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NVL Super 8 : Malory, five set marvels
Posted by Douglas Barr-Hamilton on 2017/12/3 12:30:00 (35 reads)

London matches (Men's and women’s Super8 - National Volleyball League)
IBB Polonia sink again
Three of Malory Eagles' four wins in Super8 matches so far this season have now come in five set matches. The latest came while inflicting IBB Polonia's second five-set loss and it was an exciting clash as they came back from two sets to one down.

Perhaps the turning point was actually the narrow loss of the third set. It was probably the most enthralling of the match with neither side feeling they should have lost it. So it was that Malory embarked on the fourth and fifth sets with remarkable determination, not least on the part of Mihael Stoev, really enjoying attacking against the team he played for last season, and Malory stamped their authority on the afternoon.
Although the game was entertaining and exciting, it is difficult to say the same of the overall quality of play which was often quite poor with very many unforced errors. Equally disappointing was the size of the crowd: tiny at around 50 and interestingly, including quite a number of old players. Old players too officiating in Brendan Fogarty, first official and Jefferson Williams, Malory's coach. The afternoon was brought to life by one amusing incident when the match ball managed to balance itself on top of a curtain rail - not jammed, balanced! All that said, there was also promising evidence of a brighter future; many of the players of both teams are young. The average age of the Polonia side is 22 and Eagles played a 17-year old in Sam Marsh.
Polonia's coach, Piotr Graban, was reasonably satisfied, therefore. Afterwards he said he thought the team had played well on finishing a large number of strong attacks but making too many errors and, despite leading 2:1, could not close out the match. He added that they are training hard to eliminate such errors but it takes time and experience. He also acknowledged the impact of Mihail Stoev: the toughest issue to deal with, recognising that he played very well for their opponents.
The Super 8 league continues soon, but at two "away" fixtures. This coming Saturday Piotr Graban and his players take on London Lynx. The game will be played at University of East London (E16 2RD) from 5.15PM. On 16th December IBB Polonia looks to take revenge against Malory Eagles in the last match of 2017.
Polonia clearly missed their usual sizable support. We encourage it to return. Malory are now second in table. They deserve a much bigger following.

Lynx had lost their first match of the season 15:17 in the fifth set against Malory Eagles. They had lost their second 14:16 in the fifth against Richmond Docklands. Could they do better in Wessex? Alas, no. After winning the first set before losing the second by a very similar score, they were shaded by the home side 25:22 and 26:24 to lose in four. Sadly, in sport, nearly or even very nearly is not good enough. They take on IBB Polonia at home at SportsDock next Saturday (9th December). It will be make or break for both sides as they prepare for the second half of the season. Both would appreciate all their fans supporting them at the University of East London, certainly more than fifty.

Following Lynx's match, Wessex women took on Sideout Polonia and the home side looked inspired by their men's performance, taking the favoured side to 23:25. Polonia were able to show their true selves in a fairly one-sided second set before Wessex confidence returned and they made the Londoners battle for victory in the third.

The only other game in the Super8 competition this week-end was in Sheffield whose visitor was Essex Blaze, sixth and eighth respectively in the league table. Sheffield won convincingly to move above Polonia in the table.

Results
Saturday
Women
Wessex lost to Sideout Polonia, 23:25 12:25 22:25

Men
IBB Polonia lost to Malory Eagles, 20:25 25:19 25:23 18:25 12:25
Wessex beat London Lynx, 21:25 25:18 25:22 26:24

Brentford Fountains Leisure, Centre, 2nd December

With kind contributions from Charlie Orton and Katarzyna Strag

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