Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s ladies suffered a frustrating 24-15 defeat away to the University of Leeds A team in Saturday’s North Regional Development League encounter at Futsal Leeds.
Going into the match on the back of a four game winning run, Newcastle started level on points against the Leeds side relegated from the national top-flight Super 8 league at the end of last season. And a brace apiece from centre Judyta Turulska, half Alina Inta and line player Sandra Christke, together with some good saves from goalkeeper Andrea King, kept the Vikings level-pegging with their opponents during the early stages of the game.
Right-half Gesa Junge fired in an early Christmas cracker in her final Vikings appearance before departing stateside. But despite switching to a 5-1 defensive formation to try to thwart the attacking threat of Leeds’ powerful centre player, further goals from Inta and Turulska were not enough to prevent the university side from opening up a five-goal lead by the interval. 14-9 the half-time scoreline.
Another Inta brace and Turulska strike at the start of the second half briefly gave Newcastle hope of a comeback. But the Vikings then suffered a frustrating period when, however hard they tried to break through the tight Leeds defence line, numerous shots were narrowly denied by the goalposts or were well saved.
King continued to do her best to keep the Vikings in the game with some athletic shot stopping between the posts at the other end of the court, but by the time Junge’s second got the Newcastle scoreboard ticking again the home side had opened a seven-goal cushion. Blessing Ogbee claimed her first goal from the line position and Turulska added her sixth, but Leeds University’s greater all-round strength and experience proved the difference in the end.
Head coach Marlen Slinning was nevertheless pleased with the Vikings team efforts, highlighting “Great goalkeeping from Andrea and some brilliant shots from Gesa and our new line player Blessing”. She added “Even though we lost and had quite a few post-out shots, overall you all did good and never gave up”.
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK), Judyta Turulska (6 goals), Krystina Coulson, Gesa Junge (2), Blessing Ogbee (1), Paulina Szulc, Alina Inta (4), Sandra Christke (3)