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Ipswich Cardinals

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Title: Ipswich Cardinals  
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Subject: Sports clubs established in 1986, BAFA National Leagues, Gateshead Senators, Coventry Jets, Edinburgh Wolves
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Ipswich Cardinals

The Ipswich Cardinals are an American Football team from the United Kingdom based in Ipswich, Suffolk. The team plays in the National Division South East Conference of BAFANL – the second tier of the BAFA National Leagues.


Formed by Colin Cox, Mark LePorte and Don Laisure II in December 1985 at the Drunken Docker pub in Ipswich.

The club was formed by the players for the players, the club was owned by the players.

What's in a name?

The name comes from one of Ipswich's most famous sons, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was Henry VIII's Lord chancellor (Chief advisor to the king). It is a clever play on the traditional name for some American sports teams, whereas theirs is generally a reference to the cardinal bird, their name is a tribute to a local historical figure.

The team's first training session was set for January 1986 at Gainsborough sports centre, Ipswich. Over 100 hopefuls turned up for tryouts – a lot of them went by the way, but there were a lot of hopefuls. Don Laisure put the hopeful players through their paces along with Gary McCartney. The committee approached Jack Garner who was the head coach of the Woodbridge high school team. He became the head coach until he was transferred to Holland – then, with the team coach-less, JJ Johnson was asked to help. JJ and Andy Melton took over the coaching roles, whilst Don Laisure stepped down and played instead.

All Time record

Season Division Wins Losses Ties PF PA Playoff Record Notes
1986 Friendlies only 0 0 1 12 12 Vs Stevenage Aerostars
1987 United Kingdom Football League Championship 12 0 0 299 21 Runners-up losing 28–26 in the final to St.Helens Cardinals
1988 Budweiser Division 1 Championship 9 1 0 456 84 Runners-up losing 48–34 in the final to Herts Phantoms
1989 British National Gridiron League Division 1 7 2 1 216 54 Runners-up losing 18–9 in the final to Norwich Devils
1990 British National Gridiron League Division 1 9 1 0 256 77 National champions beating the Clydesdale Colts 34–22
1991 British National Gridiron League Division 1 6 2 1 279 130 Semi-finalists losing 50–0 to the London Capitals
1992 BNGL National Division South/East Midlands Conference 5 5 0 217 213
1993 BNGL Division Midlands Conference 5 5 0 150 95
1994 BAFA Division 2 South Eastern Conference 1 9 0 81 267 Relegated to Division 3
1995 BAFA Division 3 East Midlands Conference 3 7 0 86 207
1996 British Senior League Division 3 8 2 0 261 61 Quarter-finalists losing 14–0 to Winchester Rifles
1997 BSL Division 1 South East / Midlands Conference 4 6 0 151 177
1998 BSL Division 1 South East Conference 4 6 0 145 248
1999 BSL Division
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