Daily Archives: 8 February, 2009

Mano pairs: Don Pablo wins the laurels

Saturday 7th February

Labrit, Pamplona


Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino last night gained a crucial point, beating Juan Martinez de Irujo and Fernando Goni in an intense encounter of stunning quality. Early errors from Begino allowed irujo and Goni to race to a 5-1 lead but this was not to be the pattern of the game. Some great play on both sides took the score to 10-10, 11-11 and 12-12. This deadlock was broken thanks to Begino who began to dominate Goni. Despite the fact that his play tailed off as the players battled their way to the conclusion, all was not lost, for Berasaluze stepped into the breach. The Asegarce forward hit twelve winners in all and fought tooth and nail with Irujo, who lost no face in defeat. With the score at 20-20 and the match on a knife edge, Berasaluze stepped up to the plate with a gantxo winner which could hardly have been more timely. As they added the next point and the match, the Aspe pair, drained and dejected, faced defeat with a brave face, but at time when every point of every match is crucial they will be left to rue lost opportunities.

Source: Diario Vasco

Pablo Berasaluze

Pablo Berasaluze

Image from: http://www.diariovasco.com/prensa/noticias/200805/26/fotos/669292.jpg

Mano pairs: Xala's lightening strikes twice

Saturday 7th February

Yves Sallaberry and Aitor Zubieta defied all predictions in Tafalla last night as they defeated the defending champions by 22 points to 17. This was the second time in the championship that a pair containing Xala had achieved this feat (the currently injured Laskurain was his partner on the first occasion). Last time, the tactic of hitting long to pressurise Mendizabal and circumvent Olaizola worked like clockwork and this game saw a near repeat. Mendizabal, especially in the first half of the game succumbed to the onslaught, and was comprehensively outplayed by the substitute, Zubieta, who proved solid and accurate. He regained some composure as the game went on but the rescue job proved a step too far for the champions. Xala played his game to perfection and for the most part topped the efforts of Olaizola who was unable to impose himself as he has in recent encounters, despite hitting eleven winners.

This result puts a whole different complexion on the standings as week six draws to a close. A win here would have put Aimar and Oier through to the semi finals but, despite remaining top, they must gird up their loins for further battles. There are now seven pairs with a realistic chance of progressing and even bottom partnership Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz have a mathematical opportunity. The next two weekends will surely see high drama on the frontons.

Scoring sequence: 0-3, 5-3, 5-4, 6-4, 6-7, 7-7, 7-10, 11-10, 11-14 13-14, 13-16, 14-16, 14-19, 16-19, 16-21, 17-21 and 17-22

Aitor Zubieta

Aitor Zubieta

Image from: http://www.diariovasco.com/Media/200706/27/068GENE27FOT1–200×261.jpg