The long awaited return to the gridiron proved a bittersweet experience for the Ipswich Cardinals on Sunday. A resounding 24-3 victory over the Bedfordshire based Ouse Valley Eagles was countered with a crippling injury list. Both starting running backs suffered serious injuries as the exciting Jay Brown ruptured a patella tendon, while the more robust Henri Clements suffered two broken ribs. While Clements is hopeful for a return this campaign, Brown will have surgery and his season is over. Head Coach Ian Girling and Defensive Co-ordinator Kyle Clark have been working hard over the long Covid forced break, implementing a new regime that makes every player more accountable, improving the work ethic at practice and re-enforcing fundamentals.
The players responded superbly on Sunday, playing with a togetherness and determination that gave the visitors little hope of victory. In the early going, the game resembled a nervy Pre-season affair, with errors and penalties from both outfits. The hosts came up short after promising drives and it was the Eagles that scored first. A short field goal gave them a 0-3 lead, but as the Cardinal defense got into their stride, the home team visibly lifted. Brown caught a pass from quarterback Matt Agate and took it 40 yards for a touchdown, Brad Ling kicked the extra point and from that point onwards, it was all Ipswich.
Mark Pennock intercepted a pass that resulted in a Ling field goal and the half ended at 10-3. In the third quarter a long drive looked promising until Brown was injured attempting to dive into the endzone, but shortly after another interception, this time by Ryan Caley, and the Cardinals went further ahead when Mitchell Melanaphy sauntered into the endzone untouched. Ling converted again to increase the lead to 17-3.
The Eagles continued fighting and jumped on an Ipswich mistake returning a punt. Their hopes of a score were quickly dashed as a vicious hit on the quarterback resulted in a fumble, young Craig Wiltshire recovering the lost ball. The offense took over, without Brown or Clements now, and mounted a superb drive that consumed time and steadily marched up the field. Marshalled by Agate, who enjoyed his best performance as a quarterback, the victory was sealed when Jonathan Balshaw took a short pass into the endzone, taking Agate over 250 yards passing on the day. Ling converted for a final score of 24-3 and the clock expired on a comfortable scoreline, if not a comfortable afternoon for those injured combatants.
Written by Ian Girling
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The Ipswich Cardinals are pleased to announce an innovative tie up or 'Cardinal Collaboration' with Ipswich based design & marketing agency Cardinal Creative.
Cardinal Creative are a local company and are specialists in design & marketing - think of them as your own in-house design and marketing team!
Using their extensive experience Cardinal Creative will be working with the Cardinals to improve the team's online presence, including Social Media, & organisation's branding.
As part of the collaboration Cardinal Creative's logo will be displayed on the Cardinals team's website, home game programmes and home game day advertising. The collaboration currently runs until the end of the 2021 season.
Cardinals General Manager Jan Alexander said "We are very pleased to have Cardinal Creative collaborating with us until at least the end of the 2021 season and hopefully beyond. The Cardinals are looking forward to reaping the rewards of an improved online presence and branding. Two innovative Ipswich based organisations with Cardinals in their names - a 'Cardinal Collaboration' was meant to be!"
Craig from Cardinal Creative said "We’re extremely proud to be working with The Ipswich Cardinals. As one of the most well respected and fan-focused BAFL teams in the UK, it’s a privilege to play a key role in celebrating their achievements and accomplishments. We’re working together on some exciting plans which we’ll be rolling out next season!"
For further information about Cardinal Creative click here.
The Ipswich Cardinals regrettably announce the cancellation of all Cardinals 2020 season fixtures for both the Senior & Junior teams in line with BAFA's latest Coronavirus announcement.
BAFA have made the extremely difficult, but understandable, decision to cancel all British contact American football seasons for 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus. Therefore all Senior / Adult, Junior, Youth and Diamond Series fixtures for 2020 have now been cancelled. There is the potential to play friendly fixtures later on in 2020 & BAFA, as the sports governing body, will advise at at later date if / when these may take place & if / when team training can restart - all depending on Government guidelines.
We all hope competitive American Football returns as soon as possible & the Cardinals organisation will now priortise planning for hopefully a full 2021 season.
While the cancellation of this year's fixtures are very disappointing - there are higher priorities than team sports during this current climate - please look after each other & follow the government guidelines. We will be back when it is appropriate to do so.
The Ipswich Cardinals are extremely pleased to announce that Hopsters Ipswich have signed a sponsorship deal with the team and are now the Official Home Game & Player Sponsor of the Cardinals for 2020.
Hopsters is a local company and are a craft ale and specialist spirits store/micro bar in Ipswich and Chelmsford. Hopsters stores sell local, national and imported beer and always aim to give you something different from the rather boring selection down the local supermarket. They are not just a bottleshop. Hopsters are a bar too and have an on-licence in both their stores so you can head on down for a beer any time!
As the Home Game Sponsor Hopsters logo will be displayed on the Cardinals team's website and home game programmes.
