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Ipswich Cardinals

British American Football Team

Cardinals Defeat The Pumas

Match Report - 23rd June 2019

Ipswich Cardinals 29 Maidstone Pumas 0

Cardinals Remain Unbeaten

Despite an unbeaten record of 1 win and 2 drawn games, with two other unbeaten sides above them in the division, the Ipswich Cardinals need a run of victories going forward to stay in the play-off hunt.

The visit of the bottom placed, winless Maidstone Pumas to Northgate on Sunday provided the first of those opportunities. For years the Pumas have been the whipping boys in the south east, their best ever record being a 4 and 5 season some time ago. It appears the Kent outfit are finally moving in the right direction however, recruiting well from the fringes of the big London clubs and acquiring journeyman quarterback Oli de Ruyter this year too.

As expected though, the home side were well in control from the outset and dominated throughout. Brad Ling converted an early field goal opportunity to give the hosts a 3-0 lead, and that lead was steadily increased with touchdowns in every quarter.

The biggest question mark for many was how the talented but young Cardinals secondary would cope against an established passing attack. De Ruyter constantly attempted passes upfield, but time and again drives stalled as his efforts were either batted down or defended perfectly by safety Nate Hamer, and in particular, cornerback Ryan Caley. A product of the Cardinals junior team, Caley is in his second year of senior gridiron and, after finding his feet in his rookie season, is showing excellent potential as his confidence in himself grows.

The short yardage specialist Henri Clements punched his way through tacklers for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point attempt was missed but the score went to 9-0.

In the second quarter a second field goal attempt fell just short, but moments later a dazzling run by the returning Jordan Mussington lifted the crowd. Very similar in stature to another effervescent Cardinals running back, Johnny Rodgers, this diminutive duo have speed to burn and will frighten many a defense this year. Mussingtons burst set up another field goal attempt but it wasn’t Lings afternoon as his effort sailed wide.

Linebacker Thomas Markham pounced on a loose ball after a wayward snap, and it was Rodgers, behind some great blocking up front that took advantage, scoring a second Cardinals TD. 15-0 now.

Lings miserable afternoon ended on the next kick-off as he exited the game with a strained hamstring. There was still time for Caley to break up another long De Ruyter pass attempt, and the half ended with the Cardinals in full control.

The Cardinals Game Day entertainment at the half time break lived up to the usual high standards with Lisa Day Vintage Vocalist performing to the Northgate crowd & a huge Freightliner American Truck on show courtesy of Dean and Lauren Savage

Into the second half and Head Coach Sandy Francis’ conservative plan continued as Clements, Rodgers and Mussington took on 95% of the workload between them. It wasn’t pretty, but it denied the Pumas possession and ate up the clock. Quarterback Matt Agate completed two short passes to Fabian Ortiz, creating gaps that Clements took advantage of for his second TD of the day, and when Connor Phimister held onto a pass for the two point conversion, the 23-0 lead certainly looked way too large for the visitors to come back from.

Into the fourth quarter and the offense was back to purely rushing the football. Slowly edging forward, it was Agate that gained the first down on a fourth down run, and indeed he broke the plain of the goal line as he stretched forward from 4 yards out. That score rounded out the game at 29-0, but the Pumas manfully fought on. Haydon Clark sacked De Ruyter to force a punt, and that pretty much summed up the visitors day as they huffed and puffed in vain.

A comfortable enough victory then for the Cardinals, who face a sterner test just one week later when the East Essex Sabres come to Ipswich. The Sabres were the Cardinals first opponents of the season, that ended in a 14-14 tie and looks likely to be another close encounter.

(Report By Ian Girling)

Pictures Courtesy Of Photography by Rachel

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