Vikings’ Scottish League return ends in Glasgow defeat

Newcastle Vikings’ men succumbed 16-42 to Glasgow in their opening match of the new season in the Scottish league on Saturday.

The match was Newcastle’s first competitive league match for two-and-a-half years since the Covid-enforced hiatus in March 2020. It also marked the Vikings’ return to playing in the Scottish handball leagues this season, back where the club played its debut league season in 2013/14.

However, without a trained goalkeeper available to travel up to Edinburgh’s Oriam National Performance Centre for this game, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Newcastle lads to come away with a winning start to the season. Craig Swanson and Iacopo Benesperi each volunteered to don the keeper’s jersey and did their best in managing to pull off some saves, but the team’s rustiness also showed in attack with captain Adam Mobberley feeling they did not move the ball as well as they could have done, although they did make some good chances and on another day could have scored more.

Former Viking Pablo Docampo opened the scoring for the Glaswegians, but was otherwise largely frustrated by Newcastle’s defensive tactics taking him out of the game. New back court player Marian Machel got the Vikings on the scoresheet, and notched a further two first half strikes following goals from right-winger Benesperi and right-half Adam Batley. Left-winger Mobberley struck a brace towards the end of the half, but by the time the half-time whistle blew Newcastle were already 7-21 down.

Mobberley picked up another three goals early in a slightly improved second-half performance, Machel fired in his fourth, and Benesperi his second, interspersed with goals from Fabian van der Velden and Shawn Anuptra Martin, before centre Timo Keller hit a late double. Despite the final 16-42 scoreline, the Vikings nevertheless enjoyed the challenge and being back on court, and will be looking forward to putting in a better showing all round in their next match against Tryst in two weeks time.

Newcastle Vikings: Craig Swanson (GK1), Iacopo Benesperi (GK2, 2 goals), Adam Mobberley (5), Timo Keller (2), Sam Downie, Shawn Anuptra Martin (1), Marian Machel (4), Adam Batley (1), Fabian van der Velden (1).

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