Pitch perfect at Ottery St Mary
- Credit: Ottery St Mary FC
Turn up with clean boots, shin pads, plenty to drink and even more enthusiasm.
Those are the basic requirements for players at Ottery St Mary Football Club, at least in normal times anyway.
Behind the scenes, however, and specifically on the pitch, hard work never stops on the impressive site at Washbrook Meadows.
“We have our main first-team pitch, which is used by the men’s first-team and reserves, the ladies first-team and occasionally the development side and youth games,” said Ottery chairman Mikey Ringer.
“There is a small historic stand on the right that came across from Withycombe Rugby Club and the main pitch has always been top notch.
“We also have a floodlit training pitch, where our youngest age groups play matches, plus the club house, another full-size pitch for youth 11-a-side games and a three-quarter pitch for the girls’ teams and Under-12s / Under-11s.
“It is all grass on the site and plenty of land that needs to be maintained, even during a lockdown.
“We have someone out there doing something every single day. It is essential maintenance work and we’ve ensured the Police and authorities have given us their agreement to continue looking after the club.
“It is not just out on the pitches but in the clubhouse as well because you can’t just abandon the place and expect everything to be fine when we do get back to football.
“Things still need to be checked every single day and the grass has only just slowed down in growth because of the mild weather, which means it requires cutting at least once a week.
“The pitches still need to be divoted and we are carrying out a complete overhaul on the front pitch at the moment to help with the drainage.
“The winter fertiliser has just gone down and the expense carries on.
“We have made the decision to only mark the key corners of the pitch for now, as you would end up using litres of paint every week to mark a pitch that can’t be used.
“Whatever happens, we will ensure the pitches are in the best condition possible for when football does return.”