Apologies for these rather scanty reports; it’s been a very hectic week!
At Eibar on Sunday 21st February, MARTINEZ DE IRUJO-BEROIZ posted their sixth win of the competition, beating OLAIZOLA II-MENDIZABAL II 22-20. Astelena was packed to the rafters with noisy fans, eager to witness another tense encounter between these two great pairs. In terms of the quality of the play alone, many may have left disappointed, for the match was error strewn, but the occasion more than made up for this shortcoming. Although the final scoreline was tight, the Aspe pair held the lead for almost the whole match, with the exception of the point at which they were headed 19-20. The victors dominated the game almost throughout, although Olaizola turned in a healthy run of winners to pose some challenge. Mendizabal, though, has proved the weak link in the Aseagrce partnership and there were again too many mistakes from him. Irujo and Beroiz are of course safely in the semi finals. Olaizola and Mendizabal must beat Gonzalez and Laskurain in the final rotation of matches if they are to join them.
On Monday 22nd February, XALA-ZUBIETA booked their place in the semi finals with a win over BERASALUZE VIII-BEGINO in Tolosa. Thanks largely to the excellent crosscourt and volleying game of Xala and the errors of Begino, the Aspe pair surged ahead 1-7 early on. Their opponents closed in to 8-11 in an extremely tight scrap where each point was contested tooth and nail. However, several mistakes coupled with the greater efficiency of Xala and Zubieta put the game out of their reach. Berasaluze, as usual, fought gamely, but Begino was outplayed by Zubieta. 10-14 became 10-17, and then 12-21, and the game was up for the Asegarce combination, who have seldom played to their potential in this competition.
Image from: Noticias de Alava