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Official website of the

Ipswich Cardinals

British American Football Team

Cardinals Tie Against The Devils

Match Report - 2nd June 2019

Ipswich Cardinals 31 Norwich Devils 31

Cardinals & Devils Share Bragging Rights

The East Anglian Derby game had extra spice this year as both sides boasted an unbeaten record going into Sundays mouthwatering clash at Northgate Stadium in Ipswich. And, in true derby fashion, the hot conditions led to an amazing pyrotechnic display throughout. The large sun drenched crowd were treated to an absolute thriller, where the lead changed hands no fewer than seven times until the final whistle sounded, with both sides deadlocked at 31 apiece.

The hosts began the brighter, stifling the Devils opening drive and scoring through a 3 point field goal by Bradley Ling from 36 yards. On the second Devils possession disaster struck when Ipswich’s Niall Simmons had to be helped off the field suffering from a fractured patella (knee). His team mates rallied and forced the Devils into punting. The Cardinals offense advanced again, helped along by a sneak on fourth down by Quarterback Matt Agate, setting up Ling for another field goal attempt. This effort, from 49 yards was not successful and gave the visitors decent field position as the quarter ended.

Without the calming words from the experienced Simmons in the huddle, the defensive unit went into self destruct by giving away repeated penalties for being overly aggressive, or moving too early, and the Devils capitalised when American running back Tim O’Bryan Johnson carried tacklers across the goal line for his teams first score. Charlie Keohane held onto a pass from Quarterback Harris Todd for the two point conversion, 3-8.

The Cardinals hit straight back with Johnny Rodgers returning the kickoff into Devils territory. A lung busting run from Henri Clements followed, as he benefited from a crushing block by rookie offensive lineman Luke Carr, that saw him knocked out of bounds at the 4 yard line. Once Clements regained his puff, he crashed into the endzone for a touchdown to reclaim the lead. Ling converted the kick, 10-8.

Into the closing moments of the half, the Cardinals defense regrouped and stood firm. The Devils were forced to punt, but rather than running out the clock to enjoy a halftime lead, Cardinals Head Coach Sandy Francis gambled and failed, giving possession away in his own half. This absolute gift was gratefully accepted by the Devils and Tom Mason kicked a field goal as time expired to grab an unlikely 10-11 lead at the interval.

It was widely agreed that the game would be won by the team that made the fewest mistakes and it was the hosts that came out swinging in the third quarter. The Devils were forced to punt on their first possession, and the Cardinals offense stepped up. Long runs from both Clements, then Rodgers led to another short plunge for Clements’ second score. The offensive line for the Cardinals is becoming a recognised force with the likes of Shane Daly, Jason Munns and the new lad Carr benefiting from the wisdom of the evergreen Marcus Woolf in the Centre position. Ling converted again, 17-11.

Another force on the Ipswich roster is linebacker Tom Markham, he created a turnover on the next Devils possession at the visitors 10 yard line. Moments later and Clements, the short yardage specialist, blasted in for his hat-trick and with Lings point after, a sizeable 24-11 lead was established.

Obviously, in true derby fashion, this match wasn’t about to peter out and Coach Andy Starling willed his side forward. A rushing touchdown from Daniel Hewitt reduced the arrears, followed by a two point charge from Richard Gray, 24-19.

It was the hosts time to wobble, possession was fumbled away and ex Ipswich player Jordan Knights crashed forward to the 1 yard line. Harris Todd dived forward into the Cardinals endzone and amazingly, the Norwich side were ahead again. Cardinals Hayden Clark stuffed Grays attempt at two extra points, but the damage was done, 24-25.

Into the fourth quarter now, and time to pull up those socks. A long, time consuming drive by the hosts that included an excellent first down run by Rodgers, as well as a successful run from Clements on 4th and 2, ended with a spectacular catch by Fabian Ortiz Barr from Agate. Ling converted and there was a real buzz from the Northgate grandstand as the hosts reclaimed the lead, 31-25.

The clock was ticking, but the fireworks weren’t over yet. Norwich drove into the Cardinals half, aided by some nerve rattled Cardinal errors, but lost momentum and were confronted with a 4th down and some 25 yards. This looked an impossible ask, but a pin point pass from Todd to Keohane, straight at the heart of the Cardinals defense brought delight to those from north of the border. Another pass completion to Adam Jones took them to the Cardinals 3, before Matt Ward was held up, then Gray. Todd repeated his diving efforts however, and the score was tied at 31 each.

Rather than attempt a two point conversion again, the Devils attempted the seemingly straight forward point after kick – which was blocked. Incredible stuff. The Cardinals had just seconds remaining when the offense were handed the ball at their own 30. A long pass from Agate was again snagged in traffic by Ortiz Barr, and he set off towards the Devils endzone. The crowd were on their feet as he was knocked out of bounds at the Devils 8 yard line – but despite still having three Time Outs, the clock had expired during the receivers sprint, leaving no time for a possible match winning field goal.

In this most incredible match then, neither team came out on top, but surely it provided the best spectacle of 2019, an outstanding effort by all.

(Report By Ian Girling)

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Ipswich Cardinals 31 Norwich Devils 31

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Picture Courtesy Of Photography by Rachel

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