Monthly Archives: November 2010

Live Pelota on ETB Sat, 26th-28th November

There are three semi finals to enjoy live this weekend, one in the elite Cuatro y Medio championship and two in its second tier equivalent, featuring some of the future’s brightest hopes. Much rests on Sunday’s game between Juan Martinez de Irujo and Sebastien Gonzalez. Irujo is almost assured of a place in the final, but cannot yet rest easy. Gonzalez will likely vie with Barriola for the second spot, though Titin is, mathematically speaking, not out of the hunt. The game between Barriola and Titin (Saturday, Pamplona, c. 18:30 CET) is not on ETB Sat, but there will be live updates at Pelota Live. Mikel Idoate is in the driving seat in the second tier semi finals, having won both of his matches to date. He plays Luis Cabrerizo, who, along with David Merino, is also in the hunt for a final berth. Jorge Rico is out of it.

Friday 26th November, Muskiz

22:25 (CET) MERINO II v RICO IV Campeonato BBK Promoción 4 y 1/2 Semi Final


Sunday 28th November, Eibar

17:15 (CET) CABRERIZO II v IDOATE Campeonato BBK Promoción 4 y 1/2 Semi Final

Followed by MARTINEZ DE IRUJO v GONZALEZ Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

To watch, go to

Cuatro y Medio: Gonzalez squeezes past Titin to keep his hopes alive

Sunday 21st November, Logrono


Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

The partisan home crowd which packed Adarraga on Sunday came prepared to cheer their hero Titin to victory over the defending champion, Gonzelez. The atmosphere was electric, as befitted a match of such great importance. For a while, it looked as if the fans would be satisfied in grand style, as Titin raced to an 8-0 lead, moving the ball excellently, and leaving Gonzalez with little room to operate. However, Gonzalez refused to be bowed and when he finally gathered himself for an assault brought his full armoury of weapons to the table. He pulled himself back into the contest point by point initially, but then hit a patch of brilliance, winning six points on the trot to come within one point of Titin at 10-11. From there, the protagonists could barely be split, tying at 12, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 20. Either could have produced the winning break, such was the closeness of the rallying, but in the end it was Gonzalez who held his nerve to take a scintillating victory, 22-20. The defending champion has now won one and lost one in the semi final league, and is still very much in the running for the final. Titin is, in contrast, all but out.

Scoring sequence: 1-0 / 8-0 / 8-3 / 10-3 / 11-4 / 11-10 / 12-10 / 12 / 13 / 15 / 16 / 18 / 20 / 20-22

Gonzalezs title defence continues

Gonzalez's title defence continues

Image from: Sudouest, by P. Berniere

Cuatro y Medio: Irujo Stages Comeback to Sweep Barriola Aside

Saturday 20th November, Pamplona


Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

Juan Martinez de Irujo has one foot in the final after a pulsating match against Abel Barriola at Labrit on Saturday. The game had been eagerly anticipated all week by press and fans alike, and the two players did not disappoint, launching into a game oozing with star quality. Barriola, the marginal underdog, dominated the early part of the match, sweeping to a 10-2 lead, and playing like a brick wall through which nothing could pass. Many times in his career, Irujo has found a way back from dire straits, but here the task looked near impossible, with the magisterial defender utterly on top. However, Irujo is a phenomenon, and come back he did, to break the hearts of travelling fans from Leitza. Irujo swamped him in a whirlwind of virtuosity and raced, improbably, to his second win of the semi final stage. All is not lost for Barriola, who defeated Gonzalez last week. He plays Titin, who is out, this weekend, with a final berth there for the taking, though its ultimate destination will depend on how Gonzalez fares against Irujo; the odds are against him, but he has of course done it before, in last year’s final.

Irujo can never be counted out, even when eight points down

Irujo can never be counted out, even when eight points down

Image from: Forex

Live Cuatro y Medio Semi Finals, Sunday 21st November

The winners of last weekend’s round robin semi finals play each other on Saturday in possibly the most anticipated game of the championship so far, when Irujo takes on Barriola at Labrit. Unfortunately, however, this will not be broadcast on ETB Sat (for live updates see Pelota Live). Sunday’s game is live online though, and it will also be a battle royal, in this case for survival rather than supremacy. Neither Titin III or Gonzalez, the defending champion, can afford a loss in Logrono, and each will want to perform at their tenacious best.

Sunday 21st November, Logrono


Followed by TITIN III v GONZALEZ Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

To watch, go to


Cuatro y Medio: Irujo Too Hot for Home Favourite Titin

Sunday 14th November, Logrono


Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

Titin III took on Martinez de Irujo in the Riojan fortress of Adarraga yesterday, and must have hoped that the baying home fans would give him the vital edge he required over the tournament favourite. For a few fleeting moments of optimism, it looked as if victory might be on the cards for the tireless veteran, but Irujo, lethal when he comes from behind, put well and truly paid to any false hopes.

