Opponents: Warwick Riga Competition: National League Division 1 Date: Saturday 14th December 2002 Venue: St Nicholas Park LC, Warwick Result: 3-1 Win (25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 25-14) Headline: Christmas Cheer For Docklands
Docklands continued their pressure on league champions Malory on Saturday, with a 3-1 win away to last year's third placed team Warwick Riga.
Docklands looked as though they were going to play the perfect match in the first set as they powered into an impressive early lead. Precision passing allowed setter Artur Kwiecinski to use all his attacking options and the hitters were in no mood to show mercy. Winning points at almost every offence, Docklands dominated the opposition with powerful shots and imposing blocking. Nathan Lang and Jesse Kaptein in particular, starting this time for Mike Lams and Martin Blake, did not disappoint, and put far more pressure on Riga's block and defence system than it could bear.
Docklands were not to play the perfect match, however, and the second set produced the slip up that has been the unfortunate aspect of their match play this season. Concentration flagged, passing accuracy and service pressure fell away and Docklands slipped behind. Although Riga never managed to pull too far ahead, they eked out a lead that Docklands could not make up. Dubious line calls (for both sides) affected the London team more as they tried to dig deeper, and fittingly it was a wide ball called in that handed the set to Riga.
In the third and fourth sets normal service was resumed. Danny Weemes dismayed Riga with some quite outstanding hitting, Blake further confounded them with the most towering blocks seen so far in the league this season and, in addition, the defensive line began to look impregnable. But it was an unbeaten run of eleven jump serves in the final set from last year's player of the season, Albrecht Glitz that finally broke the Riga resistance.
Legrand was upbeat after the match. "It was a good result today
and I'm happy. We are well clear in second position in the league and
we have a strong squad, which I can rotate effectively. Now we have to
look forward to the New Year - we want to put together a good cup run
and if we can keep the pressure on in the league, perhaps the game at
the end of the season with Malory will mean something after all!"