Other 2004/05 reports

Competition: Whitefield Tournament, Men's Premier Division
Date: Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th July 2005
Venue: Bath
Final Result: 3-2 Win against Manitoba (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 18-25, 15-13)
Headline: Docklands make it three in a row
Author: Andy Hopper


London Docklands Volleyball completed a hat-trick of wins in the Men's Premier division of the prestigious Whitefield tournament. A man of the match performance from Albrecht Glitz, playing in his first Docklands match since last year's Whitefield final, helped seal a dramatic win over Canadian province team Manitoba.

The weekend began with two relatively easy pool victories against National League opponents Newcastle Staffs and Aquila Lynx. The later was particularly pleasing for Docklands as the Aquila side contained ex-Docklands player Yassir Sliti who had opted to play for one of Docklands' rivals instead of returning to his old club. Docklands third pool match saw them face Manitoba for the first time in the tournament. However, this was the third match between the two sides in less than seven days as Docklands had already played the Canadian side in two friendlies. The provincial side are in the middle of their preparations for the Canada Summer Games in August and their ten day tour of England was a key part of their programme. Although their squad is made up of 18 and 19 year olds they are still a very strong and closely-knit side that has clearly benefited from training together five times a week since April.

In the two previous encounters Manitoba had beaten Docklands in close matches. However, the Docklands side that faced Manitoba in Bath now contained Glitz and another returning Docklands star, England international Danny Weemes. Their combined fire power and a solid team performance saw Docklands dominate the visitors in the London side's best performance of the weekend. This victory gave Docklands the pool win they had aimed for which should guarantee an easier semi final on Sunday. Docklands won their remaining pool match against Sheffield - a side which contained several guest players from the semi-professional Swedish league.

Sunday morning saw Docklands take on the England Juniors in the second semi final after Manitoba had despatched English league and cup champions London Malory 2-1 in the first semi. Although the England Juniors side contains a number of potential stars of the future they could not cope with the power and experience of the Docklands team. Docklands were able to open up commanding leads at the start of each set and completed a comfortable 2-0 win in less than 40 minutes.

After Danny Primus' women's team, Team DR, had quickly beaten London Malory in the ladies final, Docklands prepared to take on Manitoba for the fourth time in a week. In front of a crowd of around 300 people Docklands set about dominating the young Canadian side. Mohammed Sliti and Glitz were consistently finding their way past the Manitoba block and service pressure from Andy Vincett helped Docklands take a 17-11 lead in the first set. Although the Canadians fought their way back with some impressive blocking and service pressure of their own, Docklands took the first set 25-22.

The second set was a much tighter affair and Docklands were forced to take a time out 14-15 down after three straight points had gone Manitoba's way. But this delay was not enough to disrupt the visitor's momentum and Docklands took their final time out facing defeat at 21-23 down. After a sideout by Weemes it was Glitz's turn to serve and he, as he has done so many times in the past, produced a string of unreturnable jump serves to help snatch the set 25-23 for Docklands.

However, Manitoba took confidence from their second set display and with the Docklands players feeling the strain after a long weekend the young Canadians took the game to the current Whitefield champions. Docklands had no answer for Manitoba's attacking play and Docklands' passing unit experienced a severe drop in confidence. Manitoba deservedly took the match into a deciding fifth set with 25-20 and 25-18 set wins.

At the start of the fifth set, Vincett got his side off to the best possible start with two service aces. However, even after Glitz helped add another two service points, Manitoba forced their way back so that Docklands' lead was only one point as the teams changed ends at 8-7. The match remained nip and tuck as both sides displayed their power and skill in front of an appreciative crowd. The crucial point came when a deceptive float serve by Boris Halatchev caused confusion and a subsequent hitting error from Manitoba saw Docklands go 14-12 up. Although Manitoba saved the first match point, Docklands held their nerve as a back court attack from Glitz sealed their third successive Whitefield title.

Back to top