Friday 28th January, Estella-Lizarra
BERASALUZE VIII – APRAIZ beat MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – MERINO II 22-7
After their resurgence last week, when they beat Gonzalez and Laskurain comfortably, many assumed that Irujo and Merino II were now back on track, after their disastrous start in the championship. They were the clear favourites for this fifth week match, but the gremlins reappeared for the Aspe duo, as they met a pairing still riding the crest of a wave after their own fourth week win. Berasaluze and Apraiz outgunned their rivals with ease, Pablo dominating even more than he had done against Bengoetxea VI the week before against an Irujo who was a shadow of his usual self, managing only two winners to his opposite number’s twelve. Merino, while promising and at times brilliant, is still developing, and this was not his finest hour. Is it over and out for the experimental pairing.
Saturday 29th January, Pamplona
GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN beat BENGOETXEA VI – PATXI RUIZ 22-7
After their outstanding 2010 as a pairing, much was expected of Oinatz Bengoetxea and Patxi Ruiz in this year’s contest, but alter two successive defeats, it seems the wheels are coming off. Last week they lost in a closer tussle with Berasaluze and Apraiz, but this time round it was a disaster for the Asegarce hopes. They started well, but as Gonzalez and Laskurain, who were yet to win a match in the competition, swung into action, their opponents had no answer and were outplayed in every department. Neither pair is well placed in the overall standings, but their trajectories Could barely be more different.
Sunday 30th January, Logrono
TITIN III – PASCUAL beat OLAIZOLA I – BELOKI 22-20
After two one sided onslaughts came a far closer match down in Rioja. Titin and Pascual squeezed past Asier Olaizola and Beloki to keep their hopes of reaching the last four alive, and they showed great resilience in coming from behind to take the point. For the most part, the sides were evenly matched; Beloki began well but Pascual, playing better than in recent weeks, was able to match him, and likewise at the front, Olaizola and Titin both winner and errors in turn. The Asegarce pair was ahead for much of the match, and although they were never more than four points in arrears, they appeared as if they would keep their noses in front. However, with the score at 17-19, Titin and Pascual pounced, taking five points without reply. Olaizola and Beloki managed to scrape one back, but the momentum had shifted, terminally.
Image from Gara