Monthly Archives: September 2010

San Mateo Final: Oinatz and Patxi crown a majestic summer

Sunday 26th September, Logrono


In front of a large, enthusiastic audience at Adarraga, San Mateo’s two best pairs put on a show to remember on Sunday night. In a match full of drama, tension and emotion, the brilliant Oinatz Bengoetxea and his perfect foil Patxi Ruiz seized the prestigious tournament from favourites Irujo and Pascual to put the finishing touches to a wonderful summer. The Asegarce pair had already won at San Fermin and Zarautz (Oinatz also took the San Sebastian title with Barriola) but this was possibly their most satisfying win of all, coming as it did over Irujo, who battled like the champion that he is. Both forwards put on a show, striking eleven winners apiece, and attacking each other all out from the gun, each determined to impose his will on the match. The pace was feverish and there was nothing to chose between them. Despite the focus on the battle up front, it was the rejuvinated Patxi Ruiz, with his three winners from the back, who made the difference. Fittingly, it was he who sealed the win with a glorious forehand. The pair leapt with jubilation as Irujo and Pascual were left to rue their missed chances.

Oinatz and Patxi have been the partnership of the summer, but next time they meet on a fronton they will be opponents. The two have been drawn against each other in the second semi final of the Nitro Cuatro y Medio tournament in Zalla. The other semi involves Martinez de Irujo and Barriola, setting up the mouthwatering prospect of a possible rematch between Oinatz and Irujo in another final. Both games take place on Saturday with the final scheduled for 9th October.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 4-4, 4-6, 5-6, 5-8, 6-8, 6-9, 9-9, 9-12, 10-12, 10-13, 11-13, 11-14, 15-14, 15-16, 17-16, 17-19, 19-19, 19-21, 20-21, 20-22.

Winners: Bengoetxea VI 11 (plus 1 service winner), Irujo 11, Ruiz 3, Pascual 0

Errors: Bengoetxea VI 4, Irujo 2, Ruiz 5, Pascual 5

Balls hit: 776

Match time: 76 minutes, with 35:39 minutes of actual playing time

Source Diario Vasco

Oinatz on fire

Oinatz on fire

Image from Deia

San Mateo: Irujo gives a masterclass

Thursday 23rd September, Logrono


The fans at Adarraga last night anticipated an exciting forward battle between the master Irujo and the in-form Saralegi, who had played perhaps his best ever match as a professional in putting Xala to the sword last week. However, they left disappointed as the Manomanista Champion swept all before him in a display of breathtaking virtuosity. Saralegi and Begino hoped to spring a surprise, but the forward from Amezketa looked tense and anxious, and was never afforded any space to act. Irujo bossed the game from start to finish, doing what he liked, when he liked. Pascual, his reliable partner, did not put a foot wrong, but was for the most part a bystander as the star of the show made hay. To make matters worse for Asegarce, Begino ended the match with stitches in his elbow after a collision with the wall.

Irujo and Pascual advance to Sunday’s final. The identity of their opponents hangs on tonight’s game between Bengoetxea VI – Patxi Ruiz and Olaizola I – Apraiz. If Bengoetxea and Ruiz win, they are through, thanks to the narrow victory over Titin and Barriola they already have in the bag. If they lose, Titin and Barriola may go through on points difference.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 8-1, 8-2, 15-2, 15-3, 19-3, 19-4, 22-4

Winners: Irujo 13, Pascual 0, Saralegi 2, Begino 1

Service winners: Irujo 5

Errors: Irujo 1, Pascual 0, Saralegi 2, Begino 2

Match time: 43 minutes

Balls hit: 406


San Mateo on ETB-Sat this weekend, 24th/26th September

Friday 24th September, Logrono



*Olaizola  replaces Berasaluze VIII

Sunday 26th September, Logrono


18:05 (CEST) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – PASCUAL v ????? – ????? Torneo San Mateo Final

