Ottery St Mary return to training and the off-pitch work increases at Washbrook Meadow


- Credit: Archant

We have given Ottery St Mary chairman a couple of weeks off in terms of a regular chat, but now he’s back and first up we asked Mikey [Ringer] what, if any news, was there coming out of the club.

He replied: “The ladies have been back in action with one-to-one training for a couple of weeks and we will be stepping that up to training in small groups from this week.

“What has been so encouraging is seeing the numbers we have had at the sessions and, perhaps more importantly, how good a shape everyone is in. What makes that all the more impressive is the fact that none of them have played since February!”

The Ottery chairman then turned his attention to the club’s first team which is now under the leadership of former Cronies boss Billy Rouse.

He says: “Billy [Rouse] had his first session with his players earlier this week and we shall be progressing that, always, of course, making sure we work within the government advice in terms of keeping everyone safe.

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“Rather like it has been with the women’s team, the interest we seem to be getting from the men’s side of things is also very exciting.”!

He continued: “I get the feeling that we are potentially looking at a very exciting season ahead - just as long as we get a season of some sort.”

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In terms of work off the pitch, the Ottery chairman says: “Work continues at the club and things are coming together.

“We are on course to finish the new dry storage which has been funded by Sid Burnage and the FA ‘DIY’ grant scheme. This will free up so much space not only inside the clubhouse, enabling us to make a players/games lounge, but also our lower changing room block, which will be in use next season for the youth and our development team and that will be invaluable when as, and when, we have double fixtures on our grounds.”

He continued on the subject of work around the club saying: “We have been able to give a tired old building a new lease of life by way of applying a coat of paint and work like this is going to continue all the way through until the first ball of next season is kicked.

“We are introducing multi screens into the clubhouse so we can show live sports and we shall take that concept to the next level by also have an integrated sound system to enable us to maximise what we can offer when music and the dance floor are needed.”

The Ottery chairman then returned to the playing side when he said: “I am delighted that we have been able to confirm during the past week that Lauren West and Jess Jenkins will continue being the club sports therapists for what will be a third successive season. Their work is invaluable and it’s a huge lift to us all that the pair are ‘sticking around’.”

Next up, the Ottery chairman turned his attention to business matters saying: “We are in difficult times and sponsorship is needed, but we also realise how difficult it is our there for businesses, therefore we have put a spin on a sponsorship idea which worked well last season, using a scratch card. The idea is that individuals and/or businesses buy a square and the winner gets the sponsorship package - but with an extra benefit in as much as this time round we will again selling ‘squares’, but instead of the winners names going onto the kit, they will select a charity to go with their own name, or business and, for every £25 square purchased, we will donate £5 of that money to their chosen charity.

“Our thinking with this is that we have all been through this Coronavirus crisis together and what is clear is that we are all going to need to support each other as we look to recover from things. Hopefully we can be of assistance to various charities by raising awareness.”

Finally, for this latest ‘chat’, the Ottery chairman said: “We were thrilled to receive £5,000 from the FA, Premier League and Football Foundation ‘Pitch Preparation’ Fund and this money will be invaluable to us, enabling us to carry out some much needed maintenance and improvement work on our various playing surfaces that enable so many players across a wide range of ages to enjoy playing the game.”

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