Newcastle Vikings’ men’s and women’s teams both claimed impressive England Handball North Regional Development League victories away at Manchester on Saturday.
Playing in the somewhat surreal setting of the National Cycling Centre on a court in the middle of the former Commonwealth Games velodrome while Great Britain cyclists trained around them, the men were up first. Captain David Topacho quickly got the Vikings ball rolling, soon followed by goals from line player Holger Schulz and half Stephan Stricker as Newcastle opened up an early lead. Manchester pulled back to level, before winger Matthew Lamb and back-court players Mohammed Ghuloum and Peter Schichtel added their names to the Vikings’ scoresheet. Topacho and Ghuloum then each added further strikes to give Newcastle a 9-5 half-time advantage.
Lamb, Ghuloum and Schichtel’s brace extended Newcastle’s lead in the second half as Manchester briefly threatened a comeback, but with the defence line remaining firm further goals from Stricker, Schulz, Topacho, Ghuloum and Schichtel sealed the good 18-12 away win for the Vikings men.
The women’s teams then took centre stage and Newcastle raced into an early lead through half-players Judyta Turulska (2) and Alina Inta and a Maren Liane hat-trick from the right wing. Captain Sandra Christke added a brace from the line position, Inta and Turulska each scored twice more and Christke added her third, while a solid defensive performance and some good saves from goalkeeper Andrea King restricted the home side to just five first half goals at the other end, 13-5 the interval scoreline.
But it was Manchester who came out the more determined immediately after the break with four quick goals, before centre Rebecka Östergren and Liane’s double helped to settle the Vikings’ nerves of an unlikely comeback. Inta fired in three more either side of two Liane penalties, Turulska re-found the net with another brace, with Östergren and Christke rounding off a resounding 25-16 win to give Newcastle’s women a welcome first victory over Manchester, all the more impressive without the benefit of any substitutes.
Newcastle Vikings men: Daniel Walsh (GK), Vlad Cocos, Matthew Lamb (2 goals), Craig Swanson, Peter Schichtel (4), Mohammed Ghulowm (4), Adam Mobberley, James Porter, Jonathan Bastit, David Topacho (4), Holger Schulz (2), Stephan Stricker (2).
Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Joudyta Turulska (6 goals), Krystina Coulson, Rebecka Östergren (2), Maren Liane (7), Alina Inta (6), Sandra Christke (4).