Irujo started as he meant to go on, with precision, speed and venom. The man from Ibero put eight points past the local favourite to only two in reply, showing the full range of his shot play and landing winners with incredible accuracy. Titin survived remarkably error free, but had little answer to the onslaught of Irujo. Titin slowly clawed his way back into the game however, taking advantage of seven errors in the match from Irujo, who allowed his rival to close to 7-10, 8-11 and 12-12. From parity at 14-14, Titin surged forward with new found confidence, to lead at 17-14. However, it was not to be, much to the chagrin of the crowd of over 1000, as Irujo showed why he is the best in the game. The Manomansita champion pulled seven straight winners out of the fire, relentless and devastating.

Irujo made significantly more mistakes than Titin across the match, seven to only one, but he also piled up an astonishing seventeen winners, eleven more than his opponent, and it was this which swayed the match. In the middle period, many shots which would earlier have curled inside the line, went out by millimetres, but he relocated his radar in the nick of time, and there was nothing Titin could do in reply. He will now meet Barriola at Labrit on Sunday, while Titin plays this week’s other loser, Gonzalez, back in the bear pit of Adarraga.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 6-1, 6-2, 8-2, 8-5, 10-5, 10-7, 11-7, 11-8, 12-8, 12-12, 14-12, 14-17, 22-17.

Winners: Irujo 17, Titin 6

Errors: Irujo 7, Titin 1

Service winners: Irujo 2, Titin 3

Service errors: Irujo 0, Titin 0

4 ½ line errors: Irujo 1, Titin 0

Source: Diario de Navarra

Irujo marches on

Irujo marches on

Image from: Kiroljokoa

Olaizola II Back with a Bang

Aimar Olaizola returned to pelota on Saturday in a pairs match at Labrit, and played almost as if he had never been away. Although the game ended in a 21-22 defeat for Aimar and Apraiz, against Berasaluze VIII and Beloki, the champion forward declared himself very happy to have finished the match feeling good and with no ill effects. The Asegarce medical and coaching staff shared his delight at a highly successful recovery. The match itself was an exciting and action packed affair, in which Olaizola punished Beloki and took a tremendous fight to Berasaluze. A win would have been the icing on the cake, but Olaizola will care little, for he is back in the fray. The evening ended with further celebration, as the participants joined in a party for the returning pelotari’s 31st birthday.

Source: Asegarce

Cuatro y Medio: Barriola’s Will Crushes Gonzalez

Saturday 13th November, Pamplona


Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

Abel Barriola is going like a proverbial train in this year’s Cuatro y Medio. Of the four semi finalists, he is the only one who has had to reach the last four by coming through the rounds, the other three having entered at the quarter final stage. He had recorded easy wins over Saralegi, Bengoetxea VI and Retegi Bi in the previous weeks, but this was the biggest scalp of all, for the man from Leitza wore the defending champion down on Saturday, striking from behind with the determination of a possible champion elect. Gonzalez must now win both of his remaining semi final matches, while Barriola has the luxury of rather more leeway.

Although Barriola was clearly the best player in the end, the win did not come easily, and indeed he was behind and ailing in the first portion of the match. Gonzalez dominated the fronton in the early stages, and Barriola looked ill at ease, going behind 3-7 and 4-9. He scrapped hard to close the deficit to three points at 7-10, and then hit the afterburners, adding seven points with no reply to reach 13-10. From there on in, there was no escape route for Gonzalez, who although he came within one point on two occasions, was shut down by Barriola. The majority of Barriola’s six errors came in the first part of the game, but from the mid point on, he was transformed, hitting winners at will, while Gonzalez made ever more mistakes.

Barriola is a peerless competitor, a player who is never vanquished even when in serious arrears. It was his determination to succeed which put him on top here, and although Irujo is still the favourite for the crown, ones feels that Barriola is gathering a head of steam. There will be an early chance to see how they match up, as they play each other in Eibar on Sunday.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 3-1, 3-7, 4-7, 4-9, 7-9, 7-10, 13-10, 13-12, 14-12, 14-13, 18-13, 18-16, 21-16, 21-17, 22-17.

