Newcastle Vikings’ women’s and men’s teams scored a win and a draw against the University of Leeds in Saturday’s home England Handball Regional League North fixtures at the Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields.
The men’s teams were first on court for their midday showdown and the Vikings quickly siezed the opportunity to get ahead through goals from half Bart Piorkowski, winger Matthew Lamb and a hat-trick from centre Julien Eng. The same players added a further five goals before Pablo Docampo broke through from the half position for a brace to take the home side into the break 12-9 up.
Piorkowski, Eng and Docampo continued to lead Newcastle’s scoring in the second half as the Vikings extended their advantage to four, with Eng’s seventh strike of the game in another Kafeneon player-of-the-match performance gaining him the honour of becoming the first male Newcastle player to score a century of league and cup goals.
However, Leeds dramatically clawed their way back as the Vikings faltered in the closing minutes and, despite Eng netting once more for his second treble of the game, the Gryphons managed to level the game 19-19 in a frantic finish. The draw nevertheless extended Newcastle’s lead at the top of the league table to three points ahead of the final bumper weekend of tournament-style fixtures in three weeks time.
The Vikings’ women went into their match knowing a win would be tough after a poor away performance earlier in the season, but would take them level on points with their opponents in second place ahead of the final tournament-style match weekend and give them an outside mathematical chance of retaining their Regional League North title. And early goals from winger Blessing Ogbee, line-player Sandra Christke-Lamb and half Rosa Larcy gave them the perfect start.
Captain Christke-Lamb and wingers Katerina Gibson and Marie Thompson each added further goals as Leeds continued to stay in touch with some powerful shooting, before centre Maren Liane went on a goalscoring spree with five consecutive power strikes of her own. Ogbee’s second gave the home side a 12-9 half-time advantage.
Liane’s penalty and some brilliant back-court attacking plays helped set up left-half Judyta Turulska either side of Larcy’s four-in-a-row to extend the Vikings’ lead in the second half. Leeds continued to press for a fightback, but Newcastle’s defence stayed strong to maintain their cushion. Thompson and Christke-Lamb each scored again before Kafeneon player-of-the-match Liane fired in a couple more crackers to take her personal tally to eight and seal the 23-20 victory.
Newcastle Vikings men: Daniel Walsh (GK), Pål Jakobsen (GK), Bartlomiej Piorkowski (6 goals), Matthew Lamb (2), Adam Mobberley, Mark Harrison, Benoit Barthel, Julien Eng (8), Pablo Docampo (3).
Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Marie Thompson (2 goals), Katerina Gibson (1), Rosa Larcy (5), Maren Liane (8), Blessing Ogbee (2), Alina Inta, Sandra Christke-Lamb (3), Judyta Turulska (2).