Newcastle Vikings’ men ran out to a 24-11 home victory over Liverpool Speke Garston in the England Handball North Regional Development League on Sunday, as the Vikings ladies were unlucky to fall to their third consecutive single-goal defeat.
A busy day of handball action at South Shields’ Temple Park Leisure Centre began with the morning’s second round of the Under 16 Tyne & Wear County handball trials, with 22 girls and 11 boys turning up be put through their paces as they push for selection for the first County junior handball teams.
Newcastle Vikings and Liverpool’s women then took to the court for their first league meeting of the season. The away team grabbed an early lead before centre Maren Liane fired in a cracking brace of goals to level things up and captain Sandra Christke struck a quick hat-trick from the line position. The teams continued to trade goals with goalkeeper Andrea King denying Liverpool opening out a lead with several big saves. Left-half Judyta Turulska scored a double of her own either side of Liane’s penalty, before Meghan Acres’s left wing shot just sneaked under the keeper’s foot to give Newcastle a 9-8 half-time advantage.
Liverpool regained the lead early in the second half, but Christke’s brace soon levelled matters again, clocking up her 150th Vikings league and cup goal in the process. Newcastle fought well together in defence to keep the pacey Liverpool attacking plays at bay, King continuing to pull off some good saves, while at the other end of the court Liane’s second penalty of the game was soon followed by strikes from wingers Blessing Ogbee and Acres and half-back Alina Inta to keep the Vikings in touch. The away side nevertheless managed to open up a two-goal lead going into the final minutes, but despite Kristina Coulson’s late left-wing brace giving Newcastle hope of snatching a share of the points they fell agonisingly short once again, 17-18 the final score.
Head coach Marlen Slinning Goulty was nevertheless pleased with the team’s performance and energy, adding “brilliant that we got goals from all positions, and some awesome saves”.
The subsequent men’s match was a low-scoring slow starter dominated by solid defences, just 2-2 on the scoreboard after the first quarter-of-an-hour with Newcastle’s goals coming from centre Mohammed Ghuloum and winger Matthew Lamb’s opportunistic breakaway goal, Mark Harrison making several good reaction saves between the posts to keep out the Merseyside team’s attacks. Ghuloum fired in from the penalty line and Stephan Stricker struck low from the back-court, before the Vikings started to assert some dominance through winger Niall Flanagan’s flying treble, split only by Ghuloum’s third. Right-half Johannes Bellm and winger Kole Viejo-Cabellero rounded of the first half scoring as the Vikings took a 10-5 lead into the half-time break.
A further brace from Flanagan got the second half underway, soon followed by another Ghuloum penalty. Newcastle increasingly broke through the tiring Liverpool defence line with Vlad Cocos firing in twice, and then again after Stricker and captain David Topacho also exploited the gaps. Ghuloum scored his fifth and Stricker added another, while Lamb’s pace on the fast-breaks gained him a further brace. Bellm and Stricker rounded off a much-improved team performance for the Vikings men for a welcome runaway 24-11 home victory.
Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Malin Walle, Judyta Turulska (2 goals), Krystina Coulson (2), Maren Liane (4), Blessing Ogbee (1), Emmanuelle Chandler, Meghan Acres (2), Alina Inta (1), Sandra Christke (5), Rebecca Johnson.
Newcastle Vikings men: Mark Harrison (GK), Florencio ‘Kole’ Viejo-Cabellero (1 goal), Vlad Cocos (3), David Topacho (1), Craig Swanson, Matthew Lamb (3), Mohammed Ghuloum (5), Adam Mobberley, Thomas Harrison, Jonathan Bastit, Niall Flanagan (5), Johannes Bellm (2), Stephan Stricker (4).