Vikings victory seals second place in league!

Newcastle Vikings’ ladies secured second place in the Scottish Handball League with a spirited 25-17 home victory over Tryst 77 on Saturday.

The Vikings went into this crucial final league match of the season at the Benfield Centre for Sporting Excellence knowing that they needed to win to seal the runners-up position behind undefeated league champions Edinburgh, with both Tryst and Troon sitting just behind them and still having a game in hand to play.

And despite right-half Alina Inta’s opening goal, it was the Cumbernauld-based Scots who took the early advantage with three quick goals in reply. But strikes from centre Marlen Slinning Goulty and left-half Alexandra Inta soon put the Vikings back on level terms.

Further first-half goals then came courtesy of another three from Alina Inta, two apiece from left-winger Mathilde Bergestad and Sandra Christke-Lamb from the line position. Goulty added her second and Jessica Stanley scored her first league goal for the club breaking through from the right-hand side, while the team was backed up by a string of good saves from goalkeeper Andrea King as Newcastle went into half-time with a 12-8 lead.

However, Tryst once again came out the stronger after the break, finding the gaps in the home side’s defence for four unanswered goals as they quickly clawed their way back to level the scoreline, and leave the Vikings somewhat frustrated and thinking back to their pre-Christmas encounter when the Scots scored a last-minute equaliser to deny Newcastle an away win.

Christke-Lamb’s treble and a Stanley penalty nevertheless got Newcastle going again in a period when the match could have gone either way. The Vikings regrouped, regained their composure and gradually edged ahead, but this time it proved to be decisive and, despite an impressive 13-goal haul from Tryst’s Lucile Govan, the Scots were unable to keep in touch.

Alex Inta added four more goals to her tally, including two penalties, with mum Alina also scoring her fifth of the game, while right-winger Josy Magalhaes netted a debut goal. Newcastle’s player-of-the-match King marked her club record 75th consecutive league and cup match with a late penalty save, before player-coach Goulty’s treble rounded off the 25-17 win to the delight of her team.

With Edinburgh having to forfeit the scheduled men’s league match, and thereby gifting the Vikings their first Scottish league points of a tough season, the women’s league match was followed by a men’s friendly game between Newcastle and Durham University. The visitors had the better of much of the game, opening up a five-goal cushion into the second half, but the Vikings kept fighting and battled their way back to eventually level it at 27-27 in the latter stages. The teams then traded goals through the closing minutes, with Newcastle going back in front into the last minute. However, they were unable to hold on as Durham snatched a late equaliser for an entertaining 31-31 draw.

The Vikings men face East Kilbride’s EK82 in their final league game of the season next weekend.

Newcastle Vikings women: Andrea King (GK), Marlen Slinning Goulty (5 goals), Mathilde Bergestad (2), Jessica Stanley (2), Josephine Magalhaes (1), Sophie Granville, Alexandra Inta (5), Alina Inta (5), Sandra Christke-Lamb (5). Unused substitutes: Caroline Bergum (GK), Judyta Turulska.

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