Otters gearing up for big derby to launch new Macron League season

Football on pitch

Football on pitch - Credit: Getty Images/Image Source

Ottery St Mary begin a new Macron Devon and Exeter League season next Wednesday (August 30) with a mouth-watering ‘local derby’ when they entertain Tipton St John at Washbrook Meadow (6.45pm).

Tipton, who field a side which includes many players that live in and around Ottery, begin their league campaign tomorrow (Saturday) with a visit to Clyst Valley Reserves.

Ottery, who last night hosted Whipton and Pinhoe in their final warm-up game before the first league outing, were 6-3 winners in their most recent friendly.

That game, against Exwick Villa, saw goals scored by Corey Ringer (2), James Gosney (2), Jake Allen and Dan Jewell.

Ottery boss Dave Fairweather said of the performance: “It was as good as one could expect for this stage of the pre-season.

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“Of course, shipping three goals is not something a coach wants to see, but we did get six at the other end with some good finishing.”

Taking on fierce rivals Tipton in the opening league game is not ideal for the Otters. Fairweather says: “Hand on heart I’d have preferred it had the game come after we had got into the league season.

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“There’s no doubting that the two games against Tipton are going to be the highlights of our Division Three campaign.

“It’s a shame also that we are going to be without two or three who would have played had they not been away.

“However, as I have often alluded too before, there is no point in building a squad if you are not prepared to treat all squad members in the same way and I have to trust that whoever gets a starting shirt against Tipton goes out and gives their all for the cause.

“Indeed, it’s the perfect opportunity for those lads who start the first game to play to such a level that makes it impossible to leave them out, regardless of who might be available for the following league game.”

Ottery head into the new campaign having enjoyed a productive pre-season, though they have been hit with one injury, that the fractured ankle that winger Jordan Wilkinson picked up in the game against Feniton.

Fairweather says: “It looks like we’ll not see Jordan [Wilkinson] back with us until late October, early November which is a shame because he was having a terrific pre-season.”

One ‘new player’ with the squad this season is going to be Dan Jewell, who is a name many long-term Ottery followers will be familiar with.

Jewell was with Ottery in their South West Peninsula League days. Fairweather says: “Dan [Jewell] is an Ottery lad, but has not played for 18 months owing to an Achilles injury.

“I think work is an issue for him in terms of availability, which is a shame, but he has genuine ability and certainly adds something to our squad.”

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