Newcastle Vikings men’s and women’s teams both slipped to home defeats despite improved performances in Sunday’s England Handball league matches at South Shields’ Temple Park Leisure Centre.
The men’s National League North match saw the Vikings take on a strong Loughborough University side they had lost heavily to in the away fixture a forthnight before. This time they put up more of a challenge despite the students again picking up a clear three points with an 18-31 win to leave Newcastle still winless in their first season playing in the higher league.
Right half Jonathan Bastit had put Newcastle into an early lead with his first strike of the season, centre Julien Eng, right winger Andrei Ciurea and left half Stephan Stricker also finding the back of the net as the Vikings matched their opponents, with debutant goalkeeper Pål Jakobsen pulling off some excellent saves to keep Loughborough’s attacks at bay. But the university side soon began to find their way through the Vikings’ defence. And while Eng fired in another four goals from the back court, sandwiching Cedric Le Lay’s goal from the line position, Loughborough went into the half-time break 9-17 ahead.
Eng and Stricker sought to pull the Vikings back early in the second half. Matthew Lamb broke away to score the first of his three opportunist goals, with fellow wingers Ciurea and Fedi Boussema also adding to Newcastle’s tally. But by the time captain David Topacho and Eng struck again from the back court and Lamb rounded off the Vikings’ scoring with his third the game was already lost. 18-31 the final score.
Newcastle’s women were looking for their first win against Liverpool in the following women’s Regional League match, and with the away team missing their regular goalkeeper this seemed a good opportunity to get one over on their opponents. The Merseysiders nevertheless got on the scoresheet first, before centre Maren Liane’s double and Marlen Slinning Goulty pulled the Vikings back into it. Goalkeeper Andrea King pulled off some big saves, but Newcastle struggled to prevent Liverpool centre Ania Wojtowicz from breaking through their defence line as she led the away team’s game and would go on to notch an impressive 12-goal tally for the match.
Further first-half goals for the home side came from Alina Inta and Emily Bjerk’s penalty, Blessing Ogbee and Marie Brevet firing in from the wings, with Slinning Goulty and Liane again striking from the back court.
Trailing 9-14 at half-time, the Vikings ladies fought back with three quick goals at the start of the second period, captain Sandra Christke netting from the line position, Bjerk scoring her second penalty and Liane firing in her fourth of the game. Player coach Slinning Goulty added a brace to her tally, with Christke, Brevet, Inta and Ogbee all scoring their second goals of the game as the Vikings closed the gap. But despite having the better of the second half, further goals from Slinning Goulty, Ogbee, Inta and Liane proved not quite enough as Newcastle rued missed oppotunities and Liverpool held on for a well-played 22-24 victory.
Newcastle Vikings men: Daniel Walsh (GK), Pål Jakobsen (GK), Andrei Ciurea (2 goals), Cedric Le Lay (1), David Topacho (1), Matthew Lamb (3), Adam Mobberley, Mohamed Fedi Boussema (1), Jonathan Bastit (1), Etienne Lisse, Stephan Stricker (2), Julien Eng (7).
Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Marie Brevet (2 goals), Marlen Slinning Goulty (5), Katerina Gibson, Maren Liane (5), Blessing Ogbee (3), Emily Bjerk (2), Alina Inta (3), Sandra Christke (2), Maria Gonzalez-Alvarez.