Friday 5th February, Urduliz
22:25 (CET) DIAZ – OTEIZA* v BERASALUZE IX – LARRINAGA 2nd Tier Pairs Championship
23:35 (CET) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – MARTINEZ DE EULATE^ v OLAIZOLA 1 – APRAIZ+ Pairs Championship
*Oteiza replaces Apraiz, who plays in the main Pairs Champiosnship later in the evening.
^Martinez de Eulate replaces Beroiz
+Apraiz replaces Patxi Ruiz
In tonight’s match, which pits the top couple against the 7th, the Martinez pairing are the clear favourites. Beroiz rests and his place is taken by Pedro Martinez de Eulate, but this should not handicap Irujo significantly; Eulate has a wealth of experience and has won two Pairs Championships of his own, in 2006 and 2007, one of those with Irujo. Alexis Apraiz again plays with Asier Olaizola, as he did last week, in the wake of the controversy over Patxi Ruiz’s injuries. Apraiz proved an impressive replacement then, and Asegarce will hope for more of the same tonight.
Saturday 6th February, Idiazabal
18:00 (CET) BERASALUZE VIII – BEGINO v GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN Pairs Championship
Sebastien Gonzalez and Aritz Laskurain are the probable favourites here, although their earlier confidence must have been knocked by their mauling at the hands of Olaizola II and Mendizabal II last week. They sit at 5th in the table and are easily in the fight to progress. Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino also lost last weekend need to make amends tomorrow if they are to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the last. Four losses from five games, and their path back would indeed be challenging.
Sunday 7th February, Eibar
16:55 (CET) CAPELLAN – UREBERUAGA v APEZETXEA – GONI III
18:05 (CET) XALA – ZUBIETA v BENGOETXEA VI – OTXANDORENA* Pairs Championship
*Otxandorena replaces Beloki
In Eibar on Sunday, 4th placed couple Yves Salaberry and Aitor Zubieta are the clear favourites over bottom pair Oinatz Bengoetxea and Inaki Otxandorena. Bengoetxea and Otxandorena’s performance last week against Irujo and Beroiz was a step up from their previous effort against Titin and Pascual but with one win from four matches and a points difference of -22 they badly need another improvement here. They beat Xala and Zubieta in week one but since then, their opponents have pulled off two solid wins. Although Otxabdorena has played well at times, injury to Bengoetxea’s usual partner, Beloki, cannot have helped their cause.
TO WATCH ANY OF THE ABOVE MATCHES, VISIT https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat
The other match in week 6 of the Pairs Championship, TITIN III – PASUCAL v OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II, takes place on Monday (Pamplona, 20:15), and is not televised.
This is potentially the most explosive encounter of the week, with the 2nd couple in the table taking on the 3rd. Aimar Olaizola is in a rich vein of form, having pulverised Gonzalez and Laskurain last weekend with a textbook display. Titin has also been playing excellently and with great determination, and their battle up front should be fascinating. Pascual played a blinder last weekend and may well prove a handful for Oier Mendizabal, who does however appear to have emerged from his dip in form.