Friday 11th March, Mutilva
MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – MERINO II beat ARRETXE II – IBAI ZABALA 22-21
Juan Martinez de Irujo and David Merino needed to win in Mutilva on Friday to have any hope of making the last four, and they scraped through against the substitutes, Iker Arretxe and Ibai Zabala, who squandered two match points. Arretxe threw all caution to the wind and well and truly took the game to Irujo, who was not on his best form, finishing with seven errors to his rival’s one. Irujo and Merino kept their noses in front for the first portion of the match, largely thanks to Merino’s mastery of Ibai Zabala, but they increasingly found themselves behind, and it seemed as if an upset was on the cards. However, they found their nerve when it mattered most and could breathe again; a loss by 13 points for Bengoetxea and Patxi Ruiz’ replacement Jon Ander Albisu would out them through.
Saturday 12th March, Pamplona
OLAIZOLA II – BEGINO beat TITIN III – PASCUAL 22-11
Aimar Olaizola and Aritz Begino had been on the cusp of the semi finals for four weeks, but the elusive seventh victory escaped them until Sunday. With their comprehensive defeat of Titin and Pascual they ended their run of indifferent form and ensured qualification in second place behind Xala and Barriola. Titin and Pascual began the better, opening up a 5-0 lead, but once the Asegarce pair hit their stride, there was no stopping them. They closed to 9-10 thanks largely to the play of Begino, who thrilled the crowd with two robotes and left an out of sorts Pascual reeling. He supported Olaizola excellently, and the Goizuetarra hit eleven winners in all, easily outclassing Titin for pace and guile.
Saturday 12th March, Gernika
GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN beat SARALEGI – APRAIZ 22-15
Sebastien Gonzalez and Aritz Laskurain put their slow start in the championship behind them when they made certain of their place in the semi finals, defeating Ekaitz Saralegi (replacing Pablo Berasaluze) and Alexis Apraiz on Saturday. Until the mid point, the game was evenly balanced, and was notable for some superb attacking play from Saralegi. However, the wheels fell off for the Asegarce combination as their opponents raced unopposed to 18-11. Although they managed four more points, in fits and starts, there was no way back, and class told.
Image from: Noticias de Navarra