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NVL Super 8 : One, two and four: London men set the pace
Posted by Media Team on 2019/11/4 10:40:00 (143 reads)

London teams' latest results (National Volleyball League)
Women's Super League thrown wide open
London's volleyball fans were spoilt for choice over the weekend with seven matches being played in the nation's capital city over the two days. What riches, especially at the end of the week when they had seen European Championship volleyball at the Copper Box Arena. The Super League men did not fail to reward them and finished the weekend occupying first, second and fourth places in the league table.

Curiously then, a loss would have pushed Malory Eagles into the bottom half of the table but, with home advantage in Tooting, they battled resolutely to thwart Durham's progress after their visitors had tied the game following the loss of the first two sets. The contest was close throughout, Malory started well to take the first set and in excellent play by both sides they took a two set lead before Durham showed great character to tie things at two sets all. Then Malory got on top and stayed there while supporters' nerves jangled throughout the final set.

There was a men's Super League derby match in Kingston when Richmond Docklands entertained IBB Polonia, The visiting side retained much of its European Championship form for a couple of sets but as Polonia relaxed Docklands stepped up their game in the third set to force the favourites to play a fourth in which they eventually overcame a determined opposition.
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Malory Eagles and Durham have a near-identical record in the women's Super League so far this season and, despite the long journey, Durham make the more confident start to win the opening set, looking determined to avenge their men's defeat earlier, taking it by seven points. After that, Malory raised their game and both teams played very well indeed but, to home fans' disappointment, the visitors shaded both sets two and three to go above them in the table with one fewer defeat so far.

Meanwhile in Battersea, Inter Orcas faced Tendring and, after an excellent opening set, faded rather badly to lose the next three by an ever increasing margin. Tendring went top of the table partly as a as a result but also because of Nottingham University's loss in four sets at home to Wessex, its first defeat of the season. With five of the nine teams in the division ending the day with a record showing a single loss and nobody undefeated, things could hardly be less predictable.

Six days after their men's Division One trip to Manchester and a win in four sets over a northern powerhouse, Aces found themselves required to travel to Leeds and failed to do so, forfeiting the match and the points..

There was a close game in men's Division Two when Richmond entertained Urbond Portsmouth and retained second place in the table by winning in four close sets. Portsmouth and Guildford remain in a position to take their place should they slip up in their next games, however.

Richmond's women's Division One team travelled to Leeds where there was a pulsating five set match. After winning the opening set, the Londoners lost the next two before battling back to force a fifth which they lost 15:12. The result means that Leeds leap-frog Richmond to go top of the table although, having played seven games to Richmond's four and with more losses than any team in the division, look likely quickly to be overtaken.

On Sunday Richmond Docklands were in action again in the men's Super League at home to Newcastle, Staffs, who they found an easier opponent than Polonia as they won in straight sets to climb to fourth in the table although Sheffield Hallam, with a game in hand, threaten the place.

Sunderland had lost to Tendring in three sets at home the previous day and, having overcome Durham at the same time, Malory Eagles began in determined mood to cement their arrival in the top half of the table. Having won the first set, however, their opponents found their form to level the scores and force Malory to produce their best in the third before a rather more comfortable fourth set victory propelled them towards the top of the table.

After winning away yesterday to their geographically nearest rivals, still unbeaten IBB Polonia had a fixture at home in Brentford against Wessex, who have yet to record a league victory. With arrival at the top of the table imminent, it was curious that Polonia struggled to dispatch their guests, losing the opening set and only dominating their opponents in the second.

There was one further Super League match involving a London team on Sunday with Polonia SideOut playing away against Bristol in the women's competition. Despite an apparent drop in form during the second set in Bristol, SideOut won comfortably in four sets to go fourth in the table but, as the first of four teams on six points, will be looking to keep up their form.

Dartford battled hard against Darkstar Derbyshire, actually scoring an identical number of points and striking back to win the third set after narrowly losing the first two only to fail to maintain their recovery in the fourth, losing it 20:25. They slip to seventh in the table with just one win in four matches.

In Southampton Baks, playing in men's Division Three, made a tremendous recovery from two sets down to tie the score and then narrowly to lose the deciding set 15:13. The division is looking a very close one with only London's Giants unbeaten but, with only two victories and those both 3:2, at least five teams, including Baks, are in a position to challenge for the leading positions.

Lionhearts travelled to Ipswich for their vital women's Division Two match, determined to maintain their unbeaten league record. They were made to work hard but had enough in reserve to win in straight sets without being seriously troubled. Way over to the west, their only unbeaten rival, Reading, was going down in three close sets to Wessex second team so, having won promotion at the end of last season after winning fourteen games from fourteen, Lionhearts are starting to aspire to repeating the achievement

Two matches in the women's Division Three triangular tournament in Kingston on top of the victory already recorded took Giants to the top of the table at this early stage of the season. Facing their hosts Richmond 2 first, Giants just managed to beat their London rivals, both the first and second sets going to 24:26 and the third being very nearly as close.

