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Ipswich Cardinals

British American Football Team

Cardinals Defeated At The Devils

Match Report - 7th July 2019

Norwich Devils 27 Ipswich Cardinals 21

Cardinals Unbeaten Run Ends

Following the 31-31 tied game earlier in the season at Northgate, this eagerly awaited derby clash in Norfolk proved just as exciting, but this time around there was just one winner.

The contest proved just as competitive as the first, and indeed the visitors were again driving for the tying score in the final minutes when disaster struck. Rather than keep the ball on the ground and use up the depleting seconds, the Cardinals gambled on a pass play and it backfired badly as Daniel Hewitt intercepted Ipswich quarterback Matt Agate’s pass.

Throughout the game, once again it had been a ding dong battle between these two East Anglian rivals. At times it seemed the medics were as busy as the players as huge collisions resulted in players laying prone on the Norfolk turf.

A constant thorn in Ipswich’s side was Devils receiver Adam Jones. His receptions from quarterback Harris Todd kept many a drive alive, testing the Cardinals depleted secondary frequently. It was that combination that opened the scoring in the first quarter, after the visitors had missed an early field goal try. Jones also kicks the conversions and was successful enough to give his side a 7 point lead.

Both defensive units dug in as the intensity rose. Norwich forced a fumble and recovered the ball, Ipswich’s defense stood firm going into the second quarter. In such games, heroes can emerge, and in the absence of Johnny Rodgers, it was Jordan Mussington that dazzled in the spotlight. The sheer speed of the Cardinals diminutive runner saw him weave through the Devils defense at terrific pace to register a 70 yard touchdown, bringing his side right back into the match. Angus Chisholm converted and it was all square at 7 apiece.

Two pass plays to Jones opened up the Ipswich defense again soon after, and another pass to Charlie Keohane in the endzone silenced the travelling support. The conversion was missed.

Pressing forward again before halftime, Todd had a pass batted down by Ipswich’s Shane Howlett, then on the next series the Devils recovered a second Ipswich fumble. The topsy turvy, twisting and turning affair continued as young Cardinals defensive back Chris Daniels intercepted Todd, effectively ending the first half. 13-7.

The second half got underway and it was that man Jones that gained good yards on a reverse play. This set up a fourth and short for the big, bruising running back, American Tim Johnson. The Cardinals knew another Devils score would really make things difficult and launched everybody at the ball carrier – stopping him in his tracks and claiming possession for the offensive unit.

Another burst from Mussington advanced the ball, before Agate found receiver Chris Cheek for his sides second touchdown – and the tie, 13-13.

Norwich took over at their own 35, and just as it looked as though the Cardinals defense had again held firm, for the second week running a fake punt proved their undoing. That led to a Johnson run for a score, from 5 yards out, and a two point pass to Jones to extend the lead to 8 points.

A great return of the ensuing kick off by Mussington set up another Cardinals scoring opportunity. On that return the Devils Dan Walker stopped play with a broken wrist. Two big first down runs by Henri Clements got the visitors to Norwich’s 12 yard line, before Agate connected with Cheek for another touchdown pass. On the two point attempt, to level the scores once more, Agate rolled right and fired a pass to Ben Manning – 21-21 now.

Into the fourth quarter now, and it was anybody's game still. For the second time this season the Ipswich v Norwich rivalry had produced a thrilling encounter.

Johnson ripped off a big run, followed by another Keohane reception. A big penalty against the Cardinals helped the hosts into scoring territory but Jones was called for offensive pass interference in the endzone. A pass to Oliver Engler moved the ball to the Cardinals 5 yard line and Joe Jacobs carried the ball behind a crushing block from Johnson for the final go ahead score.

The Cardinals offense weren’t done yet and advanced the ball, determined to keep their unbeaten record intact. The minutes ticked away until that decisive interception, ending another cracking contest between these arch rivals.

The result means the two sides trade places again, with Norwich moving into second place in the division and Ipswich dropping to third, as they both continue the chase behind the only unbeaten side now, the Essex Spartans.

(Report By Ian Girling)

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