Docklands finally go the distance

NATIONAL ONE Polonia 2 Docklands 3 Docklands began their National League season with a rare five-set win against rivals Polonia at the weekend. It hasn t been since the first match of last season that Docklands could boast such a feat and captain Alexis

NATIONAL ONE

Polonia 2 Docklands 3

Docklands began their National League season with a rare five-set win against rivals Polonia at the weekend.

It hasn't been since the first match of last season that Docklands could boast such a feat and captain Alexis Blair summed up the mood in the camp.


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"We showed great fighting spirit and in the end deserved our win," he said.

"To come back from 2-1 down and win in five sets was a great achievement and something I hope we can build on for the rest of the season."

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This season's opener also saw the debut of French setter Alex Chevau, and his linkage with Docklands' key hitters, especially Wayne Davies and Blair was was a key part of the victory.

With Docklands head coach Ian Legrand on international duty with the Great Britain Paralympic Volleyball squad, Andy Hopper took charge and gave further debuts to Matteo Cottignoli and Slawomir Omylski.

It was a service run by Omylski that broke the deadlock in set one, helping Docklands take a 17-13 lead.

Varied attacking play by Raf D�rr and Blair kept Polonia guessing as an unusually subdued home side succumbed 25-16.

The second set followed a similar pattern with neither side able to gain an advantage until sloppy play by Docklands gave Polonia a 25-19 second set win.

Docklands were the first to make a break in set three with a Chevau service run applying pressure and some clinical blocking by Davies and Martin Blake taking Docklands 17-13 ahead.

However, Polonia got themselves back into the set, tying the scores at 21-21.

The sides traded points until 24-24, when a Docklands service error gifted Polonia their second set point and they converted it for a 2-1 lead.

In set four, Docklands started to show some true fighting spirit and ensured Polonia's lead did not exceed two points.

Service runs by another debutant, Tsvetelin Yakov, and Blake kept the pressure on Polonia and they started to make more mistakes.

Two handling faults gave Docklands a 24-22 lead and they took the set at the second attempt with the help of a service error.

Docklands started the deciding fifth set aggressively, racing into an 8-5 lead.

A run of deceptive serves by Blake underpinned Docklands dominance as they stormed into an unassailable lead.

Finally a thunderous serve by D�rr nearly knocked Polonia's libero off the court and the resulting free ball was fittingly dispatched by Davies, who richly deserved his Docklands' man of the match award.

Docklands face another tough away fixture next weekend with a trip to Warwick Riga.

Docklands: D�rr, Davies, Omylski, Senatore, Blake, Chevau, Sliti M, Blair, Yakov, Cottignoli (Libero).

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