Newcastle Vikings’ men and women’s teams both succumbed to agonising one-goal defeats at home to Manchester in Sunday’s England Handball North Regional Development League matches at South Shields’ Temple Park Leisure Centre.
It was the second consecutive single-goal league defeat in a row for the Vikings ladies in another close-fought game that never saw either side manage to open up more than a two-goal advantage throughout. Manchester found the back of the net first, before captain Sandra Christke’s clever flick from the edge of the goal area and strikes from wingers Blessing Ogbee and Meghan Acres edged Newcastle in front. Centre Maren Liane fired in from the penalty line, and winger Krystina Coulson and half-backs Judyta Turulska and Alina Inta each added their names to the scoresheet, before Liane’s second put the Vikings ahead 8-7 just before half-time.
However, Manchester quickly re-took control at the start of the second half as a somewhat subdued Newcastle seemed to struggle to get into their flow. Three back-court goals apiece from Turulska and Liane, coupled with some battling defensive play, nevertheless ensured they kept in touch. But Manchester regained the lead in the closing minutes, Ogbee’s second against her former club coming just too late to give the Vikings time to search for another leveller as the away side held on for a 15-16 win.
The following men’s match was a similarly close and low-scoring encounter. Captain David Topacho both opened and closed Newcastle’s first-half scoring from half-back, with fellow back-court players Mohammed Ghuloum and Johannes Bellm plus wingers Adam Mobberley and Matthew Lamb all finding the back of the Manchester net in between. But the away side went into the half-time break with a 6-7 advantage.
Bellm added two more early in the second period either side of Lamb’s second and a strike from half-back Stephan Stricker, with further back-court goals coming from Topacho’s brace and Ghuloum. Thomas Harrison levelled the scores from the wing again, but as the Vikings pushed on the attack Manchester took advantage on the breaks to open their lead again. And ultimately late strikes from Topacho and Ghuloum were not enough to prevent another frustrating result for the Vikings men, 16-17 the final score.
Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Malin Walle, Judyta Turulska (4 goals), Krystina Coulson (1), Maren Liane (5), Blessing Ogbee (2), Emmanuelle Chandler, Meghan Acres (1), Alina Inta (1), Sandra Christke (1), Rebecca Johnson.
Newcastle Vikings men: Daniel Walsh (GK), Mark Harrison (GK), Florencio Viejo-Cabellero, Mohammed Ghuloum (3 goals), Vlad Cocos, David Topacho (5), Matthew Lamb (2), Peter Schichtel, Adam Mobberley (1), Thomas Harrison (1), Jonathan Bastit, Stephan Stricker (1), Holger Schulz, Johannes Bellm (3).