Newcastle Vikings’ first season in the English league and cup competitions is now over, and it’s fair to say it’s been a reasonably positive season as the club continues to develop and grow, culminating in gaining Sport England’s valued Clubmark accreditation from Tyne & Wear Sport.
Both the men’s and women’s teams did equally well in finishing in a respectable mid-table fourth place in their respective England Handball North Regional Development Leagues, with both scoring a total 26 points for the 2014/15 season.
The results have been particularly pleasing for the Vikings men after their winless debut season in the Scottish handball league 2013/14. Boosted by the addition of a few more experienced players and under the guidance of new men’s coach Jason Lee, their mid-season seven-game unbeaten league run proved a huge morale lift and one that briefly took them to the top of the league table, before Bolton Hussars went on to claim the title.
The Vikings women also topped their table mid-season and once again kept the second-best defensive record in their league, with only unbeaten league winners Liverpool beating them by more than a couple of goals. The ladies also gained EHA recognition for keeping a rarely-achieved clean sheet in their massive 49-0 win over Leeds University, and picked up the club’s first national silverware in reaching the final of England Handball’s second-tier league cup competition against London GD II.
Congratulations go to Marlen Slinning and Simon Heintz who topped the club’s scoring charts for the season with 75 and 67 goals respectively, both at an average of more than six goals per game.
Slinning and Heintz also picked up the coveted players’ player of the year awards, voted for by their Vikings teammates in the club’s end-of-season awards. Sam Turner and Kathryn Powell were selected as this season’s most improved players for the advancement in their performances over the year.
Fun awards for the most likely players to get injured went to accident-prone goalkeepers Andrea King and Mike Cooke, while Blessing Ogbee picked up the award for most likely to not be there when needed, with Jonathan Bastit considered the most likely to spit his dummy out!
And finally, the Newcastle Vikings inaugural fantasy handball league was won by Sandra Christke, with Jonathan Bastit runner-up and Andrea King just pipping Jason Lee and Matthew Lamb for third place.