Daily Archives: 27 January, 2009

Mano pairs: standings after week four

As we move into the fifth week of the pairs championship, three partnerships are equal at the top of the table, separated only by points difference. Snapping at their heels are two pairs who are still very much in the fight. The three bottom pairs would now need a significant turnaround to have any hope of qualification.

There are no clear favourites at this stage. Up until last week’s injury to Sebastian Gonzalez, he and Abel Barriola formed the most consistent and seemingly dominant partnership. However, their bid for the title was temporarily derailed in round four as Mikel Olazabal, the substitute, was not able to live up to the standard of the player he replaced when faced with a salvo from a white hot Aimar Olaizola. Much will depend on Gonzalez’s state of health. Titin and Pascual lost narrowly in week one but since then have gone from strength to strength. The only pair to have beaten them are the defending champions, who currently lie third. With the exception of their bafflingly bad loss to Xala and Laskurain, Olaizola II and Mendizabal II have played a strong tournament and look to have grown in confidence and form since then. The top three must be considered the favourites to progress but it is all to play for. Martinez de Irujo and Goni III, who have been erratic up until now, may prove to be dark horses, if Irujo can consistenly play as we know he can. All we know is that the drama will play itself out and that in three weeks, eight pairs will become four.

Columns indicate: matches played, matches won, matches lost, points for, points against, total league points


1. Titín-Pascual                         4 3 1 87 67 3

2. Gonzalez-Barriola                 4 3 1 76 60 3

3. Olaizola II-Mendizabal II      4 3 1 76 69 3

4. Berasaluze VIII-Begino        4 2 2 76 71 2

5. Martinez de Irujo-Goñi III    4 2 2 70 75 2

6. Xala-Laskurain                     4 1 3 78 76 1

7. Bengoetxea VI-Beloki          4 1 3 64 74 1

8. Olaizola I-Patxi Ruiz             4 1 3 62 87 1

The top 4 pairs qualify for the semi finals

The 2008 champions enjoy their moment

The 2008 champions enjoy their moment

Image from: http://www.diariovasco.com/prensa/noticias/200803/31/fotos/418129.jpg

Mano pairs: Olaizola I and Patxi Ruiz record first win in dismal game at Beotibar

Monday 26th January
Beotibar, Tolosa
Olaizola I/Patxi Ruiz beat Xala/Laskurain 22-21

Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz can afford themselves a sigh of relief at finally opening their account in this year’s championship but there will be little satisfaction in it, for this was one of the worst matches the competition has seen in some time. The crowd at Beotibar witnessed a catalogue of errors, numbering 23 across the four competitors, from start to finish. The worst of the play came from the two defenders, Patxi and Laskurain. Laskurain did however have something of an excuse, having injured his right hand with the score at 13-13, leaving Xala working overtime in a futile attempt to compensate. This was the chance that Asier and Patxi craved; surely all they had to do was to wait for the afflicted and increasingly despondent Laskurain to make errors? But they could not capitalise, failing to exert any meaningful pressure on their labouring opponents. A string of errors from Patxi Ruiz took the score to 18-13 in Aspe’s favour but Laskurain then took his turn to miscue, allowing the gap to close to 21-20 before he gave the victory away. Even his uninjured hand could not save him from a very public purgatory. The Asegarce pair took the winners’ point simply because someone had to be the first to reach 22.

Aritz Laskurain will be out of action for at least a week and possibly two. His place will be taken in the next round of matches by Aitor Zubieta.

Scoring sequence (Olaizola I/Patxi Ruiz first):
0-6, 6-6, 6-7, 7-7, 7-10, 9-10, 9-11, 11-11, 11-12, 12-12, 12-13, 13-13, 13-18, 16-18, 16-20, 20-20, 20-21 and 22-21

Aritz Laskurain, in happier times

Aritz Laskurain, in happier times