Newcastle Vikings men’s team’s first season in the England Handball north regional development league ended with a 14-23 home defeat to Bolton Hussars at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields on Sunday.
The strong Bolton side, formed entirely of experienced Polish handball players, got off to a flying start, building a four-goal lead before a brace from centre Amaury Michelant got the Vikings on the scoreboard. The Bolton defence continued to thwart many of Newcastle’s attacking plays, and despite further strikes from Jack Woods, Matthew Lamb and the Vikings’ own Pole Dawid Miozga, the Hussars took a commanding 12-5 lead into the half-time break.
Newcastle continued to fight valiantly in a more evenly matched second half, with winger Woods claiming a well-taken hat-trick of goals and back-court players Chris Bowe and Stephan Stricker each scoring twice. Michelant added to his tally and Robert Thompson also got his name on the scoresheet from the wing, but the Vikings were unable to narrow the gap as the Hussars took the winning points with a well-played 23-14 victory.
The result left Newcastle Vikings sitting in second place in the men’s league table, pending the completion of the other teams’ remaining fixtures, but nevertheless represents a significant improvement from their debut 2013/14 season in the Scottish league. Their final 2014/15 league season tally reads: played 12, won 6, drawn 2, lost 4; 256 goals scored, 240 goals conceded, +16 goal difference; total 26 points.
Newcastle Vikings: Daniel Walsh (GK), Dawid Miozga (1 goal), Amaury Michelant (3), Craig Swanson, Stephan Stricker (2), Chris Bowe (2), Robert Thompson (1), Jack Woods (4), Jonathan Bastit, Matthew Lamb (1), Tom Harrison.