Sunday 17th January, Eibar
MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – BEROIZ beat BERASALUZE VIII – BEGINO 22-20
Pairs Championship Quarter Finals
There was fevered anticipation in the air at Astelena on Sunday as the packed house prepared to witness potentially the most thrilling match of the championship so far. Any match involving Manomanista and defending Pairs champion Juan Martinez de Irujo has an atmosphere and the excitement was enhanced by the presence of Pablo Berasaluze as his rival. Both play the game with an intensity which threatens to go off the scale and both have been in good form of late. Matches which are hyped to such a degree often fail to live up to their billing, but that was emphatically not the case here, as the encounter went right down to the wire.
The game was played at a furious pace, leading to many errors but also many flashes of brilliance from both forwards. Such was Irujo’s fervour in running down every ball which came his way that twice he hurt himself in the process, hitting his head before suffering pain in his back, but such minor scrapes were shrugged off. Irujo and Beroiz held a clear advantage for the majority of the match, with the young defender obviously more at ease than he was in his major championship debut last week. But with the score at 12-18 against them, Berasaluze and Begino showed pure determination to pull themselves level. The momentum looked to be in the Asegarce corner but the Aspe pair fought back brilliantly from 19-22 down to take the spoils. This important point means that Irujo and Beroiz sit squarely atop the table as the competition enters week three. They must surely now be the favourites for the crown.
Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 1-5, 5-5, 6-6, 9-6, 9-7, 10-7, 10-9, 13-9, 13-10, 15-10, 15-12, 18-12, 18-18, 19-19, 19-20, 22-20.
Image from: Diario Vasco