Newcastle Vikings’ ladies suffered a curse of multiple penalty shoot-out heartbreaks at the weekend’s British Beach Handball Championships down on the south coast in Poole.
The annual tournament, now in it’s seventh year at Branksome Chine beach on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, saw a depleted Newcastle team looking to better last year’s 3rd place in the Plate competition. They were once again handed a tough opener facing experienced former champions London GD in Saturday’s first group match. And the Londoners put the Vikings to the sword 24-6 in the first half, making the most of their acrobatic spinning and flying trick-shots for two-point scores, but despite an improved second-half Newcastle performance and bonus-point goalkeeper goals of their own GD also took it 16-8 for an overall 2-0 win.
The Vikings soon got their game together for a good 0-2 victory of their own over Islington Ratitas after easily winning both halves against the North London side 6-14 and 7-13.
Their final two group matches against Chelsea and Poole Phoenix 3 were both drawn with each side winning a half to take the games into running penalty shoot-outs. In the Chelsea match the Londoners won the first half 4-15 before the Vikings battled back to take the second half 15-10, only for Chelsea to win the shoot-out 3-4 for an overall 1-2 win. Against Poole’s dynamic young side, Newcastle narrowly won the first half 12-11, but the home side took the second half 12-19 before snatching the penalty shoot-out in sudden death 5-6 and hand the Vikings another 1-2 defeat.
Those results meant Newcastle finished fourth in their group and dropped them into the Plate competition for Sunday’s round-robin matches. The Vikings grabbed a 13-12 first half win with an extra-time golden goal against their first opponents Poole Phoenix 2 after the scores were level at the half-time whistle, but they agonisingly missed out on also taking the second-half as the home team came back to grab a 11-12 win, Phoenix going on to take the penalty shoot-out 2-3 for a 1-2 match win.
The Vikings’ second Plate match against Islington-on-the-Beach this time saw the Londoners take the first half on a golden goal 12-11, but the fired-up Vikings then went on the rampage to rack up their biggest half win of the weekend 5-20 to take the match into yet another penalty shoot-out. However, for the fourth time in the weekend luck evaded them and they faltered once again as Islington took the shoot-out 3-1 to win the game 2-1.
The Newcastle girls were nevertheless upbeat about their overall performances, having lost only to eventual women’s Cup champions London GD in normal time and only narrowly missing out on further match wins. The Vikings will certainly be practising harder to overcome their penalty shoot-out hoodoo before next year’s championships. Meanwhile, Bristol beat Poole Phoenix 2 to win the women’s Plate competition.
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK), Krystina Coulson, Blessing Ogbee, Edna Ogbee, Birgitte Folkvord, Eiman El Banhawy, Bruna Falgueras Vallbona.