Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans

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Essex Spartans vs. Ipswich Cardinals

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Essex Spartans U19 vs. Ipswich Cardinals U19

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Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans

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Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans

It was a case of better late than never for the Essex Spartans on Sunday as they took their first win of the season over the Ipswich Cardinals.

Both teams entered the game without a win in 2016, and after a painfully early touchdown putting the hosts in front, touchdowns from Spartans Earl Gorman, Dwayne Ferdinand, Myles Peterson and Bill Guppy plus three kick conversions from Tom Kitchen saw an offensive revolution for the visiting team.

Cardinals won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball with a diminished squad of just 23 players. Unperturbed however, Cardinals #5 Johnny Rogers smashed through the Spartans defence caught unawares and put the hosts in front 6-0 after barely a minute.

After a seeming resurrection when #48 Earl Gorman ran for 45 yards and made a first down for Essex, QB Myles Peterson fumbled the snap, which was recovered by Cardinals #29 Ollie Ward and ran easily in for the TD. However the officials flagged the touchdown for unsportsmanlike conduct and the deficit remained at 6 points.

#48 Gorman forced his way through the Cardinals offense to open scoring for Essex and a swift kick conversion from #52 Kitchen saw the visitors inch ahead at the close of the 1st quarter.

Kitchen continued to battle through as he made a first down after a 75-yard rush, much to the advantage of #24 Dwayne Ferdinand who downed the ball for the touchdown, with another kick conversion from Kitchen, to end the half 6-14 in the favour of the Spartans.

Having reserved all the drama for the first quarter, the second half was a steady and calm disassembling of the Cardinals defense, as two interceptions from Oli Page and Tom Kitchen saw the game move irreversibly in the favour of the Spartans.

A third touchdown from QB Peterson and conversion from Kitchen extended the lead to 6-21, and a final throw from Peterson to Bill Guppy for the last TD of the game in the third, saw the fourth quarter pass without much incident and the much-yearned for victory in the hands of the Spartans.

The Cardinals now sit bottom of the table without a win this season. The Spartans have a week’s training before taking on London Blitz B at home on Saturday 9th July.

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Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans

The Spartans’ playoff ambitions were dashed on Sunday as they fell to the Ipswich Cardinals, whom finally returned to winning ways after four seasons adrift of any on-field victory.

The Cardinals took an early lead over confident Spartans, with Ipswich #85 Fabian Barnes striding unblocked for 55 yards into the end zone on their first drive. Spartans #24 Dwayne Ferdinand worked hard to gain considerable yardage for the returning offense, and an Ipswich fumble led to a penalty and 1st down for the Spartans for unsportsmanlike behaviour, but the advantage was quickly overturned with an interception from Cardinals #84.

The Cardinals offense continued to put the Spartans through their paces with massive strength and first down after first down. Although Spartans #44 Ernest Owusu achieved a pick for Essex and things seemed to turn around on the offense, the Spartans found themselves in hot water once again just before the half when #84 made the touchdown from the 10 yard line, leaving the visitors trailing 14 – 0 at half-time.

Rejuvenated for the third quarter, the Spartans scored their first TD of the game on the first play, a kick-return from #11 Norris Owusu. The conversion was flagged and the Spartans remained 14 – 6 down through the remainder of the third quarter and the majority of the fourth, as both teams battled against strong winds and heavy rain, failing to make any headway.

Spartans #24 Dwayne Ferdinand was a mighty upsetter with his touchdown with just 5 minutes left on the clock, and a successful 2-point conversion meant the Spartans were in line for a second 14 – 14 draw in as many games.

Unfortunately for Essex, Ipswich were not about to let their early lead fall lightly, and game MVP #32 Dave O’Connell crashed into the end-zone with less than two minutes to go, earning the Ipswich Cardinals their first competitive win since 2011.

The Spartans finish their 2015 season on Saturday 1st August at home to the Wembley Stallions in a special evening kick-off in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness.

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Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans

The Essex Spartans won a thrilling and close encounter against the Ipswich Cardinals 32-28

The game started in perfect fashion for the Spartans, with Ernest Owusu returning the opening kick-off for a touchdown. After conceding a 2-point safety, the Spartans scored again, running back Zac Davies with an 87-yard score. The Cardinals pulled a touchdown back, but Antony Yeboah restored the Spartans advantage with a 6 yard rushing touchdown. After another Ipswich score, Zac Davies scored again, for a 25-16 half-time lead.

On a pleasantly breezy day in Suffolk, the end-to end action continued in the second half. The Spartans had scoring plays ruled out for various penalties, allowing Ipswich to edge back into the game, and they took the lead for the first time with the first play of the fourth quarter. However, the Spartans refused to give in against the hosts, Norris Owusu making a 60 yard run for the Spartans fifth and final touchdown of the day. The Spartans held on for the last few minutes for one of their most exciting wins for many years. As well as the scorers on offence, Linebacker Harry Shelton and Safety Ross Watson impressed in defence, both getting into double digits for tackles.

Head Coach Sean Benton said “As a team we went into the game believing we could win, and I am delighted we did. What’s most encouraging was how we responded to going behind. In previous seasons we wouldn’t have come back from a blow like that, but this year we had the mental toughness and scored straight away. That’s a really exciting sign of our progress as a team.”

The Spartans season concludes on Sunday 17th August at home to the Bury Saints, to whom they narrowly lost in their opening game. The game is also a fundraiser for breast cancer research. Kickoff 2:30 at Hannakins Farm, Billericay.

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