Boss of unbeaten table-toppers Ottery St Mary AFC reflects on the season so far

Ottery St Mary Football Club’s Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South and West campaign could not really have gone any better to date.

As the Otters kick their heels waiting for the end of lockdown two and the December 5 re-start of the season, they can reflect on their current table-topping status.

The Washbrook Meadows outfit have played 11 games so far, winning ten and drawing one.

 No fewer than 14 different players have netted for the Otters, with the goals to date column reading 42 and just six have been conceded.

Pete Grover is the leading scorer, having found the back of the opposition net nine times.

The other Ottery scorers have been: Liam Carey (seven), Ash Small (five), Matty Webb (four), Jordy Burrows, Luka Nickles, Dan Gill, Loren Newcombe and Connor Swingler (two).

Single goals have been scored by Ryan Burrows, Charlie Cox, Jack Hobday, Ben Lawrence and Tiernan West.

Three players have been ‘ever-present’ for the team; Daniel Gill, Ben Lawrence and Jacob O’Callaghan.

Speaking to East Devon News about the season so far, Ottery boss Billy Rouse said: “Things are taking shape nicely.

“When I took on the job the idea was for us to be ‘knocking’ on the door of the top four and, with a third of the season already behind us, we find ourselves in pole position and so well on our way to achieving that first target of being in the top four come the end of the campaign.”

He added: “The standard in the league has certainly not surprised me.

“I knew that every game would be a tough one and that no opposing team would become a ‘freebie’ – I anticipated that every game would be tough and that’s how it has panned out.

“I’m so proud of what the lads have achieved so far, especially when you consider the injuries we have had, and still have, and that’s credit to having a strong club of players who are able to comfortably play up in the first team.

“To have completed a third of the league season unbeaten with ten wins from 11 outings is testament to the quality we have in the squad.

“If I am honest, Lockdown II came at a good time for us as it’s given the lads who are injured more time to recover.

“The other good thing is that we are sat top of the table with points on the board with other teams needing to play catch-up.

“For the past few seasons as a manager, I’ve had teams that are the ones doing the chasing and I know the pressure that that can put on players and teams so it’s nice for us to be setting a hot pace.

“Hopefully we can back to action in early December and get on with the job of fulfilling out seasons aims and targets.”

As thing stand, Ottery lead the Scott Richards Solicitors Devon League South and West with 31 points from 11 games.

Second are Buckland Athletic with 29 points from nine – the Homers Heath outfit have won all nine of their games so far.

Okehampton Argyle sit third with 25 points from 10 games having won eight, drawn one (they shared two goals with Ottery at Washbrook Meadow in September) and lost one; a 2-1 defeat at Paignton Saints in October.

If the destiny of the title is set to be between the current top three, then clearly the meetings between them will be pivotal.

Ottery face Buckland Athletic Reserves twice in February with the first meeting being the February 6 game set for Washbrook Meadow.

The game at Homers Heath will take place 21 days later on the final Saturday of February.

The Otters travel to Okehampton Argyle on Saturday, March 20.

December 5 fixtures for the top three:

Watcombe Wanderers v Ottery St Mary

Okehampton Argyle v Newton Abbot Spurs

Buckland Athlietic v Plympton

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