Newcastle Vikings’ men travelled to Huddersfield on Sunday to take on the combined Leeds Hornets/University of Huddersfield team, with the Vikings seeking a win to regain top spot in the England Handball North Regional Development League.
It proved to be a physical and evenly matched encounter. Newcastle took an early two-goal lead through Nichlas Foldager and Wiktor Laczny, before the Hornets retaliated to gain the lead for themselves. Foldager and Robin Devilette each completed first-half hat-tricks and by the half-time break it was narrow 12-11 lead for the home side.
The Vikings seized the initiative at the start of the second half to reclaim the lead, with Niall Flanagan, Foldager, Laczny and Devilette each adding to their personal scoring tallies.
But the Hornets had a sting in their tail as they pulled back and stretched out a four-goal advantage. Play became rather feisty during a tense last few minutes as the Vikings fought to find a way back. Newcastle were awarded a belated penalty in the final minute, following the sending-off of one of the home side’s players for a cynical foul on Flanagan that lead to a melee of the players, but Laczny’s strike was not enough. The Hornets held out for a 20-17 final scoreline, which saw them jump to the top of the league themselves with the Vikings slipping to third place behind Manchester.
Newcastle Vikings Men: Faisal Albathali, Robin Devilette (4), Grazjan Joppek, Thomas Harrison, Niall Flanagan (3), Wiktor Laczny (4), Robert Thompson, James Porter, Mark Harrison, Stephan Stricker (1), Craig Swanson, Nichlas Foldager (5), Matthew Lamb