Newcastle Vikings’ men slipped out of the England Handball National Cup after going down 13-29 to Manchester’s first team on Saturday.
With the home tie relocated to Oldham due to the Tynesider’s usual home venue being unavailable, the Vikings were slow to get into the game. Captain David Topacho got Newcastle off the mark from the back-court and added a further two in between goals each from fellow half-player Cedric Le Lay and right-winger Bogdan Ciurea as the Vikings gradually found their way into the game and matched the Mancunians goal-for-goal for a while. Centre Julien Eng and left-winger Fedi Boussema also found the back of the net before Ciurea’s late brace took Newcastle into half-time 9-15 behind.
Eng and Ciurea added further goals as the second half got underway. However, despite playing well the Vikings were unlucky with several chances hitting the post, and while goalkeeper Daniel Walsh made some good saves at the other end the defence was unable to hold back Manchester’s attacking power. Adam Mobberley fired in from the line position and Vikings’ player-of-the-match Ciurea struck his fifth, but it was too little too late in the end.
Newcastle will now drop into the Shield competition, where they have been drawn to play a home re-match quarter-final tie in February against Reading Lions, who knocked the Vikings out of the old League Cup competition at the semi-final stage last season.
Newcastle Vikings: Daniel Walsh (GK), Andrei Bogdan Ciurea (5 goals), Robert Thompson, David Topacho (3), Matthew Lamb, Cedric Le Lay (1), Adam Mobberley (1), Mohammed Fedi Boussema (1), Julien Eng (2).