Monday 8th February, Pamplona
OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II beat TITIN III – PASCUAL 22-16
When the great Navarrese forward Aimar Olaizola is on song he is an intractable, lethal force of nature. His battle with Titin in Pamplona on Monday was anticipated as an evenly matched and exciting duel, given the recent fiery nature of Titin’s play, but in reality Aimar was peerless. The game was intriguingly poised at 9-9, with neither pair having proved able to create a gap. Both defenders played a solid game in this opening period and Olaizola found himself frustratingly lacking in chances to attack. However, when Titin hit low to give the Asegarce duo at 10-9 lead, Aimar served with his choice of balls and seized eight unanswered points from a shell shocked Titin and Pascual, for whom there was no way back. El Correo describes Aimar as having ‘legs of steel; strengthened by years spent hunting in the mountains around Goizueta, but in this mood he is also possessed of a will of steel, suffering nobody to stand in the way of his aggression. Titin, if he must go down, always does so fighting and he managed to pull back four points to lessen the blow of the loss, but it was too little too late.
Olaizola finished with twelve winners and two service winners, including two excellent rebotes and some violent gantxos. Oier Mendizabal also had an excellent game and his form, happily for he and Olaizola, seems to be building with each game. Titin stood up to Olaizola with merit but found himself powerless to halt him. Of the four, only Pascual played with inconsistency. This was the third win for Aimar and Oier, who appear to have hit a rich vein of form with Aimar arguably the player of the week for the second week in a row. They look like a good bet for the semi finals, and play like this could truly put the cat among the pigeons for all their rivals.
Scoring sequence: 1-1, 5-3, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 9-17, 10-20, 12-21, 16-22
Image from: Noticias de Gipuzkoa