Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s men returned to action on Saturday after the festive break looking for a first win of the season against National League North leaders Coventry Sharks at Temple Park Leisure Centre in South Shields.
The visitors took an early lead before centre Julien Eng pulled one back and Jonathan Bastit set winger Matthew Lamb away on the counter-break to fire in a second. However, despite four further consecutive Eng strikes from the back-court the Vikings were unable to stifle the attacking speed and guile of the Sharks. Captain David Topacho and line-player Cedric Le Lay added their names to the scoresheet but by the half-time whistle Coventry had opened up a convincing 8-21 advantage.
Le Lay and a Stephan Stricker back-court brace gave the Vikings early hope of a fighting comeback at the start of the second half. But while both keepers Daniel Walsh and Pål Jakobsen made good saves in the Newcastle goal, the Vikings players gave the ball away too often as the rampant away side continued to return plays on the fast break to extend their lead further. Left-half Topacho fired in his second, Fedi Boussema scored from the left-wing and Eng struck another double, with Lamb breaking away and Le Lay pivoting on the line to each score twice more in the closing stages. The game finished with Coventry Sharks running out 19-39 winners.
Newcastle Vikings: Daniel Walsh (GK), Pål Jakobsen (GK), Andrei Bogdan Ciurea, Etienne Lisse, David Topacho (2 goals), Matthew Lamb (3), Cedric Le Lay (4), Adam Mobberley, Mohamed Fedi Boussema (1), Jonathan Bastit, Stephan Stricker (2), Julien Eng (7).