Daily Archives: 8 January, 2011

Pairs Championship: Berasaluze and Apraiz collect their first point

Friday 7th January, Tolosa


Pablo Berasaluze and Alexis Apraiz opened their account in the Pairs Championship last night, and in doing so condemned Asier Olaizola and Ruben Beloki to the foot of the table. The match failed to reach the heights, with all four players looking ill at ease. Apraiz seemed especially nervous at the outset, but was probably on balance the best player of the night. As the game went on, the defender from Gernika found his rhythm, taking the game to Beloki. As he opened his shoulders, Berasaluze acquired a platform to attack, and Olaizola had little answer. He and Beloki face a long road back to contention.

Apraiz was the best of a modest bunch in Tolosa

Apraiz was the best of a modest bunch in Tolosa

Image from Diario Vasco

Pairs Championship: Xala and Barriola made to fight for their point

Friday 7th January, St Jean de Luz


Xala and Barriola are deservedly among the white hot favourites for this year’s Pairs title, and their dismantling last week of Olaizola I and Beloki confirmed this. However, this time round they did not have things their own way, as Gonzalez and Laskurain, themselves contenders, pushed them for all they were worth. The eventual winners were forced to come from behind on several occasions in the match, most notably when they were 15-18 down and on the verge of loss. In a demonstration of their big game composure, however, they strung together seven points in a row to seize the win. Thus, for the second time in as many weekends, Gonzalez and Laskurain have failed to convert a position of strength into a championship point; last week they let a 17-13 lead slip against Olaizola II and Begino.

The real battle took place at the back of the fronton, between Barriola and Laskurain, who fielded many more balls than their partners in attack, and the former was the statistical game winner, making only two errors to Laskurain’s seven. Xala appeared unusually ineffectual for much of the match, but he burst into life when it mattered, taking advantage of a handful of misses from his opponents to drive the nail into the coffin with some stunning winners. Gonzalez played a solid match, putting more balls passed Xala than vice versa, but in truth, this was Barriola’s stage.

Scoring sequence: 0-2, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-5, 3-5, 3-8, 8-8, 8-10, 13-10, 13-11, 15-11, 15-15, 18-15, 18-22.

Winners/errors: Xala 8/4; Barriola 2/2; Gonzalez 11/4; Laskurain 0/7

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

Balls hit: 719

Abel Barriola proved the difference

Abel Barriola proved the difference

Image from Gara