Opponents: Portsmouth Competition: National League Division 1 Date: Saturday 1st December 2001 Venue: Bacon's College, Rotherhithe Result: 3-0 Win (25-18, 30-28, 25-20)
Docklands extended their unbeaten run in NVL Division 1 this weekend with a shock 3-0 defeat of second placed side Portsmouth. The victory was especially rewarding for the London side as it avenged the loss against the same team in last year's Cup semi final.
Whether Portsmouth were guilty of complacency, believing they were in for an easy ride, or whether Docklands were just supremely motivated, the first set was a very one-sided affair. Docklands were straight out of the blocks and powered to a 12-6 lead, primarily courtesy of a superb run of jump serves from captain Danny Primus. Docklands motored on and kept the lid on the visitors' efforts to establish themselves in the match. Docklands were oozing confidence and Portsmouth could do nothing to prevent the home side from taking the first set in record time, 25-18.
Portsmouth had certainly suffered a shock in the first set, but in the second they came out ready to prove that they were worthy of their second place standing in the league. Key player Marcus Russell, at 6'10" by far the tallest player on the court, led the way and managed to earn the visitors a six-point lead early on. Docklands' coach Ian Legrand called a time out to refocus his team and refocus they did. Confident in their ability to come and take the set from behind, Docklands patiently worked their way into contention. Tactical serving removed the potent threat of Russell, and point-by-point Docklands gained ground until the scores stood at 21-21. There followed a stalemate as neither side could obtain the clear two-point difference needed to take the set. In a nail-biting climax, amid big hits and blocks from Albrecht Glitz, Ricardo van Engeland and Primus, Docklands stole the set 30-28.
Docklands now clearly knew they could win the match, and Portsmouth could sense that they were in big trouble. Despite Portsmouth establishing an early four-point lead in the third set, Docklands never looked concerned. Playing with confidence and energy, Docklands rarely looked in trouble as they cruised into the lead and to victory, taking the set at the first opportunity, 25-20.
without doubt Docklands performance of the season, with many players,
especially Primus, hitting their top form in this match. Although
Docklands looked as though they were in the mood to party after the match,
they will have to get back down to work next week to prepare for their
double header against Aquila next weekend. They play their local London
rivals twice - on Saturday away in the league and on Sunday at home in