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Ipswich Cardinals

British American Football Team

Cardinals Defeat The Mavericks

Match Report - 28th July 2019

Ipswich Cardinals 40 East Kent Mavericks 35

Cardinals Finish Undefeated At Home & Qualify For Play Offs

The Ipswich Cardinals played their final home game of the regular season on Sunday, and grabbed themselves a play-off berth to boot.

From what looked like a comfortable winning position at 20-0 ahead, courtesy of first half scores from Henri Clements, Jordan Mussington and Matt Agate, more poor clock management by the hosts allowed the travelling East Kent Mavericks team a window of opportunity before the interval. The Cardinals failed to run out the clock, giving the seemingly dead and buried Mavericks a shot at scoring before half time. Having struggled to move the ball against an uncompromising defense all half, the visitors moved into a hurry up gear. A big pass play from quarterback Will Colthup to Lewis Elgar advanced the ball to within field goal range, but another great catch and run by Ty Bovelle resulted in a touchdown. John Ellender converted the TD and at the half momentum had swung as the visitors went off with renewed hope after such a dominant first period for the Cardinals.

While the Northgate faithfull were being entertained by local singer Sarah Hitchcock at half time, Ipswich Coach Sandy Francis asked for more of the same in the second half, and unfortunately that's just what he got as a fired up Mavericks side took the field. A great kick return by Elgar set up Bovelle for his second TD of the afternoon, and just like that, the visitors were within one score of an upset. Ellender again converted and the score moved to 20-14. The next score looked crucial. The Cardinals had looked so comfortable in that first half, but needed to move further ahead, while the Mavericks, formerly down and out, had forced themselves back into this match manfully.

All season long the unsung heroes for the Cardinals has undoubtedly been the giants on the offensive line. Infrequently asked to protect quarterback Agate behind them, and most frequently expected to blast big holes in opposing defenses, this mix of age and grace have performed miracles. The two men currently enjoying the efforts of these brutes the most are running backs Clements and Mussington. Coming from a rugby background, Clements has taken to the punishment of gridiron like a duck to water - while Mussington is so fast he seems to avoid contact of any kind.

Realising the threat from the Mavericks was real, this offensive unit stepped up a gear. Clements burst through for a long gain, then Mussington slashed his way forward, then Clements again - to the Mavericks 2 yard line. Utilising the big blocks of Centre Marcus Woolf and Guard Shane Daly, it was Agate that leapt forward for his second TD of the game. The kick was converted and the score looked all the brighter for the hosts at 27-14.

Of course, as is the way these days at the Northgate home of the Cardinals, this game was about to turn into a thriller to match the amazing highlights of the previous home games. Despite a nice tackle from young Ryan Caley, the visiting trio of Colthup, Elgar and Bovelle teamed up again as the game moved into the fourth quarter. Ellender nailed the PAT, 27-21 now.

The intensity rose further, Mussington receiving treatment. The Cardinals punted and the Mavericks took over. Thomas Markham was centimetres from intercepting a Colthup pass as the defence stiffened, but he'd done enough to force a punt. Cardinals ball, then disaster as possession was fumbled away at the Cardinals 12 yard line. Caley broke up another pass and the Mavericks were forced back to the 24 yard line after a huge hit from Haydon Clark and Oscar Spear. On third and three that man Bovelle converted a pass into a first down for his team. Quarterback Colthup attempted a run to the outside but was unceremoniously dumped to the ground and injured. He was replaced by Robbie McDonald who instantly threw a scoring pass to Connor Dobbs to tie the game. Ellender converted and the visitors took the lead for the first time, 27-28 now.

Before Coach Glenn Lindley and his squad could get too carried away however, Clements burst free on the first run after the kick-off and went 75 yards for another Cardinals TD. This game moved into the realms of being another truly amazing spectacle. 34-28. Naturally, this merely whetted the appetite of the large Northgate crowd and the fireworks continued. Markham recorded a sack on McDonald, but the QB recovered enough for Bovelle to grab his hat trick from 8 yards out for yet another lead change, 34-35.

Ridiculously, the diminutive Mussington caught the ensuing kick-off, hesitated for long enough for his blockers to take on their men - before streaking through everybody on his way to the Mavericks endzone, sparking wild celebrations from the Suffolk supporters. This topsy turvy battle was now off the charts for excitement as there was still two minutes to play - could the Kent side rally once more? Well, rally they did. McDonald completed a pass to Jordan Thomas on a fourth and fifteen with time running out fast. On the next third down, now at the Cardinals 7 yard line, the quarterback was tackled short of the first down marker. On the final play of the drive, it was Bovelle that was handed the ball but it was the Cardinals defense that would have the final say, forcing him out of bounds at the 4 yard line. Agate took a knee to run out the clock and this enthralling encounter ended with the final score of 40-35 to Ipswich. What a game!

With just the unbeaten division leaders to come, next weeks game at the Essex Spartans could be one regular season game too far, we shall see, but with play-off football confirmed, these Cardinals really know how to entertain!

(Report By Ian Girling)

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