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Official website of the

Ipswich Cardinals

British American Football Team

Cardinals Tie At The Sabres

Match Report - 21st April 2019

East Essex Sabres 14 - 14 Ipswich Cardinals

Cardinals & East Essex Couldn't Be Separated In The Easter Sunshine

To most people a tied result can be viewed as better than a loss, but for the Ipswich Cardinals this week it feels more like an opportunity lost.

Their opening fixture of the 2019 season began in sunny Benfleet in Essex on Easter Sunday against the Sabres. Last year, the Suffolk side ended up victorious in an absolute shootout against the former Southend side, winning 54-48. The year before was just as close, with the 7-0 win not being decided until the very last play. Another closely fought match was expected.

Sure enough, the opening quarter was a no nonsense defensive battle with both teams struggling to advance the ball. The hosts attempted a field goal just before the second quarter, but it was the visitors that struck first. Henri Clements bulldozed forward on a fourth and short call, before quarterback Matt Agate threw a beautiful long pass down the middle of the field to Charlie Crewe, setting the Cardinals up on the 8 yard line. Three plays later it was Agate that dived forward across the goal line for the 6 point advantage. Brad Ling’s attempted point after kick was blocked and missed, a telling moment that would raise it’s ugly head later in the game.

Some excellent play on defense from Ryan Caley, sacks from Oscar Spear and Jon Harvey, plus an interception from Nate Hamer before halftime really lifted the visitors, and despite the slim 6 point advantage, momentum was firmly going the Cardinals way at the break.

The second half was a different affair however, as the hosts upped the ante. Forced to punt from deep in their own half, the Cardinals special teams couldn’t prevent a huge surge from the Sabres who blocked the attempted clearance. The ball bounced back into the Ipswich endzone and at least 3 or 4 orange shirted Sabres players pounced. Lewis Wisdom Riches was awarded the score, and to rub salt in the wound, the point after kick was true for a 7-6 advantage.

Minutes later, with the visitors somewhat shellshocked, the Sabres struck again. The offense drove into Cardinals territory, and looked to have scored again, only for a personal foul penalty to move the ball back to the fifteen yard line. The Cardinals altered personnel in an attempt to halt the Sabres, but Andy Stone rounded them all with an arcing run to grab his sides second TD. Again the kick was good and the hosts lead extended to 6-14.

Into the fourth quarter and the Cardinals offense pulled their socks up. Agate connected with Ben Manning for an 8 yard gain, Fabian Ortiz Barr was sent in motion one way, creating a huge opening for Clements in the opposite direction and a 40 yard gain. Three plays later and Clements piled through bodies for his sides second TD. In an attempt to level the scores, Head Coach Sandy Francis called a two point play. Agate’s pass attempt was knocked down however and a two point deficit remained.

Linebacker Jon Harvey grabbed his second sack of the day, forcing the Sabres to punt. The long snap was sent sailing backwards over the punters head and through the hosts endzone for a two point “safety” for the Cardinals.

Now it was a tied game, and the fireworks really began. After the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs, the Sabres took over, only for their scrambling quarterback Adam Bristow to lose possession when he was tackled hard.

With just minutes remaining now Agate returned the favour when he was intercepted, then the Sabres fumbled again – it seemed neither team could grasp victory. Both teams were forced to trade punts and time expired on the closest contest between these two sides yet, a 14-14 tie.

Definitely better than a loss, but not the win the Cardinals were after.

(Report By Ian Girling)

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Ipswich Cardinals 14 At East Essex Sabres 14

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