Edinburgh too strong for Vikings ladies

Newcastle Vikings’ women were well beaten by rivals Edinburgh in their opening match of the 2023/24 Scottish Handball League season last Saturday 7 October, with the reigning champions running out dominant 34-13 winners.

The Vikings travelled north of the border to Edinburgh’s Oriam Sports Centre with three usual goalkeepers in their team of eight available players, including Great Britain international goalkeeper Sophie O’Sullivan making her Newcastle debut as Andrea King and Caroline Bergum moved outfield to play on the wings.

Edinburgh quickly opened out an early lead, but goals from player-coach Marlen Slinning Goulty and six consecutive strikes from half-back Oliwia Szymkowiak kept the Vikings in the game, with King firing in and Goulty’s second narrowing the gap from five to two at 11-9 just over mid-way through the first half. However, Edinburgh’s first tactical time-out seemed to knock Newcastle’s threatened comeback momentum. The home side quickly regained the initiative to extend their lead through accurate shooting and several fast breaks, while their defence stifled the Vikings’ attempts to find space to get their shots in, with only Szymowiak’s seventh and one from line-player Sandra Christke-Lamb taking the score to 19-11 by half-time.

The second-half then continued in much the same vein as the latter part of the first, as the Vikings struggled to contain Edinburgh’s pacy attacks and find a way through their defensive solidity. The hosts raced further ahead while restricting Newcastle to just two more goals in the match, both coming from captain Christke-Lamb.

Szymkowiak and Edinburgh’s captain Louise Cox were voted as each team’s players of the match, each having top-scored with seven goals apiece in the game.

Newcastle Vikings: Sophie O’Sullivan (GK), Marlen Slinning Goulty (2 goals), Oliwia Szymkowiak (7), Andrea King (1), Alexandra Inta, Alina Inta, Sandra Christke-Lamb (3), Caroline Bergum.

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