Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s women’s team ended their first season in the England Handball North Regional Development League with a brilliant 48-7 away victory followed by a hard 4-26 loss away to the league’s two Merseyside teams.
The Vikings’ double-header weekend began with a long trip to Wrexham in North Wales to take on Merseyside-based Peninsula. It didn’t take them long to get into their scoring stride as half Judyta Turulska, line Sandra Christke and winger Marie-Louise Brevet each helped themselves to early hat-tricks, while goalkeeper Andrea King kept the home team at bay with a series of customary diving saves at the opposite end of the court.
Head-coach Marlen Slinning then came on to get into the act with four strikes of her own, and by the time Turulska had added her sixth and captain Christke her fifth the Newcastle side had built a strong 18-3 advantage by half-time.
The Vikings nevertheless stepped up the pace in the second half in a superbly dominant team performance. Half Fienke Nanne and centre Kathryn Powell added their names to the scoresheet with three and two goals respectively, but it was Turulska and Slinning who continued to rain the goals in. By the time the final whistle went they had hit the back of the net 13 apiece, with Christke claiming 10 and Brevet seven. The 48-7 final scoreline saw the Vikings fall just short of a half-century of goals for the second time this season!
Less than 24 hours later the Newcastle ladies were back on court again for a much tougher encounter with table-topping Liverpool. Playing two matches in two days was never going to be easy and the Vikings’ tiredness from the energy-sapping win of the previous day was soon evident as they struggled to break through a well-drilled home defence line.
Coupled with Liverpool’s greater experience and shooting accuracy, the home side had built an unassailable 12-2 lead by the break, Nanne and Slinning scoring the Vikings’ goals. Goalkeeper King tried her best to keep Liverpool’s strikes at bay, including making two penalty saves, but despite further goals from Nanne and Turulska the final 26-4 scoreline was to be Newcastle’s heaviest defeat of an otherwise largely positive season.
With some teams having a few more games remaining, the weekend’s results look set to see Newcastle Vikings finish their league season in fourth place on 26 points, having won seven and lost five while maintaining the second-best defensive record in the league.
The Vikings ladies next take on Bristol in their league cup semi-final at home this Saturday afternoon from 3pm at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields. Temple Park then plays host to the annual Tyneside Handball Tournament on Saturday 2 May, with men’s and women’s teams coming from across England and Scotland. Spectator entry is free to come along and enjoy the fast-paced action.
Newcastle Vikings v Peninsula: Andrea King (GK), Marie-Louise Brevet (7 goals), Marlen Slinning (13), Judyta Turulska (13), Blessing Ogbee, Josefine ‘Fienke’ Nanne (3), Kathryn Powell (2), Sandra Christke (10).
Newcastle Vikings v Liverpool: Andrea King (GK), Marie-Louise Brevet, Marlen Slinning (1 goal), Judyta Turulska (1), Blessing Ogbee, Josefine ‘Fienke’ Nanne (2), Kathryn Powell, Sandra Christke.