Saturday 13th November, Pamplona
BARRIOLA beat GONZALEZ 22-17
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
Image from: El Correo, by Eduardo Argote