THE Cotswold League’s season started with holders Ilmington showing that they will be a strong force again this year.
They include several of the team which won the National U-13 Championships in July and showed the same form in winning all three matches to top their pool.
A CCS team which never quite gelled was beaten 2-0 with goals from Charlie Dews and Sam Pitts-Eckersall.
Goalkeeper Sarah Collett kept out several other Ilmington attacks before a series of late forays finally tested the champion’s goalkeeper Joshi Gibb.
The holders went on to beat Bredon Hill 4-0. Bredon keeper Helena Locke was forced into a series of fine saves, but could not keep out Ben Law, who netted after only three seconds, Harry Cronshaw, Fred Barnard and Joshua Angus.
In their final match they found Bledington to be much tougher opponents.
Early pressure left Cronshaw free to slam the ball home, but thereafter Caleb Yates defended the Bledington goal resolutely.
With two minutes to go, an Ilmington forward stopped the ball in front of goal and sent the ball home.
However, he had conrolled the ball with his hand, so the goal was chalked off and the player was sent to the sin bin for the rest of the match.
CCS also found Bledington a hard nut to crack. Matthew Davis netted to give the seniors a precarious lead, then James Icke rammed home a free-hit to make it 2-0.
With seconds to go, Bledington pulled one back through Alex Sheppard, but ran out of time in their efforts to level.
In their last match Bledington overcame Bredon Hill 3-1. Luke Perry gave Bredon Hill the early lead, but could not resist Ben Bright, who netted twice within a minute before Sheppard finished the scoring.
CCS finally found their form against Bredon Hill, Davis latching on to Will Parr's pass from the left wing for the best finish of the night. James Short, Sam Lawrenson and Jamie Chinn-Brown made it 4-0.