Saturday 6th March, Pamplona
GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN beat MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – BEROIZ 22-13
Pairs Semi Finals
After a fascinating two months of quarter final matches, we have arrived at the round of four. The best and most consistent couples have risen to the top and the first of the high octane semi finals took place at Labrit on Saturday. Irujo and Beroiz have been the favourites to take the 2010 Pairs crown almost since day one, when any doubts about the maturity of the young defender’s play were shot out of the water. Irujo has been his usual impassable self, with Beroiz every inch his equal partner. True to form, they started this match as firm favourites against a couple in Gonzalez and Laskurain who have been at times brilliant, but lacking in consistency. However, no doubt buoyed by their nailbiting triumph over Olaizola II and Mendizabal II to make the last four, the underdogs rode the crest of their wave to victory.
Irujo is, under normal circumstances, a lion of the fronton, but here he was Gonzalez’ prey. The champion from Ibero has fallen victim to the man from Iparralde before, most memorably in December’s Cuatro y Medio final which he was odds on to win. Here, Irujo looked anxious and never hit his stride against a rival who was immensely impressive. Gonzalez put on a show for the packed stands, aiding his pair to a 2-9. The favourites managed to close the gap to 8-9, and the game proceeded to parity at10, 11, 12 and 13. The match looked primed for a fight all the way to the line. However, the underdogs stormed to the victory with nine unanswered points. Both Gonzalez and Laskurain played to their full capacity, and Beroiz, who performed well, was unable to save face for the struggling Irujo. The favourites can be beaten, and beaten well. There is much excitement ahead.
Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 2-2, 2-9, 8-10, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13, 13-22
Image from: Kiroljokoa