For a full report on RETEGI BI v ARITZ LASA, see here. In brief, the other games proceeded as follows:
Manomanista champion XALA beat SARALEGI 22-12 in Eibar on Sunday, but only exerted his grip on the game in the second half. Saralegi, the unquestionable underdog, fought tooth and nail to lead 11-10 at the mid point and gave his fans plenty to cheer about, taking the match to Xala and often dominating points with his wide court play. The champion knew he needed to up his game, and that he did, goaded on by his botillero and friend Aitor Zubieta. In the second half of the match, Saralegi looked a shadow of his former self, unable to pick up any scraps left by a now rampant Xala, who took the sting out of his opponent’s play by volleying and forcing the pace. The loser looked increasingly dejected, but deserves much credit for the way he approached the match; Saralegi always throws himself into championship ties and this was no exception. Xala plays Titin III in the latter’s home fortress of Logrono on Sunday, with a semi final berth at stake.
On Saturday in Pamplona, BENGOETXEA VI beat OLAETXEA 22-10. Bengoetxea was the clear favourite here, but he knew he needed to bring his A-game to ensure safe passage against an up and coming player who has ridden a crest of form throughout 2011. An early scoreline of 1-4 cannot have done much for his supporters’ nerves, but Bengoetxea emerged clearly the superior player, using a powerful and well directed serve to gain the early initiative in points time and again, and outdoing Olaetxea in every aspect of the game. He will need all the form he displayed here when he plays defending champion Martinez de Irujo on Sunday in Eibar.
OLAIZOLA II beat BERASALUZE VIII 22-14 in Bilbao on Saturday. On paper this was an easy win for the four time champion, but the scoreline belies the tempestuous tale of the match. Matters were extremely tight for much of the tie, with players trading hooks with ferocious intensity in front of a crowd of over a thousand. At 14-15, Berasaluze retired to the dressing room with a muscle strain in his left leg, but worse was to follow for the man from Berriz, when a contested call in the next play left him fuming and in angry debate with the judges. Olaizola, the serve his, ran away with the game while his opponent continued to show his disgust at his predicament. Berasaluze was perhaps unfortunate, but Olaizola’s physical superiority in the remainder of the match was obvious, and it is he who goes on to face 2009 champion Gonzalez in Pamplona on Friday.
There were two matches in the Promocion Championship this past weekend. On Saturday in Pamplona, neo-pro TAINTA beat ARGOTE 22-15, an excellent win for the 19 year old against an opponent vastly more experienced. Argote is ten years his senior, and has twice been runner up in this championship, in 2007 and 2009. In Eibar on Sunday, APEZETXEA thrashed GORKA 22-5, in a game which should by rights have been closer. Tainta now plays Ongay (Pamplona, Saturday), and Apezetxea takes on Albisu (Logrono, Sunday).
Image from Diario de Navarra