Ottery boss reflects on his team missing out on a Macron League Division Three top three finish

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to East Budleigh. Ref mhsp 40-16TI 9156. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary have ended the Macron League Division Three campaign as the fourth placed team and that represents real disappointment for Otters boss Dave Fairweather.

Ottery's last game of the campaign saw them make the short trip across East Devon to a Lympstone side who, after their 4-0 win, should now go on and be crowned divisional champions by taking, at the very least, a point in their final game, which is Saturday's (May 11) home meeting with Tedburn St Mary.

Fairweather said: "The defeat at Lympstone rather mirrored each of our last four games in which we have faced fellow challengers and come up just a little short. It is so disappointing that, in a season when we had that magnificent winning run, a poor start and a four game losing run at the end has left us missing out on winning the division and, indeed, finishing in the top three."

He continued: "Mind you, when I look back across the 26 games of the campaign I can see that the damage was done in the earlier part of the campaign when, for example, we led 3-1 against East Budleigh with the clock ticking down, but lost 4-03 and something similar happened when we met Otterton. It's results like that those, in terms of the bigger picture, that have ultimately cost us!"

The Ottery season is not finished for they still have the final of the Grandisson Cup which is pencilled in for next Wednesday night (May 15) when they will take on a Kentisbeare side that defeated Sidmouth Town in a semi-final meeting at Ottery this past midweek.

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Fairweather said: "With so many cu0p competitions running side by side I am not sure we will see the same Kentisbeare eleven that edged out Sidmouth in the semi-final, but we need to prepare as if we are taking on the Kents first team. We have had some right royal contests with them [Kentisbeare] in recent years and I am really looking forward to this latest challenge."

As for looking further ahead, Fairweather says: "A season ending is always a time for reflection and I will be looking to sit down once we have the cup final out of the way and take stock of where we are in terms of going forward.

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"Wholesale changes are not the answer and indeed, I am convinced we don't need that sort of player surgery anyway! The sensible thing is to look to bring in two or three players who will not only complement the squad, but also improve us. That said, I am very aware of the need to recruit players who will fit into our way of thinking and the team ethos we have.

"We will be stepping up again and the journey continues and I am hoping the players will, after the final, get away and recharge their batteries ready to come back for another pre-season and, if we can start the next campaign in similar fashion to how we got up a serious speed mid-season, then I have no doubt that we will make up for this season's ultimate league disappointment by enjoying successful times ahead."

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