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