London 2012

Poles whitewash GB

Poland too strong despite spirited display by Brits

Last Updated: 04/08/12 2:32pm

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Poland: Beat a spirited Great Britain

Poland: Beat a spirited Great Britain

Poland's volleyball players turned on the style to whitewash Great Britain 3-0 at Earls Court on Saturday.

Already in the quarter-finals and destined for more on the strength of this showing Poland dominated from the outset to claim a 16-25 19-25 18-25 victory over the host nation.

For the British though, the plusses were numerous despite the defeat in a game they were never expected win at a tournament they had fought the odds to appear in.

In the build-up to the game Britain's players had spoken of taking on the best team they would ever be likely to face and wanted no more than a positive performance.

And so it proved on both counts, with the eastern Europeans storming into a lead they would never relinquish.

The brilliant 6ft 9in Bartosz Kurek immediately established himself in the middle of the net with support coming from 6ft 11in Marcin Mozdzonek and 6ft 9in Gregorz Kosok.

Brilliant

GB were 6-2 down when coach Harry Brokking took them off for a breather, and when they returned things did not get any easier, with Jakub Jarosz spiking twice in a row to make it 12-4.

Captain Ben Pipes eased some of the pressure with a cute early tip to make it 8-15 but such a points difference would be hard to turn around against any side, let alone Poland, and they duly took the set 25-16.

Despite losing the opener, Britain's players were clearly relishing being part of such an atmosphere and, whether it was adrenalin-fuelled or not, they went toe-to-toe with their opponents at the start of the second.

Spikes from Dami Bakare and Andy Pink put them out to 4-1 - a rare moment of ascendancy - before Poland fought back.

Jarosz's spike was so powerful that it knocked libero Dan Hunter off the court but, despite punching well above their weight, the hosts refused to whimper.

Hunter responded with a brilliant retrieval that allowed Bakare to spike back to 8-9 and when Pipes and Mark McGivern both had success at the net, it was 10-10.

Slammed

Bakare slammed to the floor again for 13 and then 14-all, with even the Polish fans respectful of how Britain were taking the game to their side.

But they quickly had something to cheer about again as Poland carved Brokking's men apart down the middle.

Every time Britain knew it was coming and every time they could do little to stop it. A set went up and one of the three front-row giants finished it off, with Poland securing a 25-19 second set win.

Again GB were spirited at the start of the third, with Bakare spiking and then serving an ace to 5-7,

But with Kurek able to loop the meekest of tips into open court whenever he chose, they were never able to bridge the gap.

The score quickly moved 9-16 and no matter how many times Hunter left the court to recover the ball from improbable angles, he got up to find it coming straight back at him.

It was not all one way, though, with Bakare brilliant up high and getting Britain back to 14-20, before Poland saw it out 18-25.

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