Hopper delighted as Docklands go second

London Docklands 3 Birmingham 0

Coach Andy Hopper praised the mental strength of his Docklands players after their dominant win at Bacon’s College.

After a week without a fixture the well-rested east Londoners stormed to their most comfortable victory of the season so far and subsequently climbed to second in the table.

And Hopper was full of admiration for his players’ ability to focus on the task in hand and get the job done against their struggling opponents.

“It was a good solid performance by the whole squad,” he said.

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“In these sorts of matches it’s key that you maintain your own level and we did that throughout.

“We need to do the same next weekend [against Nottingham Rockets] and keep taking it one game at a time.”

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Docklands gifted Birmingham – still searching for their first win of the season – the first two points in the opening set.

But the home side promptly stamped their authority on the game to rush into an 8-2 lead. Dominant blocking by Slawek Omlyski and Platon Vogiatzoglou left Birmingham with nowhere to go and the pressure forced more and more errors from the visitors.

The west midlanders failed to win another service point in the set, as Docklands cruised to a 25-8 win.

Raul Sanchez Galan came on to make his Docklands debut at the start of set two and his range and array of shots caused problems from the beginning.

Docklands captain Mark Baechli maintained the service pressure on a fragile Birmingham passing unit and his run of seven successful serves at the start of the set helped his side open up a 7-0 lead.

Birmingham did eventually register on the scoreboard, but the damage was already done. Omlyski got himself in on the serving act with three aces in a row to seal a 25-13 second-set win.

The visitors made more of a fight of it in set three and forced Hopper’s men to work hard for their victory.

Birmingham held on until the score reached 20-20, but a run of four serves by Baechli snuffed out any hope they had of taking the match into a fourth set as Docklands sealed a 25-20 and straight-sets win.

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