Daily Archives: 20 December, 2011

Pairs Championship: Bengoetxea and Apraiz off the mark as champion defender fails to fire

Sunday 18th December, Eibar


The main interest in this match was in seeing how Begino would operate with Arretxe, and whether the latter as a debutante would be able to stand the pace of the elite tier. Begino won the title with Olaizola II in 2011 and might be forgiven for feeling a little aggrieved not to have been paired with him again, being ousted by Beroiz who has had a rather more visible year since. As it happened, Begino proved completely unable to lift Arretxe, who while he played with credit was outpaced by Bengoetxea. The game was characterised by long tough rallies and it exceeded 700 ball strikes in all, but the poetry was removed by the error count, for which Begino was especially responsible. The defender was a rock in last year’s championship, proving a splendid anchor for Olaizola’s attacking venom, but there was little sign of these qualities on Sunday. Bengoetxea and Apraiz were rarely troubled and were ahead throughout, but this win has done nothing to answer any questions about their credibility as a pair for the overall. Consistency is the name of the game in this mammoth championship and on this showing they look less than immovably solid. Still, it is very early days, and much can and will change between now and April.

Iker Arretxe made a creditable debut

Iker Arretxe made a creditable debut

Photo: mine

Pairs Championship: Irujo and Barriola off to a winning start at the expense of team Rioja

Saturday 17th December, Pamplona


Saturday’s game at Labrit went to the form book as the tournament favourites registered a win in their opener. However, they were pushed extremely hard by the Riojan duo of Titin and David Merino. Although Irujo and Barriola game out all guns blazing and surged to a 5-0 lead, their opponents found their feet and managed to sneak ahead at 8-6 and 9-7. Irujo and Barriola dominated most of the rallies but the red pair finished them well, with Merino controlling play impressively from the back. At 14-13 there was nothing to choose between the protagonists. However, thereafter the favourites began to exert their control. Merino’s level dropped and Barriola, who finished the match without a single error, was king. Irujo also lifted his game, though he was inconsistent throughout, and without Merino firing on all cylinders, Titin looked one dimensional. Irujo and Barriola never fully threw off the shackles of their rivals, who tracked them closely and fought hard, but this was in the end a job well done.

Scoring sequence: 0-5, 5-5, 5-6, 8-6, 8-7, 9-7, 9-11, 12-11, 12-13, 14-13, 14-16, 15-16, 15-19, 16-19, 16-21, 17-21, 17-22

Service winners/errors: Titin 1/0, Irujo 0/0

Winners/errors: Titin 8/0, Irujo 12/8, Merino II 0/6, Barriola 4/0

Match time: 63:13

Balls hit: 530

Irujo was inconsistent but did enough

Irujo was inconsistent but did enough

Source: Diario Vasco, Photo: mine