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NVL Super 8 : Malory men overcome Docklands
Posted by Media Team on 2019/3/4 10:30:00 (92 reads)

London games (Men's and women’s National Volleyball League)
Lionhearts are women's third division champions
Saturday's matches of the day were London v London when the men of Malory Eagles played Richmond Docklands for bragging rights, temporary perhaps as they meet again on 16th March in Kingston, in the lower section of their Super League and their women's side took on Orcas with third place on offer if they could win and repeat the feat away in a fortnight's time.

They started in determined mood and Orcas looked stunned as the opening set slipped rapidly away. Thereafter, they played well and the knowledgeable crowd enjoyed an exciting finish as Malory shaded the next two sets. Orcas currently have a game in hand and are but a point behind so may be ahead when they face each other again at Caius House as they play Wessex at home on 9th March. The women's Super League still has lots of life in it.

The men followed them onto court and justified even more the Match of the Day accolade. Richmond Docklands shaded a very tight opening set and then went two ahead after a second that was scarcely less competitive. Malory's coach Ian Legrand changed his side's formation to get the better of Docklands in the two following sets although Docklands remained competitive and then Malory proved the stronger in the deciding set.

Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University took London Aces to four sets in Cambridge but the win lifts Aces to fourth in men's Division One. With a game in hand over Leeds RGA in second place and just a single point behind, they are looking destined for a third place finish at the end of the season.

Leaders, unbeaten University of Nottingham duly overcame London Inter in Women's Division One but Inter belied their eighth place in an excellent performance which very nearly earned them the third set and the chance to challenge further. They lie just a point behind City of Salford in the league table and have a game in hand. The two teams are down to meet in London on 9th April. It should be some game.

Richmond faced top of the table, Oxford at Kingston College Arena in Division Two. Both teams had lost only twice and Oxford were top of table having played two games more. It looks as though the position gave them confidence for they did not look troubled during the first two sets but Richmond then produced their best form and will feel disappointed that they failed to win the third set which ended 24:26 and prolong the match.

The big match on Sunday was at St Benedict's in the Women's Super League where Polonia Sideout consolidated their hold on third place in the second tier by beating Birmingham in a competitive match in which the visitors won the third set albeit by just two points.

Ashcombe's surprise defeat by Bristol in Division Two on Saturday encouraged both sides:. Dartford in second place and Reading in fourth. Each had a very similar record, the latter three points behind with a game in hand and they provided a thrilling match with a nail-biting finish as Dartford shaded the fifth set 15:13. Richmond are now their only threat for second position.

Lionhearts maintained their unbeaten record in Division Three by overcoming Ashcombe 2 and Sussex in Dorking. The wins mean not only that they keep their unbeaten record but also that, with two games still to play, we all know they will be divisional champions.

Richmond keep on winning in men's Division Two, this week against Cheltenham who gave them a bit of a fright in a competitive first set before fading rather badly. With games in hand over leaders, City of Bristol, they are still in a position to top the league table. They meet in Kingston in the closing match of the season on 13th April. We can expect a crowd to match the club's Super League team's following.

After beating Wiltshire in Division Three, Dartford slipped up against arch-rivals Urbond Portsmouth in a tense five set game. There was then some relief when Wiltshire beat the Portsmouth side, also in five sets. The results keep the south-east London side within two points of Portsmouth with two games still to play. Weymouth Beach are assured of the title and, with two games in hand, Guildford seem to have secured second place. The battle for third continues.

Super League
Malory Eagles beat Orcas, 25:10 25:22 25:23
Division One
University of Nottingham beat Inter, 25:10 25:16 25:14
Division Two
Richmond lost to Oxford, 17:25 17:25 24:26

Super League
Malory Eagles beat Richmond Docklands, 26:28 22:25 25:21 25:20 15:9
Division One
Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University lost to Aces, 20:25 16:25 25:21 22:25

Super League
Polonia Sideout beat Birmingham, 25:19 25:16 23:25 25:20
Division Two
Dartford beat Reading, 25:14 25:16 22:25 25:27 15:13
Division Three
Ashcombe lost to Lionhearts, 14:25 19:25 18:25
Sussex Dolphins lost to Lionhearts, 14:25 15:25 11:25
Division Two
Richmond beat Cheltenham, 26:24 25:11 25:12,
Division Three
Wiltshire lost to Dartford, 17:25 25:22 22:25 20:25
Urbond Portsmouth beat Dartford, 25:18 15:25 20:25 27:25 15:7

Dartford Technology College, Ernest Bevin College, Kingston College Arena, St Benedict's School, 2/3rd March.

From the side-lines
Richmond Docklands let a 0:2 lead slip against old rivals Malory Eagles and couldn’t recover to avoid a tough five-set loss. It was the 44th Docklands/Malory clash, a tie that dates back to 1996. Richmond Docklands don’t have long to wait for number 45 with a chance for revenge in two weeks time on 16th March at Kingston College Arena. The match will also be Docklands’ 500th competitive fixture.
Coach Andy Hopper said after the match, “We played some great stuff in the first two sets and showed some real fighting spirit. We didn’t give up in the first set and stunned Malory to take the set. We then kept our momentum and there was always only going to be one winner in set two. It’s disappointing we couldn’t finish off the job but Malory made some subtle changes and we didn’t have the resources to make our own adjustments. I’m confident with a full squad in two weeks time we can turn it around”.
At 0:2 down, ex-Docklands coach Ian Legrand made the bold decision to switch Corey Pieper from the opposite slot to outside hitter and mixed up his middles. Richmond Docklands failed to adapt and the extra energy on the Malory side of the net propelled the home side into a dominant 8:2 lead. Despite closing the gap Richmond had left themselves too much to do and Malory took set three 25:21. It was now Malory’s turn to maintain their momentum and led for most of set four to claim it 25:20.
Richmond Docklands made a disastrous start in the fifth set shoot-out, going behind 4:0. Again the visitors left themselves too much to do and eventually went down 15:9.
Despite the loss, Richmond Docklands remain top of the bottom half of the Super League and a win against Malory in two weeks would put them in control of the race for sixth place.
Black Knight: Dan Westphal
Docklands MVP: Panos Karagiannis
Malory MVP: Matt Butler

On Sunday our NVL2 side hosted Cheltenham and after a tight first set (26:24) they came out comfortable 3:0 winners (sets 2/3 25:11 and 25:12).
Andy Hopper

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton

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