The Cotswold Floorball League's qualifying rounds continued with five close matches.
St James and Ebrington are to be thanked for stepping in at the very last moment when a team withdrew. Lily Lewis is also thanked for staying on to referee every league match, then playing in goal for a friendly match.
St James opened with a hard fought, yet eventually decisive win over last season's finalists, Bourton on the Water. Joel Master gave Saints a 2-0 lead, before Bourton found their feet and pulled one back through Lauren Jefferies. Bourton had the better of the second half only to succumb to a late score during a delayed penalty.
The 'derby' match between St Catharines and St James ended as a 1-1 draw. Oli Whitehouse gave St Catharines the lead with their first shot after absorbing a lot of pressure at the other end of the pitch. Things could have got even worse had not Thomas Oram somehow kept out two late shots. Between those two saves Ethan Hill, having been forced into the corner, struck the ball goalwards and was surprised to see it bounce in off the keeper.
CCS appeared to have an easy win over Bourton, Angus Tombs netting early on. They earned a penalty shot, but could not convert, yet went further ahead as Tom Baldwyn scored on the resulting power play. Traffic was not all one way. Josh Rushby kept CCS in the game with a series of saves of which his father (ex-Great Britain goalkeeper David Rushby) would have been proud. Cameron Gilson was also performing well in the Bourton goal, deflecting shots off bar and posts. Eventually the match was settled with Tombs last minute breakaway.
CCS defeated St Catharines 4-0 in a match which only opened up in the last two minutes. Tombs scored straight from the face off, then keeper Jack Hemming kept out the senior school attack until Alex Adams pinged one in off the post, followed by a brace from William Groves.
The final match was an end to end affair, Felix Lindner opening for St Catharines against the run of play. Fine interplay between the all girl forward line led to Jefferies' equaliser for Bourton, only for Ed Smith to score the winner for Saints on another breakaway. Bourton never gave up, and relied on Hemming's last seconds save to give them the win.
St James 3-1 Bourton on the Water
St James 1-1 St Catharines
CCS 3-0 Bourton on the Water
CCS 4-0 St Catharines
Bourton on the Water 1-2 St Catharines
Next week the 'A' Team matches continue when holders Dormer House, Temple Guiting and North Cotswold meet in what looks like a tough group if last year's results are anything to go by.