Apologies once again this week for the lack of in depth reporting; I was in Manchester all weekend at the track cycling World Cup, so rather too busy with other things to watch any pelota! However, here is the first of two instalments in my round up of the Pairs action from this rotation.
Friday 18th February, Zestoa
GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN beat OLAIZOLA II – BEGINO 22-10
We begin in Zestoa, which witnessed the shock of the week. Aimar Olaizola and Aritz Begino suffered their first lost of the competition the previous weekend, and here it became two in a row as they were taken apart by Sebastien Gonzalez and Aritz Laskurain. Their previous loss was a close one, but this was far more worrying for the former table toppers, who are now usurped by Xala and Barriola by virtue of points difference, both having played eight and won six. Gonzalez and Laskurain are very much on the up, having now won four matches in a row. They sit third in the table, at the head of the group of four pairs on four wins from eight. The Aspe partnership dominated the game, with Laskurain the pick of the bunch, improving his performance beyond recognition from past weeks. Neither Asegarce player had their best day to put it mildly, but Begino was especially ill at ease, conceding six errors. Gonzalez was at his potent best, chalking up three aces, and eight winners in open play, alongside only one error.
Scoring sequence: 0-4 / 1-4 / 1-6 / 2-6 / 3-6 / 3-10 / 4-10 / 5-10 / 5-16 / 6-16 / 7-16 / 7-18 / 8-18 / 8-19 / 9-19 / 10-19 / 10-22.
Match time was 48 minutes, with 19 minutes of playing time. 366 balls were hit.
Sunday 20th February, Logrono
TITIN III – PASCUAL beat BERASALUZE VIII – APRAIZ 22-11
Pablo Berasaluze and Alexis Apraiz dealt their chances of qualification a severe blow down in Rioja on Sunday, by mailing to beat local hero Titin and his partner Inigo Pascual at Adarraga. Their loss means that they slip out of the mid table group of pairs who are tied on points for the third to sixth spots, and languish only one off the foot of the table. Titin and Pascual now sit fifth, and are very much in the hunt for qualification. The Aspe pair were by far the better in this tie, with the greatest disparity in quality coming at the back, where Apraiz could make no inroads into the dominance of Pascual. Pascual provided the perfect attacking platform for Titin, who was rarely troubled and largely kept Berasaluze locked out of the match. His twelve winners to Pablo’s five demonstrated the greater attacking potency of the winning pair,
Scoring sequence: 2-0 / 2-1 / 9-1 / 9-2 / 9-5 / 10-5 / 12-5 / 12-6 / 12-7 / 16-7 / 16-8 / 17-8 / 17-9 / 18-10 / 22-11
Match time was 49 minutes, with 17 minutes of playing time.
Image from: Manista, by Carlos Zuluaga