Opponents: Malory Eagles Competition: Super8s Date: Saturday 18th October 2014 Venue: Haverstock School Result: W 3-1 (25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-21) Headline: Docklands secure vital first victory Author: Andy Hopper
London Docklands secured their first Super8s victory of the season with a win over old rivals Malory Eagles. Docklands have played Malory more than any other team and over the 33 fixtures, Malory were ahead 24-9. Docklands' last victory in this tie was in the 2007 KO Cup final and until this weekend Malory had won the last eight matches. However, with Docklands in the second tier for three seasons the last game between these two sides was in December 2010.
Notwithstanding the long running rivalry this fixture was given extra spice with two Malory players transferring over to Docklands in the summer. Kieran O'Malley and Mathieu Ras both seemed to relish facing their former team and helped lift Docklands to victory. Malory were without Toby French after he sustained an ankle injury in their loss to Polonia six days previously but English youngster Cameron Carrington was a more than capable replacement and was a constant threat for Malory at the net.
Docklands started the match in a rush and quickly established a lead which they sustained until the second technical time-out, 16-11 ahead. However, Malory won four of the next five points to close the gap and force Docklands' coach Ercüment Karakoç to call his first time-out. Docklands managed to stem the flow of Malory points and with Raul Sanchez Galan showing off his array of shots, the home side took control again. A run of five O'Malley serves kept the pressure on Malory and they buckled as Docklands took the set 25-19.
Malory veteran Alex Bialokoz applied subtle service pressure at the start of the second set to help his side into a 3-0 lead. But Docklands quickly recovered to take the lead at 8-7. For Docklands only libero Matteo Cottignoli had experienced a Docklands-Malory match before but his team-mates soon picked up the meaning of the tie and opened up a five-point lead to take the set away from Malory. In the end an ace by O'Malley sealed a 25-18 second set win for Docklands.
Docklands allowed their level to drop at the start of set three and Malory took full advantage. Malory led 17-12 and Docklands were chasing the game from then on in. Despite a late rally by Docklands which saw them get to within three points, Malory took the set 25-21 with a Carrington kill.
With the prospect of a deciding set, Docklands' home supporters tried to lift their team and Karakoç's men responded with a battling display. Unlike the first three sets neither side was able to generate a meaningful lead until Docklands edged ahead 17-14 after the second technical time-out. Docklands managed to restrict Malory to just sideout points and engineered a couple of crucial points on their own serve, Andrew Pink scoring two quick points to give his side a useful cushion. It was left to O'Malley and Yavor Popov to block the final point and seal a 25-21 fourth set win.
Afterwards, Karakoç commented, "That was a massive win for us. We played well but are still improving and can get a lot better. Everyone played their part today but the way O'Malley controlled the game he gave Malory no chance".
now have a weekend off before the battle of the champions takes place
at Haverstock School - Sheffield, the current Super8s champions against
Div 1 title holders Docklands.
Black Knight: Kieran O'Malley
Docklands MVP: Raul Sanchez Galan
Malory MVP: Cameron Carrington