Newcastle Vikings Handball Club took all the spoils as their men’s and women’s teams came away from their Northern England Regional Development League trip to Leeds Carnegie on Saturday with two brilliant victories.
The Vikings women went into the game with player-coach Marlen Slinning confined to the bench after suffering a cruel hand fracture in a freak training session accident earlier in the week. Judyta Turulska nevertheless ensured the match started well for the away team with two early strikes from the half position. But Leeds quickly pulled back to go in front, before an Alina Inta brace from the penalty line levelled things up and centre Sina Linsenmann restored Newcastle’s advantage.
Slinning’s tactical change to switch to a 5-1 defensive formation to thwart the back-court threat of Leeds’ big strong half player proved to be a masterstroke however, as the Vikings soon solidly stemmed the home side’s attacks. Meanwhile, at the other end of the court Newcastle started to pull away through further goals from Inta, captain Sandra Christke, Turulska and a Linsenmann brace to give the Vikings a 10-4 half-time lead.
Newcastle continued to keep Leeds largely at bay throughout the second half thanks to their defensive tightness and some athletic goalkeeping from Andrea King between the posts. Christke, Inta, Turulska and Linsenmann all added to their goals tallies as the Vikings stretched out their lead. Linsenmann claimed her seventh of the match before winger Blessing Ogbee rounded things off for a convincing 22-8 victory.
The men’s fixture proved to be a much tighter affair with both sides fairly equally matched as they level-pegged each other throughout the game. Wingers Matthew Lamb and Wiktor Laczny got the Vikings’ scoreboard ticking, before centre Peter Schichtel and half Gracjan Joppek added their names to the scoresheet. Goalkeeper Daniel Walsh pulled off several great saves at the back to keep Newcastle in it, and Laczny scored a further brace either side of another Lamb strike. But it was the home-side who went into the half-time break with a slim 9-8 advantage.
The second half continued in similar vein, with Joppek, another Laczny double, Lamb and Schichtel all hitting the back of the net, the latter scoring a quick-fire hat-trick to edge the Vikings in front, before Leeds pulled back.
But as the two sides continued to battle it out towards the final whistle, tensions boiled over with a clash of players resulting in one of the home-side’s players receiving a red card. The Vikings took their chance and late strikes from Schichtel and Joppek proved enough for Newcastle to claim a well-fought 18-17 win.
Newcastle Vikings Women: Andrea King (GK), Meghan Acres, Judyta Turulska (6 goals), Krystina Coulson, Gesa Junge, Sina Linsenmann (7), Blessing Ogbee (1), Kathryn Powell, Alina Inta (6), Sandra Christke (2)
Newcastle Vikings Men: Daniel Walsh (GK), Robert Thompson, James Porter, Gracjan Joppek (3 goals), Craig Swanson, Matthew Lamb (3), Jonathan Bastit, Florenco ‘Kole’ Viejo, Wiktor Laczny (6), Holger Schultz, Peter Schichtel (6)