Cardinals aiming to build on success

AMERICAN FOOTBALL: The Ipswich Cardinals' preparations for another season of competitive gridiron in the town begin on Sunday with a signing-on meeting.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

The Ipswich Cardinals' preparations for another season of competitive gridiron in the town begin on Sunday with a signing-on meeting.

This annual event takes place at the team's headquarters at the Northgate Sports Centre, Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, at 11.30am.

Following the amazing success of the side's first campaign in the top flight of American football in the UK, this date is considerably earlier than normal.

In previous years training has not begun until the new year, however head coach James Mitchell is determined to improve on last season's successes and move the club even further forward.

For those unaware of the Cardinals' recent history, since the loss in the Britbowl 2000 championship game, the club has powered forward. Not only did they pick themselves up to win the following years championship against Norwich, therefore qualifying for promotion to Division One, they shocked everybody in the country by winning their first six games and made the end of season play-off's! A 14-6 loss to the might of the Birmingham Bulls in the first round play-off game was no disgrace, it merely whetted the appetite of an already hungry squad.

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Mitchell has been actively seeking further talent to strengthen the squad and a number of quality players have been targeted.

Also required are assistant coaches that could lessen the enormous workload on the sidelines.

While experience, speed and athleticism are undoubtedly part of the game, new blood, or "rookies", that have never played before are always welcomed at the club.

One exciting development for the upcoming season is a new link forged between the Cardinals and the University of Essex.

Former player Kevin Sharman coaches the gridiron team on campus and it is hoped the collegiate squad can filter through into the Cardinals' squad in time, providing an invaluable source of fresh young players.

Two excellent examples of college gridiron in this country are Cardinals stand-outs Tony Groden and Steve Coles.

The league have stated they will announce the Cardinals' opponents shortly, before announcing the actual 2003 schedule later. With six new teams in the country this year, the sport is looking at it's healthiest for some time.

So, anyone interested in helping the Cardinals to an even more successful future – whether as a sponsor, coach, player, statistician, waterboy, chain crew or in any way at all – get yourself along to the NSC this Sunday.

For further details you can call Ralph Alexander on Ipswich 410887 or e-mail him at alphalex@98cav.freeserve.co.uk or visit the club website at www.eteamz.com/ipswichcardinals

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