Opponents: Loughborough Students & Sheffield Competition: National League Division 2 Dates: Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd December 2000 Venues: Loughborough & Sheffield Result Loughborough: 3-1 Win (25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 25-13) Result Sheffield: 3-1 Win (25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14) Headline: Can anyone stop Docklands?
London Docklands continued their perfect start to the volleyball season last weekend by reaching the Christmas break unbeaten in eight games and with a five-point cushion over the chasing clubs in Division 2 of the National League.
Last weekend was crucial for the London club. With away matches against Loughborough, in fifth, and Sheffield, in second, Docklands could have been feeling very different this Yuletide season. But, yet again they showed that they are well capable of backing up their skilful slight of hand with impressive strength of mind.
Saturday's game against Loughborough Students would not be easy. With the boastful arrogance that accompanies any Loughborough sports team, the home side had convinced themselves that they could compete with London Docklands and they did for two sets deserving a share of the game at one set all. But then, with the acceleration of a Porsche, Docklands stepped up a gear and moved away from Loughborough who could not respond.
Docklands, however, did not play at their best until the final set. Ned "Walrus" Groy, Docklands' powerhouse outside hitter, acting captain for the day, gave his best performance of the season so far to lead the team to a 25-13 fourth set victory. Of his performance, Groy said, "I enjoyed teaching the students a lesson!"
Sunday's game not only had the tension of being a "six-pointer" but had the added spice of Docklands coach Ian Legrand piping the Sheffield coach to a place in the England Senior Men's coaching set up earlier in the week. Sheffield had not lost since the opening day of the season and looked good value when they leveled the match at one set each and 16-16 in the third set forcing coach Legrand into calling a time-out.
That was the turning point. For a third and final time in that set Docklands pulled away and in the fourth nobody could stop Docklands outside hitter Alexis Blair who led the team to a 25-14 mauling of the team that are Docklands' nearest challengers in the league.
Docklands season is on hold now until January 20th. Then they will aim to pick up where they've left off and power through the season remaining unbeaten. Can the Division find anyone good enough to stop them?