It was a good two days for Asegarce on Friday and Saturday as both their competing couples brought home the spoils in their third rotation Pairs matches.
For Asier Olaizola and Ruben Beloki, it was the first point of the championship, as they had lost their first two games, and they took it well, beating the fancied Gonzalez and Laskurain 22-16 in Getaria. Olaizola, so often overshadowed by the renown of his younger brother, here let fly, taking the game to Gonzalez who never broke free from the shackles placed on him. The strength of his right arm was especially apparent, and he found space out wide with the left, playing the tight angles with aplomb on his way to ten winners. He was partnered ably by Beloki, who was a safer pair of hands than Laskurain, who blew hot and cold. In the end, the win was more comfortable than most had predicted, and will give the Asegarce partnership some much needed confidence in their tough fight to make the top four.
In Pamplona, Oinatz Benogetxea and Patxi Ruiz took a titanic scrap against Titin III and Inigo Pascual, 22-20. The fans at Labrit were treated to a sensational game in which all four protagonists showed extraordinary skill and verve, playing at breakneck speed and with startling inspiration. It was the forwards who took most of the plaudits from the crowd, who chanted their names with fervour. The 42 year old Titin, who celebrated his birthday this past week, defended like a terrier against the all out attack of the far younger Bengoetxea, and the two traded myriad gantxos and txokos, as if determined not to be outdone. In defence, the fight was just as intense, with Pascual and Ruiz displaying their long range hitting skills to gasps from the assembled crowds. Ruiz last week extended his contract with Asegarce until 2014, and on this showing the management should be rubbing their hands in glee. In the end, Bengoetxea and Ruiz had a fraction more to give, and held their nerve for a memorable win. It is their second of the championship and they are clearly contenders.
Image from Diario Vasco