To watch, visit

San Mateo: Merino II Comes of Age as Injury Lays Pablito Low

Wednesday 22nd September, Logrono


The young Riojan defender David Merino has been a professional a mere two months. Many in his position would have wilted under the pressure of being required to fill the shoes of the great Abel Barriola, arguably the best defender in the current game, but the 20 year old seized the game from the very first point and was the undoubted star of the evening. The game was brought to an abrupt halt as a contest with the cut to Berasaluze’s hand, which occurred with the score on 10-4 to the eventual winners. The Asegarce forward left the fronton to receive three stitches, and when he returned he was nigh on powerless to stop the rot, but the pattern had been set by then, and it is clear that the better side won. The solid Titin and his young foil made 11 winners between them, five of those coming from Merino, and committed no errors. Their opponents made four winners and nine errors, and from 4-4, they failed to win another point, showing no imagination, no spark and no potency.

Titin and Merino are not yet guaranteed a place in the final, as that will depend on the result of the game between last night’s losers and Bengoetxea VI-Patxi Ruiz. Tonight, Martinez de Irujo and Pascual take on Saralegi and Begino for a place in the last two.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 4-1, 4-4, 22-4

Winners: Titin III 6, Merino II 5, Berasaluze VIII 4, Apraiz 0.

Errors: Titin III 0, Merino II 0, Berasaluze VIII 3, Apraiz 6

Balls hit: 245

Match time: 41 minutes

New boy David Merino is living up to his promise

New boy David Merino is living up to his promise

Image from Diario de Navarra, sources Diario Vasco, El Correo

San Mateo: Irujo and Pascual Prevail in Scrappy Affair

Tuesday 21st September, Logrono


Last night, Manomanista Champion Juan Martinez de Irujo made his first appearance at San Mateo, and his presence was reflected in the box office, for Adarraga was expectantly full. Sadly for the fans however, this was a match to forget, characterised more by errors than by brilliance. Despite their winning scoreline, Irujo and Pascual shared thirteen unforced errors between them, four more than were struck by their opponents. Irujo also managed nine winners, which saved the day, and he was the best of the quartet, but there was nothing flashy about the triumph. Xala was easily below par, just as he was in his first match where he was utterly undone by Saralegi. Laskurain, standing in for the injured Zubieta, played with enthusiasm but too little accuracy, and was just shaded in the defensive stakes by Pascual, who was the more potent. So, Irujo and Pascual proceed to play Saralegi and Begino on Thursday, their hopes still burning brightly. For the losers however, it is the end of the road.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 4-2, 4-4, 7-4, 7-5, 9-5, 9-7, 10-7, 10-9, 12-9, 12-12, 18-12, 18-16, 20-16, 20-20, 22-20

Winners: Irujo 9, Pascual 2, Xala 5, Laskurain 1

Errors: Irujo 5, Pascual 7, Xala 4, Laskuarin 5

Balls played: 486

Match time: 61 minutes

Playing time: 23:33 minutes

Tonight’s match is between Berasaluze VIII – Apraiz and Titin III – Merino II. Merino II replaces Barriola who rests a minor injury to his left wrist. It starts around 20:15 (CEST) and can be followed at pelotalive.

A night to forget for Aritz Laskurain

A night to forget for Aritz Laskurain

Image from: Deia, sources: Deia, Diario Vasco, El Correo

Aimar Olaizola Trains on the Fronton

The Gaztedi Alai de Legutiano fronton in Alava was the scene for Aimar Olaizola’s first training session since he seriously injured his knee on 24th April. Yesterday’s session began at 3.30 in the afternoon and lasted for an hour. Aimar was accompanied by Iñigo Simón, doctor at Asegarce, physiotherapist Itxaso Sánchez and player turned trainer Iñigo Abad. he exhibited a promising range of movement and even played a short game against Abad, winning 8-7. He reportedly felt good after the session, and will now train on the fronton three times per week.

