Victorious Vikings seal third place

Newcastle Vikings’ ladies rounded off their Scottish Handball League season with a tightly-contested 23-19 victory over East Kilbride club EK82 to consolidate their third place finish.

Newcastle went into the game at Scotland’s Oriam Sports Performance Centre knowing they had already secured third position in the league, but were out to score a feel-good win to set themselves up for next month’s league cup encounters.

Right-winger Andrea King opened the scoring, finishing off a team breakaway, but EK82 soon edged ahead. The Vikings quickly levelled through Oliwia Szymkowiak’s penalty and line-player Nadine Waehning, before right-half Szymkowiak put them ahead on another fast-break.

Newcastle then gradually opened up their lead, with centre Marlen Slinning Goulty’s four goals sandwiching one from captain Sandra Christke-Lamb, five from left-half Andrea Rašpolić and three more back-court strikes from Szymkowiak. By half-time they had opened up a clear 17-12 advantage.

The second-half, however, was a far more attritional, nervy, lower scoring affair. Both teams missed numerous opportunities to find the back of the net, the Vikings hitting the post on several occasions, while both goalkeepers made some impressive big saves, Newcastle’s Sophie O’Sullivan saving a couple of crucial penalties along the way. Waehning grabbed a brace in her second consecutive all-round player-of-the-match performance, but EK82 fought their way back into the contest and soon narrowed the gap to just one goal in it at 19-18.

But despite at one point being down to just four outfield players on the court due to two two-minute suspensions midway through the half, the battling Newcastle defence stood firm and refused to relinquish their lead and allow the Scots to level it up. It was a somewhat unusual sight for the Vikings to see three players sat on the bench together at that point, the two suspensions adding to the relative luxury of having a substitute available for only the second time this season.

The tension was eventually relieved as King squeezed one in from the acutest of angles on the right and Rašpolić broke through the EK82 defence line again for her sixth of the match. Left-winger Caroline Bergum then added the gloss with a trademark lob over the keeper, before captain Christke-Lamb also fired in from the left side to wrap up the 23-19 win.

Head coach Goulty reflected on “an interesting second half”, adding “We like to make it exciting and difficult for ourselves sometimes! But we stayed ahead and that’s all credit to the girls”.

With Edinburgh sewing up the league title undefeated once again, Newcastle’s ladies face second-placed Tryst again in the Scottish league cup semi-final next month. In the meantime, the focus returns to the Vikings’ men whose stop-start Scottish Development League season gets back into action when they host EK82 and then travel to Tryst in early April.

Newcastle Vikings: Sophie O’Sullivan (GK), Nadine Waehning (3 goals), Andrea Rašpolić (6), Oliwia Szymkowiak (5), Caroline Bergum (1), Sandra Christke-Lamb (2), Marlen Slinning Goulty (4), Andrea King (2).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.