Winners: Barriola 7, Gonzalez 10

Errors: Barriola 6, Gonzalez 9

Service winners: Barriola 4, Gonzalez 1

Service faults: Barrriola 0, Gonzalez 1

4 ½ errors: Barriola 0, Gonzalez 1

Source: Diario Vasco

Barriola: down but never out

Barriola: down but never out

Image from: El Correo, by Eduardo Argote

The Return of Aimar Olaizola

Almost seven months after he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament on the same fronton, Aimar Olaizola will be back in action at Labrit on Saturday. The multiple txapela winner from Goizueta suffered the injury in his opening Manomanista match against Patxi Ruiz on 24th April, and after an intensive recovery period has now been cleared to play. In his comeback game he will line up alongside Apraiz, against Berasaluze VIII and Begino. Two days later he will play again in Tolosa, with Patxi Ruiz, against his brother Asier and Begino. Reports from training are encouraging, with Aimar speaking of  ‘good feelings’ after a strenuous workout at Beotibar on Wednesday.

Aimar has recovered well and will be keen to return to winning ways

Aimar has recovered well and will be keen to return to winning ways

Image from USP Araba Sport Clinic

Cuatro y Medio: this weekend’s ETB Sat coverage

Friday 12th November, Soraluze

Soraluze sees the first semi final in the Campeonato BBK Promoción 4 y 1/2, the second tier cuatro y medio competition which runs alongside the elite championship. It gives talented young players, the stars of the future, a chance to shine, and tonight sees two bright new prospects go head to head, when Riojan David Merino takes on Mikel Idoate from Pamplona. Just as in the main championship, this tournament has a semi final league, with each pelotari playing each of the other three. Joining Merino and Idoate in the last four will be Rico IV, who defeated Apezetxea in the quarter finals, and Cabrerizo II, who overcame Albisu.

22:25 (CET) IDOATE v MERINO II 2nd Tier Cuatro y Medio Semi Final


Sunday 14th November, Logrono

Augustin Ibanez, aka Titin III, has home advantage in this first Cuatro y Medio semi final, taking on Martinez de Irujo in front of his home Rioja fans. He faces a tall order in the Manomanista Champion, who was extremely impressive in his defeat of Patxi Ruiz, who did not play badly, last week. Titin was, however, brutal in his manner of victory over Pablo Berasaluze in the quarters, and sheer willpower coupled with a groundswell of support may lift him to the required degree.


Followed by MARTINEZ DE IRUJO v TITIN III Cuatro y Medio Semi Final

The other Cuatro y Medio semi final of the weekend takes place on Saturday in Pamplona, where defending champion Sebastien Gonzalez takes on Abel Barriola. The signs are that this could be a tight encounter, but Barriola, who showed a clinical elegance and an ability to come through under pressure in his quarter final defeat of Retegi Bi, may just have the edge. Gonzalez, though was far too hot for Urrutikoetxea to handle last week, and will fight for every scrap.

To watch, go to 

First year Aspe pro Idoate takes on Merino II tonight

First year Aspe pro Idoate takes on Merino II tonight

Image from Noticias de Navarra

Cuatro y Medio: Results from the Last Eight

Friday 5th November, Estella: MARTINEZ DE IRUJO beat PATXI RUIZ 22-12

Home advantage was not enough for the game Patxi Ruiz in Estella. Irujo proved unstoppable, his volleying especially stunning. Ruiz showed flashes of great class, hooking well, and using the wide court to his advantage, but he was unable to eat into his illustrious opponent’s early lead. It is with some inevitability that Irujo marches on, laying down a formidable challenge.

Friday 5th November, Larrainzar: GONZALEZ beat URRUTIKOETXEA 22-9

This match saw the reigning champion face the reigning second tier champion, in a clash of experience versus youth. Gonzalez prevailed, deploying more firepower than his talented young opponent could counter, especially in the long game. Urrutikoetxea lacked his usual spark and the fight which has brought him thus far, but he will will be back for more in future years.

Saturday 6th November, Pamplona: TITIN III beat BERASALUZE VIII 22-11

Pablo Berasaluze was despatched at Labrit by a Titin in brutal mood. The veteran Riojan put nine points on the board without answer early on, aided by some excellent serving which netted him four aces. Berasaluze looked stiff and helpless in the face of the onslaught. The man from Berriz came back well, displaying some impressive shot making, but he needed to take risks and too often they did not come off.

Sunday 7th November, Eibar: BARRIOLA beat RETEGI BI 22-14

An upset looked to be very much on when Julen Retegi seized the early advantage at Astelena, but the cool and unflappable Abel Barriola hit his stride, turning 1-6 into 6-6, before surging ahead to a ten point lead at 20-10. There was no route back for Retegi, last year’s surprise package, as Barriola asserted his dominance with some ease in the final analysis.

The semi-final line up is now complete, and four pelotaris, all from Aspe, proceed to the elite league. Each will play the other three in a round robin which runs until November 28th. Proceedings get underway on saturday when BARRIOLA and GONZALEZ play in Pamplona. On Sunday, TITIN II plays MARTINEZ DE IRUJO in Logrono.


No sweat for Titin

No sweat for Titin

Image from Kiroldegi