Local football round-up
PUBLISHED: 17:29 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:29 10 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
THE Royal Marines Representative side were beaten 4-0, but by no means disgraced, in their St James Park game with Exeter City last midweek. The match was designed to raise funds for both the Royal Marine Benevolent Fund as well as the 'Help for Heroes'
THE Royal Marines Representative side were beaten 4-0, but by no means disgraced, in their St James Park game with Exeter City last midweek. The match was designed to raise funds for both the Royal Marine Benevolent Fund as well as the 'Help for Heros' initiative. Just 24 hours after the game against the Grecians, a number of the servicemen involved played again, this time for the Royal Marines AFC in a pre-season game against Elburton Villa. The Plymouth side led 1-0 at the break but continual pressure in the second half paid off for the hosts with Scott Howarth netting a deserved equaliser and Mark Blackwell seeing one shot come back off the inside of an upright. The Marines then played their final warm-up game, before this Saturdays' Eastern Division opener against fellow new boys Bovey Tracey at Endurance Park (3pm), against Ivybridge and the contest was won by the Marines thanks to a goal from Mark Pepperell. Meanwhile, off the pitch, the Marines AFC have announced a four year long sponsorship agreement with The St Austell Brewery.Speaking of the season ahead, Marines AFC Chairman Paul Collinson says: "This coming Saturday is the culmination of two years' hard work. We're restricted in this opener owing to it being our holiday season but a good mix of youth and experience with the likes of Richie Hope and Dan Boere will hopefully see the team through the early games. There has been a lot of conjecture about how viable a Royal Marines team can be due to operational commitments, but I believe we still have the quality in depth to cement a top ten finish in what is the first season the Royal Marines have competed in any league. The squad is raring to get started and, though not as strong as we would like during August, the remainder of the season looks good. I would just like to pass on our best to our fellow league clubs and wish them all the best (unless, of course, they are playing us!) for the season ahead."OTTERTON Football Club is getting ready to mix it with the 'big boys' in the Premier Division of the Devon & Exeter Football League. Ten years ago the village side was playing in the Intermediate Divisions but year on year success has seen a meteoric rise up the tables and their promotion out of Senior One last May has left them playing in the top flight of local football.Neil Shipton is the person who has done so much for the village side to get them to where they stand today. As 1st Team manager and Club Secretary Richard Tapp says: "Neil (Shipton) is simply Mr Otterton Football Club. He has been so instrumental in guiding us to where we are. He stood down as 1st team boss a couple of seasons ago and, typical of the bloke, then proceeded to get his boots on and play regular football with the Reserves and the fact that we will kick off at the highest level you can reach in terms of local football in a couple of weeks' time, is very much 'down to him'.Tapp moved to the area some four years ago from Tiverton and immediately set about looking for a club to join. Otterton was his choice and he's been involved in some capacity ever since.During the summer months the club have been working tirelessly to prepare their Stantaway ground for the demands of Premier Division football. It has meant some 'movement' of the playing surface and a lick of paint in the changing rooms, whilst the club will continue to do their post match socialising in the Kings Arms pub in the village. As for on the pitch expectancy, Tapp says with heartfelt honesty: "It's going to be a very new experience for me as a Manager and the lads as a team but one of our greatest assets is the 'togetherness' we have created in and out of the dressing room. We have kept last year's squad and two of them, Kevin Pitt and Simon Tuley, have been with us since this whole journey began."Another 'oh, so important' member of the club's staff is Tapp's assistant, 'Deano' (Steve Dabrowiecki), who the Otterton Boss is keen to laud praise on:" Deano is a real star, he's Otterton to the core and has put in more hours than anybody helping to make sure that, come Wednesday August 24, against Clyst Valley, we are ready."One thing is for sure, if 'togetherness' is an aid to doing well at football then Otterton are set for another decent season. However, Boss Tapp has set his sights on keeping the teams feet, firmly on the ground: "After year on year success this might be a tough term ahead so I'd have to say, at this stage, that if, this time next year, we are preparing for another Premier season then we will have done a decent job in the coming months."EXMOUTH Town go into the new season with 'hope' rather than 'expectancy' after they lost their entire team from last season. Indeed such was the number of departing players from Southern Road, most following former Manager Richard Pears to Cullompton Rangers, that the only player who was on the Town books last season to be present going into the new campaign is James Payne. There's a new management team in place now Mike Walsh has come in alongside Chris Dowling and it's former Dawlish Town man Walsh who is responsible for the arrival of the bulk of the 'new' Town team, many of whom have come in from the South Hams area.Goalkeeper Adi Pullin has been recruited from Ottery St Mary to provide some much needed experience between the posts and Dowling has high hopes for a couple of teenagers, central defender Mark Broke and utility player 'J' Reed. Dowling says of the pair: "They have both looked very bright in warm-up games and I have high hopes that the two will make a really good impression this season."Dowling also had to say 'adios' to yet another Town player leaving to join former Boss Pears in Mid Devon with the departure of central defender Sean Roche, whilst left back Dan Plater also announced on the eve of the new season that he was moving across Town to play for Exmouth Amateurs. Dowling says: "The old manager has certainly left his mark on us in terms of the number of players who shipped out to join him. I wish him well and am sure that he will do well but it does leave a sour taste in the Town mouth that he is operating this coming season with a team that, in general, last year graced Southern Road! Still life goes on and we are setting our immediate Peninsula League Easter Division sights on simply surviving at this level."Cowling makes no secret of the fact that the current side is still very much a 'team in the making' and he says they would be delighted to hear from any prospective new players who would like to get involved.Training sessions are held at the Southern Road ground every Wednesday night from 7pm and prospective players will be made very welcome. Town begin the new season at home on Saturday with the visit of Buckfastleigh Rangers (3pm).Meanwhile BUDLEIGH SALTERTON are also ready for the big kick off this coming weekend. After last year's Eastern Division title win, much is again expected from Kevin Smith and Julian Phillips' side who have made a number of changes to the Greenway Lane playing staff this summer.It's a trip to Lords Meadow, Crediton, for Budleigh to launch the new campaign on Saturday (3pm) and in the opposition dugout they will find former Exeter City and Torquay United manager John Cornforth who has once again agreed to help United this season.