Newcastle Vikings’ women’s team agonisingly lost their England Handball league cup semi-final by a single goal in the dying minutes to reigning champions London GD II on Saturday.
With Newcastle’s home venue unavailable this weekend, the re-match of last year’s league cup final took place at the Leeds Futsal arena, with the Vikings ladies looking for revenge over the experienced and well-drilled London Great Dane club.
The two teams traded goals during the opening stages, as right-half Alina Inta grabbed an early hat-trick split only by captain Sandra Christke’s strike from the line position. The London side then took control to open out a four-goal advantage. But the Vikings showed their fighting spirit to claw their way back, left-half Judyta Turulska and centre Sina Linsenmann breaking through from the back-court and Blessing Ogbee firing in from the left wing before player-coach Marlen Slinning came on at line to equalise and then with the adrenalin flowing put her team in front. However, the teams were to go in 9-9 at half-time as London GD levelled things up again.
Buoyed by their first-half comeback, Newcastle edged ahead at the start of the second half through Linsenmann and Slinning’s penalty. Backed up by tight defending and good saves from goalkeeper Andrea King between the posts, further goals from Inta and Christke kept the Vikings in the game, before Sofie Vaula’s double from the right wing and Turulska’s strike put them 16-14 up with five minutes remaining.
But just as the final seemed to be in sight London GD pulled back to equalise from the penalty line and then take the lead. And despite Newcastle’s best efforts to snatch a late equaliser to put the match into extra time, it wasn’t to be as they fell agonisingly short, 16-17 the final score in favour of London GD II. The Vikings girls can nevertheless take heart from coming so close with a great team performance in a much more evenly-matched encounter than last season’s final.
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK), Marlen Slinning (3 goals), Judyta Turulska (2), Lea Muthing, Sofie Vaula (2), Sina Linsenmann (2), Blessing Ogbee (1), Kathryn Powell, Alina Inta (4), Sandra Christke (2)