Sunday 28th March, Pamplona
ARRETXE II – IBAI ZABALA beat SARALEGI – ESKUDERO 22-7
Second Tier Pairs Final
The final of the Second Tier Pairs Championship seemed on paper to be an enticing prospect. The fans, with their banners, certainly came with enthusiasm to see the battle between two pairs who have matched each other win for win through the competition as a whole. However, the result was in reality a forgone conclusion from very early on, for Arretxe II and Ibai Zabala defied the bookies to thrash Saralegi and Eskudero 22-7.
The winning pair had a clear game plan and their opponents fell for it, hook, line and sinker. They bombarded Eskudero, their rival defender, with long ball after long ball and his armoury proved to weak for the task. Arretxe and Ibai did not open well, their rivals taking a 3-0 lead. They levelled at 3-3 and 5-5, scores which hinted at a tight match. It was however, not to be, as they raced to a 16-5 lead which proved utterly insurmountable. Iker Arretxe controlled the game from the front with ease and interacted well with his partner, who left Eskudero with no room to breathe. Ibai managed some stunning pieces of play, including taking a near impossible ball on the rebound, and ended with four winners. Saralegi, who has showed great spirit both in this competition and in the main championship, where he deputised for Olaizola I, failed to fire and was unable to release his hapless partner from the stranglehold.
Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-5, 5-5, 5-16, 6-16, 6-17, 7-17, 7-22.
Earlier in the evening, Labrit staged a stunning curtain raiser between Martinez de Irujo-Eulate and Olaizola II-Apraiz. It was taken by the latter by 22 points to 18, with Olaizola showing freedom to swing. Apraiz, too, was highly impressive, and hinted at great things to come.
Source: El Correo
Photo by Javier Sesma, Diario Vasco