A depleted Newcastle Vikings men’s team battled hard but eventually went down 23-15 to Manchester in Sunday’s return England Handball North Regional Development League fixture.
Playing at the National Cycling Centre on a court in the middle of the velodrome, Holger Schultz got the Vikings opening goal from the line position, before Newcastle’s back-court players dominated the first half scoring as the two sides traded blows. Goals from half Stephen Stricker and a brace from centre Peter Schichtel were followed by welcome strikes from youngsters James Porter and Thomas Harrison. With some good defensive play and further scores from Stricker, Porter and another Schichtel double, the teams were only a goal apart until the home side managed to open out an advantage in the last few minutes of the half, 13-10 at the break.
Newcastle struggled to find the net during the early part of the second half as Manchester began to pull away. But they kept positive with some good team play. Experienced German pair Stricker and Schichtel eventually got the Vikings’ scoreboard ticking over again, before Craig Swanson lobbed the keeper with a rare goal from the right wing. Schultz added his second of the match and Stricker rounded off the Vikings scoring, but Newcastle were unable to reel the home side in as Manchester claimed a 23-15 victory to add to their away win on the opening day of the season.
Newcastle Vikings: Jonathan Bastit (GK), Peter Schichtel (5 goals), Craig Swanson (1), Thomas Harrison (1), Matthew Lamb, James Porter (2), Stephan Stricker (4), Holger Schulz (2).