Giants found their next opponent, Urbond Portsmouth, quite a lot easier although they were made to work in the first set to establish their supremacy. However, having done that they won the second very comfortably and rather strolled through the third.

As might have been expected, Richmond 2 then overcame Urbond Portsmouth in three sets, a comfortable win although they relaxed rather as the game progressed through its third set, Early in the season, the team lies second behind Giants in the division.

Next week-end, attention turns to the knock-out competitions: National Cup and Shield and, for some, there will be longer journeys and tougher opponents although Inter Orcas second team will be travelling to play Hertfordshire in the women's National League first division.

Men's Super League
Malory Eagles beat Durham, 25:18 25:23 21:25 21:25 15:10
Richmond Docklands lost to IBB Polonia, 14:25 17:26 25:21 20:25

Women's Super League
Malory Eagles lost to Sunderland, 18:25 22:25 22:25
Inter Orcas lost to Tendring, 25:21 15:25 14:25 11:25

Men's Division One
Leeds beat Aces, 25:0 25:0 25:0

Men's Division Two
Richmond beat Urbond Portsmouth, 26:24 25:20 24:26 25:17

Women's Division One
Leeds beat Richmond, 19:25 25:21 25:22 16:25 15:12

Men's Super League
IBB Polonia beat Wessex, 23:25 25:13 25:21 25:22
Malory Eagles beat Sunderland, 25:14 21:25 25:22 25:18
Richmond Docklands beat Newcastle, Staffs, 25:11 25:18 25:17

Women's Super League
Bristol lost to Polonia Sideout, 19:25 25:23 12:25 21:25

Women's Division One
Dartford lost to Darkstar Derbyshire, 21:25 22:25 25:13 20:25

Men's Division Three
Southampton beat Baks, 18:25 18:25 25:18 25:18 15:13

Women's Division Two
Ipswich lost to Lionhearts, 19:25 20:25 18:25

Women's Division Three
Richmond 2 lost to Giants, 24:26 24:26 22:25
Giants beat Urbond Portsmouth, 25:19 25:9 25:11
Richmond 2 beat Urbond Portsmouth, 25:11 25:14 25:20

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton

Photographs, Elsa Meserlian

From the side lines

Richmond Docklands v IBB Polonia
The previous week was a demanding one for the players of IBB Polonia London. Following the Champions League match on Wednesday, the team had two evenings of trainings and two Super League matches. On Saturday, 2nd November, Richmond Docklands welcomed the English champions to their sports-hall, and on Sunday the team hosted visitors from Wessex.
The first match was successful, under the watchful eye of Vangelis Koutouleas, as his charges beat Richmond Docklands in four sets. The first two sets were total domination, but then followed two very messy sets of volleyball, with IBB Polonia London taking the match 1:3 (14:25; 17:25; 25:21; 20:25) which gave three very valuable points for the league table.
"Playing for Richmond Docklands were a number of players who used to play for us. It is always lovely to meet up with old friends and to send them home with their tails between their legs! Both teams wanted to win and showed appropriate respect towards each other. However there was only one winner. We took the match seriously and had to focus to complete the task," said Dominik Żmuda, second assistant coach for IBB Polonia London.
Katarzyna Strag
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IBB Polonia v Wessex
On Sunday, IBB Polonia London played hosts to visitors from the south coast (Bournemouth). The first set proved an upset with Wessex taking it 23:25. The following three sets belonged to the London team after they found their rhythm and didn't give the visitors a chance. It was not an exhibition of top quality volleyball, but the champions maintained their calm and closed the match out 3:1. The win gave an additional three points to IBB Polonia London and saw them take first place in the Super League.
"Today's match completed a very challenging period for us. We gained two important victories and six points. We did what we had to do and still know that there is work to do to improve our form. We don't want to relax and to allow our rivals to catch us. We must set the bar high for ourselves and focus on European matches. It is great to allow the younger players on court and to give them valuable experience. Volleyball is much more than statistics. I am looking forward to future matches: especially those overseas," ended Dominik Żmuda.
“Firstly I am very proud of the players, supporters and management of the club for putting together such an amazing series of events that we could be part of. We lost 3:0 against one of the toughest teams we have played against (in the Champions League), but the final set showed that we have the ability to compete at this level. All that we need is more opportunities to play teams of this standard. Returning to play in the domestic league was always going to be a huge challenge physically and psychologically following such a series of high peaks over the previous two weeks or so Greenyard Maaseik; Zaksa Kedzierzyn Kozle and two games against Mladost Zagreb. This was a very demanding period of our lives in many ways, and to be able to maintain focus in the domestic league is testament to the players, coaches and Directors of the club. Both English clubs had something to prove, but following a couple of shakes matches, we were able to take maximum points from the weekend,” said Chris Hykiel, Director of Volleyball in IBB Polonia London.
The previous two weeks were very demanding. Two wins domestically is a big achievement, which brings much positive energy to the club. On 9th November is the next match in the National Cup and sees Tendring Essex visit with the aim of making it to the next round of the competition. The match starts at 4.30pm and tickets are available here.
Katarzyna Strag

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