Newcastle Vikings’ depleted women’s team were cruelly knocked out of the England Handball National Shield competition in Sunday’s away encounter against Midlands Regional League club Northampton.
Played at Cranfield University near Bedford, the hosts got off the mark first, but the Vikings girls soon pulled level through goals from line player María José González, right-half Alina Inta and young right-winger Katerina Gibson with only her second goal for the senior team.
Injury to centre Marlen Goulty (subsequently diagnosed as a broken thumb) meant that without any substitutes available she bravely fought on with typical Vikings spirit, switching out to the wing with Marie Thompson moving inside. Inta’s resulting penalty strike briefly edged the Vikings in front, before Northampton regained the lead.
Thompson nevertheless revelled in the half position, quickly scoring a hat-trick to bring the game all square again. Backed up by some good saves from in-form goalkeeper Andrea King in another Kafeneon player-of-the-match performance, the Vikings were clearly frustrating the bigger, powerful home side. Despite a shoulder injury to back-court player Rosa Larcy, the two teams continued to trade goals for the rest of the half, Inta deftly lobbing the opposing keeper, Goulty defying her injury with a left-handed goal, Thompson firing in her fourth and Inta doing likewise from the penalty line to take the sides into the half-time break at 11-11.
The interval however affected Newcastle’s momentum as Northampton started the second half with four quick-fire goals, before Inta and González got the Vikings’ scoreline ticking over again. However, the home side continued to extend their advantage from the penalty line and on the break as Newcastle began to tire. Further strikes came from Goulty’s second left-hander, Larcy breaking through and Inta’s sixth as the Vikings sought to fight their way back, but by the time González rounded off the scoring with her third of the game it was Northampton who had run out 24-17 winners.
Newcastle’s ladies will return to action after a deserved rest over the festive break with a home league match against Manchester at Benfield Centre for Sporting Excellence on Saturday 12th January 2019. In the meantime, we wish all our players and supporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Newcastle Vikings: Andrea King (GK), Marie Thompson (4 goals), Marlen Goulty (2), Katerina Gibson (1), Rosa Larcy (1), Alina Inta (6), María José González (3).