Docklands march on after quarter-final victory over Polonia
PUBLISHED: 15:15 26 March 2015
Team rewarded with long journey north to play Northumbria in semi-finals
Docklands moved into the semi-finals of the National League play-offs with a 3-2 win over CBL Polonia.
Eight weeks ago the East Londoners looked in danger of losing their status in the Super 8s, but they are now just four games away from championship success.
Ercüment Karakoç’s side looked better in the opening exchanges and took a 17-11 lead in the first set, before the visitors began to peg them back and eventually won 26-24 to take an early advantage.
Polonia maintained their momentum into the second set, but Docklands did not panic and led 8-7 at the first technical time-out.
The hosts held on to their slight advantage, but were two set-points down at 24-22, before eventually winning an epic set 33-31.
They continued their showing into the third thanks in part to two aces from Mark Baechli as they wrapped up the set 25-21 to take a 2-1 lead.
When the sides met earlier in the season both fixtures went the distance and it was no different this time as Polonia won the fourth 25-13 to force a decider.
The early stages of the fifth set were disrupted by questions over the rotations of both sides and Docklands came out of the delays the better, leading 8-5 at the change of ends.
Docklands nicked another point to go 9-5 up, but in the space of two rotations Polonia were back in it and Karakoç called a time-out at 10-10.
Docklands sided out and the pressure was back on Polonia, before messy points went Docklands way to put them in a 12-10 lead, before Polonia called their final time-out.
A kill by Sanchez Galan brought up match point and a Pitman serve caused confusion in Polonia’s court, as Andrew Pink rose to tidy up and give Docklands a 15-11 fifth-set win.
The victory sets up a trip to Newcastle next month where Docklands will face Team Northumbria in a two-legged semi-final.
Northumbria will start as favourites, but with five wins in a row, Docklands will travel with confidence and enjoy taking on the team that ended the regular season at the top of the league.