Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s men’s team came close to a tantalising fightback but were ultimately knocked out of the English National Shield competition 33-25 by Guildford Sabres on Saturday.
The Vikings lads had had to make a very early start for the long drive down to Surrey to face last season’s Shield runners-up and current Regional League South leaders in this tough away quarter-final encounter.
Half player Bart Piorkowski and wingers Adam Mobberley and Matthew Lamb teamed up for the five Newcastle goals of the game, with Piorkowski then netting his third in between a pair of double strikes from centre Julien Eng. However, they were unable to hold back the home side at the other end as the Sabres opened up a 17-10 half-time advantage.
Eng continued with another brace at the start of the second half, soon adding his seventh after further goals from Piorkowski and Lamb, and another sandwiched by two strikes from half Fedi Boussema as the Vikings sought to claw their way back. Captain Mobberley and Boussema each scored again, with two breakaway goals from Lamb taking his personal tally to five. Backed up by some good defensive play in front of goalkeeper Daniel Walsh, Newcastle had valiantly fought back to within three goals with 10 minutes to go.
However, a couple of late two-minute suspensions together with an injury-forced reshuffle cruelly stifled the Vikings’ comeback. Without any outfield substitutes available, line player Craig Swanson had to push out onto the wing with first half goalkeeper Pål Jakobsen coming on to play outfield at the pivot of the attack. He nevertheless soon set up Newcastle’s Kafeneon player of the match Eng to fire in his ninth and tenth goals of the match, but by the time Boussema rounded off the Tynesiders’ scoring Guildford Sabres had pulled away again to run out clear 33-25 winners at the final whistle and progress to the semi-final.
Newcastle Vikings: Pål Jakobsen (GK), Daniel Walsh (GK), Craig Swanson, Matthew Lamb (5), Adam Mobberley (2), Mohamed Boussema (4), Julien Eng (10), Bartlominj Piorkowski (4).