London Docklands suffer derby defeat

London Docklands narrowly lost to their oldest rivals Malory at the weekend in a crucial top of the table clash

London Docklands narrowly lost to their oldest rivals Malory at the weekend in a crucial top of the table clash.

The critical phase of the match began when Docklands went 22-14 up in the second set and were seemingly on the way to a comfortable win to tie the match at one set all.

With both Mohammed Sliti and Wayne Davies scoring freely at the net it looked as though Docklands had recovered from their slow start which saw them succumb 25-15 in the first set. . Set two was a different matter entirely with Docklands matching the visitors point for point until three kills in row saw them go 14-11 up.

However, a Pinter hit off the block took him back to serve at 22-15 down, then Docklands' game imploded. A mixture of Docklands' errors and good Malory play saw the set turn on its head.

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In the end Sliti produced a cross court winner but that only tied the scores at 23-23 and the momentum was clearly all with Malory. Their setter Richard Dobell was consistently returning to Richardson and he kept on producing the goods. Docklands saved one set point but couldn't stop the almost evitable to gift the set 26-24 to Malory.

Docklands came out fighting at the start of set three with a Blair block on Mark Brown and an ace by Boris Halatchev helping them take 4-0 lead. But some clever hitting by Darius Setsoafia saw Malory quickly back into the set. Docklands managed to keep within touching distance of Malory but small errors began to creep into their game and Malory took full advantage to lead 21-15. Docklands threatened to repeat Malory's feat from the previous set when a run of Sliti serves helped narrow the gap at 22-20 but a concentration lapse after Malory's subsequent time out gave them breathing space and they closed out the set 25-21.

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Indeed, Docklands have another London derby next Saturday against Polonia Ealing.

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