Docklands strike twice

LONDON Docklands Volleyball made sure of a top-half finish in National League Division One last weekend following impressive wins over Cambridge and Newcastle. The pair of victories lifted the club into fourth position with one match remaining and the re

LONDON Docklands Volleyball made sure of a top-half finish in National League Division One last weekend following impressive wins over Cambridge and Newcastle.

The pair of victories lifted the club into fourth position with one match remaining and the reigning champions will have a say in this season's title when they face leaders London Malory on Saturday.

Docklands first triumph of the weekend came at a price for opponents Cambridge, whose four-year stay in the top flight came to an end with the defeat.

Cambridge needed a win to have any chance of pulling clear of the relegation zone, and began in determined mood by taking the opening set 24-26.


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Docklands hit back in the second set and an ace by Alex Gaitan saw Docklands take an insurmountable lead on the way to a 25-16 second-set win.

Cambridge battled back to take a 13-15 lead in the third set, but a kill by Nathan French and a Danny Primus block inspired a 25-20 Docklands triumph.

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Docklands took command of a tight fourth set after a service run by Adam Phillips and Primus served out for a 25-15 win that sealed the match.

The outcome saw Docklands climb into the top four and they consolidated that position with a defeat of Newcastle the following day.

Visitors Newcastle started confidently and powered their way into a 19-25 opening set win, but impressive defence from libero Alexis Blair allowed Docklands to level the match in the second set.

Docklands took the third set 25-20 following a run of deceptive serves from Phillips and a kill by Thummert, but Newcastle responded by snatching a 25-27 fourth-set triumph.

Newcastle took an early lead in the decisive fifth set, but another series of awkward serves by Phillips led to consecutive kills by Gaitain, and Francesco Riginelli hit off a despairing block to seal a thrilling five-set win.

"It wasn't always pretty volleyball but we fought well when it mattered and showed some great spirit to come through both matches," said Docklands coach Ian Legrand.

"We now owe it to ourselves and the league to give Malory a run for their money next weekend.

"They have done it to us enough times in the past and it would be good to spoil their party.

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