The seven game unbeaten league run of Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s men’s team came to an eventual end on Saturday as they were defeated 14-26 away to Huddersfield University.
After being well beaten 23-14 by the Vikings in the reverse fixture last month, a much-changed Huddersfield team came out strongly with a powerful and aggressive attack which, combined with a hard defensive display, caught Newcastle somewhat off-guard. They soon built a seven goal lead in the first 20 minutes that the Vikings, evidently showing a degree of fatigue from an intense period of seven league and cup games in the last six weeks, never fully recovered from.
14-7 down at the break, thanks in main to a hat-trick from top-scorer Simon Heintz and a brace from Jack Woods, the Vikings nevertheless seemed reinvigorated at the start of the second half. Early scores from wingers Heintz and Woods and centre Amaury Michelant helped shorten Huddersfield’s lead to four as the Vikings sensed an unlikely come-back.
But on a day where little seemed to go Newcastle’s way, coupled with some great saves by the Huddersfield goalkeeper, the home team once again took control of the game and powered away in the final stages for a deserved and comfortable win.
However, despite falling to their first league defeat since the opening game of the season, the Vikings’ losing bonus point was enough to see them go clear at the top of the England Handball North Regional Development League table. Both the Newcastle Vikings men’s and women’s teams will be looking to re-assert their high-flying league positions this Sunday midday as they take on Manchester at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields.
Newcastle Vikings: Faisal Albathali (GK), Simon Heintz (6 goals), Amaury Michelant (1), Craig Swanson, Stephan Stricker (1), Mark Harrison, Peter Schichtel (1), Matthew Lamb, Jack Woods (3), Jonathan Bastit, Chris Bowe (1), Sam Turner (1)