Malory Eagles have moved to the top of volleyball’s National Division One following a 3-0 victory over strugglers Newcastle Staffs at Ernest Bevin College in Tooting.

Contending with the loss of key players through injury, coach Jefferson Williams opted for captain Richard Dobell setting, Andy Omoshebi, Alex Bialokoz, Marc Richardson, Darius Setsoafia, Luciano Pinter and Stephen Fee.

In spite of the importance of this game to their league hopes, Malory struggled to get fired up matching Staffs in a lacklustre warm-up.

However, once the game started, Malory immediately took control with strong serving and attacking from wing hitter Setsoafia and excellent all round defensive work.

In a one-sided set, Malory took only 16 minutes to register 25 points to Newcastle’s 12.

Set two started similarly, with Malory leading from the whistle. Excellent set distribution from setter Dobell meant all attackers took turns in probing the Staffs front line.

The visitors, keen to avoid a rout, threw all they had into defence, unable to offer anything of substance or consistency offensively.

Although a closer set, Malory still ran through to 25 with Staffs securing a creditable 20 points.

Set three saw increasing commitment from Newcastle against an Eagles side now fielding Ashley Trodden in place of Dobell and new signing Russell Watson for Pinter.

The set’s first half was close but, once into double figures, Malory pushed on, overwhelming Newcastle with power attacks from all angles.

A desperate Newcastle allowed their frustration to boil over, having to be cautioned by the referee following some rather ill-tempered comments aimed at line officials.

As expected, Malory took the set 25-19, completing a workman-like despatch of Staffs in 56 minutes.

Malory now top the table with 34 points, the same as second-placed Sheffield, but with a better set difference.

This weekend, the Eagles travel to fourth-placed Coventry & Warwick, while Sheffield are in the capital to play Polonia.

Malory will be hoping that their fellow Londoners can turn-over Sheffield. Third-placed London Docklands host mid-placed Middlesbrough.