Daily Archives: 15 November, 2010

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