Superb Docklands show plenty of steel

NATIONAL DIVISION ONE Docklands 3 Sheffield 0 Docklands produced an emphatic win against the current league and cup champions Sheffield on Saturday. The 3-0 victory was even more impressive given the fact that this was only Sheffield s second defeat in th

NATIONAL DIVISION ONE

Docklands 3 Sheffield 0

Docklands produced an emphatic win against the current league and cup champions Sheffield on Saturday.

The 3-0 victory was even more impressive given the fact that this was only Sheffield's second defeat in the league for 18 months.

Docklands' performance was driven by debutant Daniele Di Bella as he linked well with all his hitters, especially fellow Italian Riccardo Senatore.

Senatore was part of a dominant Docklands' outside attack, with Mohammed Sliti and Raf D�rr also in unstoppable form.

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Strong serving and disciplined attacking play by Docklands had put huge pressure on Sheffield's young side and they couldn't do anything to prevent a 25-15 first set loss.

Docklands coach Andy Hopper kept faith with his first six, but demanded that they didn't let the high standards of the first set slip.

Thankfully for the home crowd, Docklands maintained their performance and helped by aces from Sliti and Senatore, they took a 15-9 lead in the second set.

Sheffield weren't going down without a fight though and kills by Callum Green dragged his side back into the set.

Docklands started to show their fighting spirit and after two dramatic pick ups by libero Matteo Cottignoli, they led 20-14.

Blocks by Sliti and Boris Halatchev maintained their lead and a a powerful second touch kill by Di Bella sealed the set at 25-22.

Sheffield had not lost a league fixture 3-0 since October 2007, but Docklands continued to pile the pressure on Sheffield's passing unit.

Although the visitors kept tabs on Docklands until 8-8, a kill by Senatore and a block and ace by D�rr took Docklands three points up.

Sheffield hit back to lead 17-16, but Halatchev forced the ball through the Sheffield block and a thunderous kill by D�rr seemed to knock the confidence out of the visitors.

Although Sheffield rediscovered their sideout game, Sliti and D�rr kept on responding and it was left to Sliti to produce the final blow as Docklands ran out winners 25-21.

Afterwards, Hopper said: "I couldn't have asked for much more from the players.

"They executed our gameplan magnificently and really stood up to the challenge of playing the league champions. Our main challenge now is maintain this level for the rest of the season."

The win lifted Docklands up to second in the table.

They face newly-promoted Middlesbrough College in the first leg of a tough away double-header in two weeks time - the second match on the Sunday is the return fixture against Sheffield.

Docklands: D�rr, Halatchev, Senatore, Blake, Sliti, Di Bella, Cottignoli.

*LYNX proved how strong their squad is when nine of their team made up the Great Britain 12 which took part in the European Championships.

The Tower Hamlets-based club had five of the six starting players in the historic win over Greece in Poland and it was GB's first competitive victory since the programme was resurrected in 2007.

Lynx were to suffer a 3-1 defeat in their opening National One encounter against Malory Eagles.

They turned in a much better performance in their second match, as they defeated Newcastle Staffs 3-1 at home.

Strong defending efficiently converted to points, as they finished off Staffs in four sets.

Last weekend, the team travelled to Bristol and with a depleted squad, picked up an excellent 3-1 win.

Featuring only six players and without any substitutes, they missed easy shots and failed to defend effectively in a first-set defeat.

The second set was all one-way traffic, with Lynx winning 25-16 and they took the third and fourth sets to win their second match this season.

The Division Two men beat Division Three Tendering in the NVL Cup last weekend to set up a tie with Warwick Riga in a fortnight.

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