Battling Vikings narrowly beaten by Tryst

Newcastle Vikings’ ladies were narrowly beaten 25-27 by Tryst 77 in a tight Scottish handball league encounter between the second and third-placed teams in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Newcastle’s line-up was boosted having signed up line player Nadine Waehning from York Handball Club and former Edinburgh half-back Andrea Rašpolić for their Vikings league debuts.  And it was Rašpolić who opened the scoring from left-half, picking up two early goals, either side of a deft lob from left-winger Caroline Bergum.

Waehning then grabbed her opportunity to open her Vikings account with a strong five-goal flourish, interspersed by two from right-half Oliwia Szymkowiak as Newcastle kept their noses in front throughout the first half, backed up by some solid defence. Cumbernauld-based Tryst gradually reduced their advantage, but centre Marlen Slinning Goulty’s brace gave the Vikings a well-deserved 10-12 lead at the break.

Rašpolić and player-of-the-match Waehning added to their tallies early in the second half. However, Tryst clinically took advantage of Newcastle losses of possession and missed opportunities in attack to catch them on the fast-break and push ahead, despite the best efforts of Great Britain goalkeeper Sophie O’Sullivan who pulled off several big saves.

The Vikings battled hard to claw their way back, with five more Szymkowiak strikes and further goals from Bergum and Goulty getting them back to within one of the Scots in the final minute. However, their comeback was hampered by a few two-minute suspensions, which gave Tryst the player advantage, court space and scoring opportunities to stay ahead and hold out for the two-goal win with a final goal in the dying seconds.

The Vikings girls and bench coach Kimi Karjalainen were clearly disappointed with the narrow loss. Head coach Goulty was nevertheless positive and pleased with the way the team had fought well. “It was fab to have both Nadine and Andrea. We had some really good plays, class defence and some great set-ups and goals in attack, and were so close to victory” she said. “Just a shame we couldn’t steel the win off them. But we tried hard, so we should be proud of our performance in many ways, but it didn’t go our way today. Let’s learn from it and up and forward we go. Go Vikings!”

Newcastle Vikings: Sophie O’Sullivan (GK), Nadine Waehning (6 goals), Andrea Rašpolić (5), Oliwia Szymkowiak (7), Caroline Bergum (2), Marlen Slinning Goulty (5), Andrea King.

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