After missing last year’s tournament, Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s ladies returned to England’s south coast last weekend to compete in their third British Beach Handball Championships in Poole, Dorset.
The 2018 women’s competition draw handed them a tough opening group match against reigning champions London GD I. With a point gained for winning each half in beach handball, and entertaining trick shots and goals by the goalkeepers counting double, the experienced Londoners overpowered the Tynesiders to win the two halves 21-12 and 20-9 to run out clear 2-0 winners.
However, the Vikings then fought well to beat home-town club Poole Phoenix’s first team 0-2 (12-16 and 9-14). And despite playing well in their third game against Cambridge Honeybadgers, they lost out 0-2 (9-12 and 7-15), before coming back to pick up a strong 2-0 (20-8 and 14-9) win over London Angels II to finish the day third in Group 1.
With the top two sides of each group progressing into the Cup competition, that group placing saw Newcastle go into the Plate competition semi-final against West London Eagles. The Vikings started really well to take the first half 13-5, but lost their momentum after the interval as the Eagles snatched the second half 9-15 for a 1-1 result and take the tie into a running penalty shoot-out. After missing their first three attempts, Newcastle captain Sandra Christke-Lamb and player-coach Marlen Slinning Goulty both scored acrobatic 360-degree spin-shot two-pointers to pull the Vikings level and effectively take it to sudden death, but the Eagles held their nerve to score a 4-5 shoot-out win.
That agonising semi-final defeat saw Newcastle then face a re-match against group opponents London Angels II in the 3rd/4th-place play-off match. But the Vikings picked themselves up to round off a hot and sunny weekend with another good 2-0 win (12-6 and 13-7) to take the women’s Plate competition third-place trophy for a best ever seventh-place overall showing at the British Beach Handball Championships.
Their semi-final adversaries West London Eagles meanwhile went on to beat Coventry Sharks in the women’s Plate final, leaving Newcastle’s ladies to wonder what might have been, while London Angels I defeated London GD II in the women’s Cup final.
The third-place women’s Plate trophy nevertheless gave Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s ladies their second piece of silverware of their most successful season, to add to their 2017/18 England Handball Women’s North Regional League title winners trophy won back in April.
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK1), Marlen Slinning Goulty (GK3), Krystina Coulson, Caroline Steinhagen, Maria Jose Gonzalez Alvarez, Edna Ogbee (GK4), Birgitte Folkvord, Sandra Christke-Lamb (GK2).