out of the good folk organising the competition have fallen on deaf ears and we will have to contest this final at the start of a new season when the players who got us into the final may not even be with the club anymore!”

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He continued: “How does that then stand with player registration for the final?

“Are they really thinking both us and Kentisbeare will field teams of players that have played this season.

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“How about players that have moved on, and, for their part, Kentisbeare have gone up to Division One, so will, of course, be looking to strengthen their side for the new campaign, as indeed we are. It is a real mess.”

There’s also the not-so-small matter of a cup final generating great interest for clubs and increasing revenue, but, now, all that will be lost as a cup final is played amidst a pre-season schedule.

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the Otters, who are well versed in hosting cup finals, something that their Washbrook Meadows home has done with real distinction once again this season!

Trailing to two early second half goals in the semi-final, Ottery changed from a back three to a back four, introduced Adam Harris from the bench and then got back into the contest with a Jordan Wilkinson goal.

They levelled with a fine finish from Ben Rushton and then won the tie with a goal from leading scorer Corey Ringer.

Fairweather said: “We did not turn up for the first hour, but once we fell two down I could sense a determination to put things right and we ended up fully deserving to win.”

The Otters’ players now have a couple of weeks off before they report back for pre-season training towards the end of June.

However, with this being a World Cup year, the Ottery club house is the place to be to savour the atmosphere of big matches through the World Cup, with all games being shown on the big screen TV in the clubhouse.

Before that there’s the Ottery St Mary senior section awards taking place tonight (Friday) and we will bring you a full page special report with pictures from the night in next week’s Sidmouth Herald.

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