Newcastle Vikings’ men’s team jumped to the top of the England Handball
North-Midlands Regional League on Saturday after drawing with the University of Loughborough II and beating the University of Lincoln.
With the University sides from Birmingham and leaders Warwick both opting not to take part in this first of two centralised tournament-style days of shortened league matches between the North and Midlands teams at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre in Bradford, the Vikings were already guaranteed two 10-0 forfeit wins.
Their first match on court against the Loughborough students was an evenly matched affair throughout. The teams were level 7-7 at half-time before the university side took advantage of a couple of two-minute suspensions for Newcastle players to edge ahead, only for the Vikings to fight back well to gain the draw 15-15 by the final whistle. Newcastle’s goals principally came from the back-court through Pablo Docampo (5), Julien Eng (4) and Bart Piorkowski (3), with captain Adam Mobberley also adding a treble from the wing and line positions.
A dominant 3-12 first half against Lincoln then paved the way to an 11-19 victory for the Vikings lads in their second game of the day. Line-player Craig Swanson (2) and half Fedi Boussema (1) both got onto the scoresheet in the first half in addition to the scorers from the first match, with winger Matthew Lamb also picking up two goals in the second half. Eng led the way with six strikes for the game, with Mobberley finding the back of the net four times, Piorkowski adding three and Docampo one.
The combined results meant Newcastle’s men remain undefeated in the league and jumped all the way up above the University of Warwick to top spot ahead of their return home game against third-placed University of Leeds on Saturday 9th March at Temple Park Leisure Centre. Their league season is then set to climax with the final tournament-style match day fixtures taking place in Bradford again on 30th March.
Newcastle Vikings: Pål Jakobsen (GK), Craig Swanson (2 goals), Matthew Lamb (2), Adam Mobberley (7), Benoit Barthel, Fedi Boussema (1), Julien Eng (10), Bart Piorkowski (6), Pablo Docampo (6).