It proved to be a tough opening to the England Handball North Regional Development League season for Newcastle Vikings’ women as they suffered a frustrating 16-34 defeat away to Merseyside club Peninsula in Warrington on Sunday.
The Peninsula team were much-changed from previous seasons, clearly benefiting from a summer merger with nearby Deva Handball Club’s women’s team and coaching from Great Britain handball international and London 2012 Olympian Chris McDermott. The home side got off to a flying start with some quick attacking plays to open out an early lead as the Vikings sought to find their feet and cope with their offensive moves, half-player Judyta Turulska’s double eventually getting Newcastle on the scoresheet.
A quick-fire treble from centre Rebecka Östergren and fellow back-court player Alina Inta briefly closed the gap to four to give the Vikings hope of an unlikely comeback. But despite further goals from Turulska, Östergren and line-player Maren Liane, Newcastle continued to struggle to break through the well-drilled home defence line, and by half-time Peninsula’s more clinical shooting accuracy had gained them a 16-8 advantage.
The second half continued in a similar vein, with half-player Inta dominating the Vikings scoring with a further six strikes including two from the penalty line, interspersed by goals from Östergren and captain Sandra Christke. But as Newcastle began to tire the home side exploited several breakaway plays to extend their lead further for a 34-16 win at the final whistle.
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK), Judyta Turulska (3 goals), Krystina Coulson, Maren Liane (1), Blessing Ogbee, Alina Inta (8), Sandra Christke (1), Rebecka Östergren (3).