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

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