Vikings ladies beat EK82 in League Cup play-off

Newcastle Vikings Handball Club’s women’s team rounded off their Scottish season with a comprehensive 14-26 victory over East Kilbride club EK82 in the League Cup 3rd/4th-place play-off at Edinburgh’s Oriam Sports Performance Centre on Saturday.

Having beaten the Scots twice already in the league this season, the Vikings were hopeful of sealing third place in this end-of-season league cup competition to add to their third-place finish in the league. However, with several players unavailable again they were indebted to their new Norwegian signings from York Handball Club, Frida Eide and Andrea Haaland joining last weekend’s debutant Ingrid Tajet, to boost their line-up.

Eide and Andrea King had opened the Vikings’ scoring from the right-wing and left-half positions respectively, before right-half Haaland struck a hat-trick in a fairly even start to the match. However, Newcastle then switched to a 5-1 defensive formation with captain Sandra Christke-Lamb man-marking EK’s main back-court goalscoring threat Suzie Howat. That tactic, together with Eide switching to left-half, proved decisive and helped the Vikings to gradually edge ahead while stifling the opposition’s attacks. Both Eide and Haaland took their first-half tallies to four, while centre Marlen Slinning Goulty picked up a brace and line-player Christke-Lamb scored one as Newcastle went into the half-time break 7-12 ahead.

Player-coach Goulty scored again early in the second half, but later had to go off heavily dazed after blocking an EK shot, forcing a further change in formation with Haaland returning to the court despite sustaining an ankle injury in the first half. The Vikings characteristically battled on, maintaining their defensive solidity in front of goalkeeper Sophie O’Sullivan who made multiple good saves between the posts.

At the other end of the court, left-winger King scored two more, Christke-Lamb netted three breaking through from the back-court, and Caroline Bergum added her name to the scoresheet also moving in on the line from the right side to notch a brace. But it was player-of-the-match Eide who dominated with five more strikes to take her personal tally to nine, before Haaland rounded off the 14-26 win with her fifth of the match.

“Amazing girls, a new Vikings team again, and we did it” said Goulty after the game, alluding to their constantly changing line-up this season. “Proud of you all, and the amazing five throughout the season”, she added, referring to the core group of O’Sullivan, King, Christke-Lamb, Bergum and herself who have played every or nearly all of the games this season. With several student players set to leave, Newcastle Vikings will now be looking to recruit some more female players over the summer break ahead of next season’s campaign.

Newcastle Vikings: Sophie O’Sullivan (GK), Ingrid Melboe Tajet, Andrea Haaland (5 goals), Frida Eide (9), Caroline Bergum (2), Sandra Christke-Lamb (4), Marlen Slinning Goulty (3), Andrea King (3).

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