Newcastle Vikings’ new season gets underway this weekend as our men’s team take to the court against Coventry Sharks on Sunday 24 September. The match will be their first in the renamed National League North division (former Championship North), having accepted the England Handball Association’s offer of promotion into the second tier of English handball following their leagues revamp over the summer break.
Alongside Coventry, Newcastle’s men will also take on North Wales club Deva, Leeds Beckett University, and the first teams of Loughborough University and Manchester in the league this season.
The Vikings’ men will also face Manchester in their debut in the first round of the National Cup, although the home drawn match will take place on neutral ground in Oldham on 18 November due to the unavailability of our local home Temple Park venue in South Shields.
Their pre-season, however, saw a tough start as a depleted and somewhat inexperienced team of six Vikings men travelled north of the border to East Kilbride to take part in the Tom Cooper Trophy on 9 September 2017. Despite fighting valiantly and borrowing a couple of local players to make up the numbers, Newcastle lost all three of their tournament matches, 7-35 to home side EK82, 26-38 to Tryst 77 and 16-39 to Livingston. The Vikings players who took part were Mark Harrison (GK), Adam Mobberley, Tom Harrison, Julien Eng, Benoit Taunais and Scott Michael.
Newcastle Vikings’ women will get their new season in the renamed Regional League North underway next month when both our men and women’s teams travel to play Manchester on 22 October. The other teams in their reduced five-team league this season are the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Liverpool.
Our first home league matches of the season at Temple Park Leisure Centre are due to take place on 10 December when our Vikings men play host to Loughborough University 1 (12noon throw-off) followed by our women’s team taking the court against Liverpool (2pm throw-off).
Fixtures for the friendly North East league will be announced in due course, alongside confirmation of the date for our annual end-of-season Tyneside Handball Tournament.
Meanwhile, following last season’s successful schools handball tournaments and county trials, the region will see its first representation in national junior handball competitions this season as our newly-formed Tyne & Wear County girls team take part in the EHA’s Under-16 competition for club and county-based teams. The format will see four rounds of matches (all due to take place at Chester’s Northgate Arena), followed by the North Regional Finals to decide qualification for the National Finals at London’s Olympic Copper Box Arena next May. The first round of matches take place on 7 October.
We always welcome new handballers to our senior and junior teams, whatever your level of experience, so if you are interested in playing or just to try handball for fun, come along to our weekly training sessions:
- Mondays at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields – juniors 7-8pm, seniors 7-9pm
- Wednesdays at Benfield Centre for Sporting Excellence in Newcastle – juniors 5:30-6:30pm, senior women 6:30-8:15pm, senior men 8:15-10pm