Saturday 24th January
Villa de Iscar, Iscar
Olaizola II/Mendizabal II beat Olazabal/Barriola 22-10
Aspe took a calculated risk in sending young and inexperienced Mikel Olazabal to Iscar in place of the injured Sebastian Gonzalez. Gonzalez and his partner Abel Barriola had a flawless record in the championship up to this weekend and were anxious to keep it that way with the help of the 22 year old substitute. However, standing in his way was the formidable obstacle of last years double txapela winner Aimar Olaizola. The promising Olazabal needed to find a way to better him, or at least contain him, if the Aspe pair were to have any chance but Aimar proved both both imperious and brutal. The forward from Goizueta utterly overwhelmed his rival, barely letting him draw breath in a devastating display of control. Under such unbearable pressure, Olazabal committed error after error while time and again, Olaizola demonstrated his merciless precision in closing out points. Barriola tried his best to compensate for the imbalance in forward play by covering as much of the fronton as he physically could but his play lacked the sparkle necessary to pressure the defending champions and Mendizabal was left to operate precisely as he wished. In truth the result could have been far worse for the Aspe pair given the 19-3 lead which their rivals at one point commanded. Two brief periods of score building saved them from total humilation but the result was never in doubt; Olaizola and Mendizabal march emphatically onward while Barriola prays for the return of Gonzalez.
Image from: http://www.gara.net/Repository/Imagenes/Pub_3/Issue_1996/p039_f02.jpg
Sources: El Correo, Diario Vasco