Ipswich Cardinals lose in play-offs after a great season
Division Two South play-offs
Hertfordshire Cheetahs 44
Ipswich Cardinals 14
The Ipswich Cardinals’ season ended with a play-off defeat in St Albans, but they can hold their heads high after a fine season, writes Kyle Clark.
The Cardinals first drive was unsuccessful after an excellent return by Chris Johnson as a turnover on downs left the Cheetahs deep in their own territory. However, it wouldn’t be long before the hosts would take the lead.
The Cheetahs’ elusive running back weaved his way through Ipswich’s young defenders, before setting up the pass for the first score of the game. Hertfordshire added two points, again through the air, to increase their early advantage to 8-0.
Ipswich struck back early in the second quarter. Excellent running from Henri Clements and Matt Wright saw the former eventually bundling the ball over the goal-line to close the gap. Ling added the extra point to close the deficit to one point at 8-7.
The Cheetahs extended their lead with a touchdown pass and another two pint conversion, to make the half-time score 16-7.
Hertfordshire scored on their first possession of the second half, and suddenly it was 24-7 to the home side and Ipswich were chasing the game.
The Suffolk side couldn’t get anything moving though and had to punt, only for the Cheetahs to score again and make it 30-7.
Undeterred, the Cardinals offence came out on the field determined to make their mark against a tough defence that had not conceded on their own patch all season.
Wright and a combination of Alvin Vyapooree and Johnson carried the away side down towards the goal line, before quarterback Matt Agate applied the finishing touch to an excellent drive. Ling duly added the extra point and it was 30-14.
But the Cheetahs’ play-off experience continued to show as they rounded out an excellent performance with a further touchdown on the ground, this time a huge run down the sideline, before the scoring was completed by a long pass over the top of the tiring Ipswich defence.
So the Cardinals’ season is over but, after a year in which they finished second in their division, they can be very proud of their efforts – and will look to make progress again next year.