Source: Asegarce

Aimar Olaizola: on the mend

Aimar Olaizola: on the mend

Image from: Noticias de Navarra

San Mateo Round Up

The San Mateo tournament got underway in Logrono, Rioja, on Sunday and the first two matches have gone rather against the expected. On Sunday, reigning pairs champions XALA and ZUBIETA lost to SARALEGI and BEGINO, 22-16. Ekaitz Saralegi was the undoubted star of the show, notching up 17 winners to Xala’s 5. Whereas Xala was below par, the 31 year old from Amezketa was inspired, displaying dogged defence as well as lethal attack. The defenders were more evenly matched. Xala broke free in an extent in the second part of the match the champions came between three points of their rivals at 16-19, but despite a minor strain to Begino’s arm, the Asegarce pair finished the job.

On Monday, BENGOETXEA VI and PATXI RUIZ scraped through 22-21 against TITIN III and BARRIOLA. In a game full of emotion, the Asegarce pair held sway for the majority of the encounter, leading 13-8, 16-12 and 20-13, with Bengoetxea rampant and Ruiz his perfect foil. However, to rapturous approval from the Logrono faithful, Titin and Barriola scrapped their way back to 17-20, before saving four match points to reach 21-21. The fifth proved one too far though, as a txoko from Ruiz won the day.

The battle continues tonight, as MARTINEZ DE IRUJO and PASCUAL take on XALA and LASKURAIN, who stands in for Zubieta. Tomorrow, Wednesday, TITIN III and BARRIOLA take on BERASALUZE VIII and APRAIZ. There will, sadly, be no coverage on ETB Sat.

The impressive Saralegi

The impressive Saralegi

 Image from: Noticias de Gipuzkoa, by Jose Sampedro

Gorka makes a splash on debut

Friday 17th September, Logrono


Despite ending the evening  on the losing side, new Aspe pelotari Gorka Esteban had a night to remember on Friday, as he made his professional debut at Adarraga. Gorka, born in Galdakao but raised in Rioja, was visibly nervous from the outset, despite the sterling encouragement of his partner Aritz Laskurain. He admitted after the match that his legs were ‘trembling’, and his opposing forward, Rico, pounced with venom, instrumental in stretching the lead for his pair to 12-5, 17-9 and 20-15. However, when Gorka hit his stride he was an almost unquenchable force, taking the game to Rico and surpassing him. The Aspe pair were clearly now on top, and had it not been for the excellent defence of Begino, the game might have been theirs. The debutant lost by the narrowest of margins, but sent out a clear signal of intent; he looks like the real deal.

Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-2, 5-2, 5-3, 6-3, 6-4, 8-4, 8-5, 12-5, 12-6, 13-6, 13-8, 16-8, 6-9, 17-9, 17-14, 18-14, 18-15, 20-15, 20-19, 21-19, 21-21, 22-21.

Winners: Rico IV, 12. Begino, 1. Gorka, 13. Laskurain, 1.

Errors: Rico IV, 4. Begino, 0. Gorka, 5. Laskurain, 1.

Source: Diario Vasco

Gorka overcame his nerves impressively

Gorka overcame his nerves impressively

Image from: La Rioja, by E. Del Rio.

San Mateo Line Up Announced

One of the most important tournaments of the summer, that of San Mateo in Logrono, starts on 19th September, with the final being held on the 26th. The six pairs will compete initially in two pools of three, as follows:

Group A: Martinez de Irujo-Pascual, Xala-Zubieta, Saralegi-Begino

Group B: Titin III-Barriola, Berasaluze VIII-Apraiz, Bengoetxea VI-Patxi Ruiz

For a full run down of fixtures, see Asegarce.

There will also be a mano a mano tournament featuring four young players: Lemuno and Albisu from Asegarce, and Ladis Galarza and Merino II from Aspe.

Logrono, Rioja

Logrono, Rioja

Image from