Senatore display helps net survival
National League Division ONE London Docklands 3 Reading 0 DOCKLANDS secured their National Division One status for the ninth year in a row with a confident 3-0 victory against Reading at the weekend. Even though Docklands will finish in their lowest pos
London Docklands 3 Reading 0
DOCKLANDS secured their National Division One status for the ninth year in a row with a confident 3-0 victory against Reading at the weekend.
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Even though Docklands will finish in their lowest position since 2000, they can look forward to another season in the top flight, while the loss condemned the visitors to relegation.
The home side were boosted by the return of man of the match Yassir Sliti, but were missing captain Alexis Blair, so Sliti slotted into Blair's position to partner his brother Mohammed on the outside.
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It was a Sliti treble (Mohammed two and Yassir one) that took Docklands ahead at the start of the first set, only for Tomek Swierczek to score three points of his own to sneak Reading into the lead at 7-6.
That proved to be the last time Reading would hold the lead in set one as Docklands took over.
Riccardo Senatore was proving that his man-of-the-match performance the previous week was no fluke, as a block and an ace helped build Docklands' commanding lead at 18-12.
Despite some valiant defence by Reading's libero Songnan Yang, Docklands cantered to a 25-19 first set win.
The home side were not taking Reading's threat lightly though and knew they needed to start well in set two.
With a rare ace by Martin Blake they had done just that to take a 5-3 lead, but points by Keith Paskins and Swierczek saw the visitors hit back to move 14-10 in front.
It's not unusual for Boris Halatchev to be Docklands' best blocker and he proved it with a strong performance at the net, as his block on Jones sparked a comeback.
A drop in concentration cost Docklands dearly though as they retook the lead to move 20-16 ahead.
Faced with the prospect of losing the second set, Docklands started to come together as a team.
Two quick points by Yassir Sliti gave the home side momentum and with Halatchev firing down his tricky float serves, the pressure was back on Reading and errors crept back into their game.
They still led 23-22, but a service error gifted Docklands a lifeline and a Reading hitting error in the next point gave the home side their first set point.
Swierczek saved two set points, only for the Sliti brothers to give Docklands more chances.
A Senatore smash caught the backline, and that was followed up by a Yassir Sliti kill to seal a 28-26 second set win.
From a 2-0 lead, Docklands took advantage with two more regular points from a Blake kill and Alex Gaitan block.
Docklands were playing with confidence whilst Reading became more and more frustrated.
Another service run by Halatchev stretched Docklands' lead to 16-8 and the game seemed over as despite a mini-recovery by Reading, Docklands were able to coast to a 25-18 third set win.
Docklands: Halatchev, Hitchcock, Senatore, Gaitan, Blake, M Sliti, Y Sliti, Mills.
Subs not used: Davies, Schaepertoens, Primus.