Docklands suffer quarter-final woe
NATIONAL KO CUP QUARTER-FINAL Polonia 3 Docklands 1 LONDON DOCKLANDS crashed out of the cup to local rivals Polonia after an entertaining, but ultimately frustrating quarter-final in Ealing on Saturday. Having lost the first set and recovered strongly, Do
NATIONAL KO CUP QUARTER-FINAL
Polonia 3 Docklands 1
LONDON DOCKLANDS crashed out of the cup to local rivals Polonia after an entertaining, but ultimately frustrating quarter-final in Ealing on Saturday.
Having lost the first set and recovered strongly, Docklands never quite got to grips with Polonia's strong serving and blocking to slip to a 3-1 defeat.
Polonia started the first set strongly at St Benedicts in Ealing and quickly built up a good lead thanks to some powerful hitting combined with Docklands' errors.
Some puzzling decisions from the officials didn't help, especially when the first referee took particular exception to coach Ian Legrand pointing out one of his more erratic decisions and issued him a yellow card.
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This spurred Docklands into a brief fight back, but they couldn't sustain the recovery and Polonia held on to a fairly comfortable 25-21 win in the first set.
The loss seemed to galvanise the visitors' efforts and a cohesive and varied attacking display saw them race ahead at the start of the second set.
More accurate passing allowed setter Daniele Di Bella to keep the Polonia blockers guessing, which Raf Durr, Mohammed Sliti and Wayne Davies used to their advantage to move Docklands to an unassailable lead on their way to closing out the set at 25-16.
The third set started with both teams trading points until Polonia went ahead 9-4, taking advantage of their height at the net in both defence and attack.
Docklands rallied briefly with strong blocking from Boris Halatchev, but consistent passing from the Saller brothers allowed Polonia's setter Jean-Philippe Le Sausse to run attacks, which left Docklands' block and defence struggling to keep up.
Despite promising to draw level on a couple of occasions, Docklands never quite managed it and Polonia gratefully finished the set off 25-21 with an ace from Andrzej Saller.
Legrand rang the changes at the start of the fourth set, bringing on Alexis Blair, Matt Butterworth and Andy Vincett.
However, the move only seemed to unsettle Docklands as they looked to get themselves back into the game, and a disastrous start saw them 8-1 down in a matter of minutes.
Coming back from this proved too great a task for the St Bacon's College club, who named Wayne Davies as man of the match, although they threatened briefly having pulled the score back to 13-15.
Ultimately, Polonia proved too strong with the Sallers passing well, which allowed Le Sausse the freedom to run all attacking options.
Polonia move on to face Sheffield in the semi-final while Docklands' next game, after a week off, sees them visit their closest rivals London Lynx in Bethnal Green.