Cardinals General Manager Jan Alexander said "We are very pleased to have Hopsters on board as a important sponsor for 2020 and hopefully beyond. The Cardinals have already sampled the excellent craft beer at Hopsters in Ipswich and their store/micro bar is well worth a visit. The Cardinals are extremely grateful to Hopsters for their support and hope to spread the word of the wonders of the craft beer industry to our fans."
Hopsters Ed Barnes said "We are very happy to support the Cardinals for 2020 and are looking forward to a successful partnership with the team. All of the Cardinal Nation and American Football fans are very welcome at our store and micro bar - so stop by and sample the wide range of craft beers on your doorstep in Ipswich!"
For further information about Hopsters click here.
Cardinals News - 5th January 2020 (Updated 4th February 2020)
The Cardinals are pleased to announce our BAFA regular season confirmed fixture schedule for 2020.
With the SFC II East season comprising of only eight games again this year, due to disparity of teams in other conferences in Division 2, the Cardinals do not play all teams twice this season.
First up will be a trip to the Norwich Devils on April 19th for the first of this season's 'Old Farm Derby' games, followed by a trip to Essex to take on the Sabres on April 26th. With the return to Division 2 of our friends from 'down the A12' another local derby this season will be the short trip to Colchester on 7th June as we take on the Gladiators. The Maidstone Pumas will be the first visitors to Northgate on Sunday 24th May and the Cardinals will finish the regular season at home with potentially the bigest fixture of the season as the Norwich Devils travel to Ipswich on Sunday 2nd August.
With the SFC East looking very competitive again this year there are three games in particular that stand out. The 'Old Farm Derby' fixtures against the Norwich Devils - the season opener at Norwich on 19th April and the final regular season game in Ipswich on 2nd August. Also the return of the 'Suffolk / Essex Derby' game in Colchester taking on the Gladiators on 7th June.
Sunday 19th April - At Norwich Devils
Sunday 26th April - At East Essex Sabres
Sunday 17th May - At East Kent Mavericks
Sunday 24th May - Vs Maidstone Pumas
Sunday 7th June - At Colchester Gladiators
Sunday 12th July - Vs East Essex Sabres
Sunday 26th July - Vs East Kent Mavericks
Sunday 2nd August - Vs Norwich Devils
BAFA - SFC II East:
East Essex Sabres
East Kent Mavericks
All games are 'subject to change' & are currently scheduled to kick off at 2pm (away games) & 2:30pm (home games).
All home games will be played at Northgate Stadium in Ipswich.
Venue details for the away games will be listed on the Schedule page of this website very soon and directions will follow closer to game dates.
The Ipswich Cardinals are pleased to announce changes to the Organisation Management structure & Senior Team Head Coach moving forward to the 2020 season.
Following a difficult off season, after the heartbreaking passing of Cardinals owner Ralph Alexander, the organisation has assessed the management structure and are pleased to announce the Management Team to take the Cardinals forward into the future. The Cardinals have been for many years a non profit organisation with a sole owner and the ownership of the Cardinals will stay in the Alexander family with Mother and son team Jan & James Alexander taking co-ownership. Jan has also now taken up the role of the Cardinals General Manager. The Alexanders will continue to be supported by Steve Hawes as Deputy General Manager and Marie Hawes as Organisation Administrator.
There will also be a change to the Senior Team Head Coach. Outgoing Head Coach Sandy Francis has unfortunately recently resigned from his role within the Cardinals due to outside work pressures and not being able to commit 100% to coaching for the team for 2020. The Cardinals would like to take this opportunity to thank Coach Francis for all his hard work and dedication over many years with the team and wish him well for the future.
After Coach Francis' departure from the team the Cardinals management have moved quickly to secure a new Head Coach. Therefore the Cardinals are very pleased to announce the new Head Coach of the Ipswich Cardinals Senior Team is long time Cardinal Ian Girling. Coach Girling is a very experienced Coach and former player for the team and brings with him incredible knowledge, ability and dedication to the Cardinals. Coach Girling is in the process of putting in place his coaching team for the new season and preparing for the upcoming Come & Try Day on Sunday 20th October at Northgate Sport Centre in Ipswich.
Ipswich Cardinals Management Team
Co-owners: Jan Alexander & James Alexander
General Manager: Jan Alexander
Deputy General Manager: Steve Hawes
Organisation Administrator: Marie Hawes
Senior Team Head Coach: Ian Girling
Ipswich Cardinals unfortunately have extremely sad news to report. We are devastated to report that Cardinals Owner & General Manager Ralph Alexander has passed away peacefully.
Ralph was 'Mr. Cardinals' and ran the Cardinals for many, many years - he was well loved and the head of the Cardinals family. He will be a massive loss to the Cardinals organisation and to all who had the pleasure of meeting him.
Our thoughts and love are with Jan and with his family and loved ones.
Cardinals Deputy GM Steve Hawes said, "We are shocked and devastated to wake up this morning with the news of the loss of Ralph. I can't really put into words how much of a friend and mentor Ralph has been since I joined the Cardinals. The Cardinal organisation sends sincere condolences to the Alexander family. I already miss him and will always fondly remember the times we had organising matches, Cardinals events, travelling to games, and Ralph being in my and my family's life. We should all feel privileged to have known him."