Friday 13th January, Larrainzar
MATCH ABANDONED for injury to Arretxe II, resulting in heavy ‘win’ for Berasaluze VIII and Albisu
Iker Arretxe and Aritz Begino were already the underdogs here, and the match had barely started before disaster struck. A searing strike from Jon Ander Albisu struck Arretxe in the head. He was forced to leave the fronton in considerable pain and was transferred to Pamplona by ambulance. After staying in overnight for observation, he was released with no lasting damage or complications and is now on the road to recovery, hoping to play this weekend. While Arretxe’s health must obviously be the main consideration here, this stroke of bad luck is a near disaster for he and Begino, who have yet to win a match and now have an effective 1-22 ‘loss’ against their names.
Saturday 14th January, Pamplona
Business as usual for Olaizola II and Beroiz at Labrit
Favourites Aimar Olaizola and Mikel Beroiz wasted no time at all in crushing the dangerous pairing of Oinatz Bengoetxea and Alexis Apraiz 22-9. Olaizola was in imperious form, hitting home 12 winners and pulling off some impressive volleys to which Bengoetxea had no reply. Beroiz played with steady assurance, providing an outstanding platform. The favourites went up 13-0 initially and were never troubled, in a game which lasted 48 minutes and took 482 strikes of the ball. This was their fourth win in a row and they remain unbeaten. The vanquished pair have two wins and two losses.
Scoring sequence: 13-1, 14-2, 15-3, 16-4, 18-5, 19-8, 20-9, 22-9
Winners/errors: Olaizola 12/3, Beroiz 1/1, Bengoetxea 5/6, Apraiz 0/3
Sunday 15th January, Logrono
Xala and Laskurain open their account at fortress Rioja
Yves Salaberry and Aritz Laskurain had endured a surprisingly bad opening to the championship and needed a result against the home favourites at Adarraga. At first, things seemed to be going against them yet again as they ceded a 105 lead, but in the end pressure told. They played excellently as a team, taking advantage of a slight off day for Titin and Merino II who try as they might could not keep their noses in front. The Riojans have lost on three occasions now and will be looking to improve. For Xala and Laskurain this is an assured step in the right direction but it is they who have the more work to do.
Scoring sequence: 0-3, 1-3, 1-5, 9-5, 9-6, 10-6, 10-7, 14-7, 14-8, 15-8, 15-9, 15-10, 18-10, 18-13, 20-13, 20-15, 21-15, 21-16, 22-16
Winners/errors: Xala 10/3, Laskurain 2/1, Titin 8/6, Merino 3/3
Wednesday 18th January, Mungia
Martinez de Irujo and Barriola show their class
Juan Martinez de Irujo and Abel Barriola showed no mercy in taking Aritz Lasa and Aitor Zubieta apart on Wednesday, cruising to a 22-7 win. Irujo had no problem at all in controlling the front of the court, leaving a hapless Lasa chasing for scraps. The man from Gipuzkoa was utterly outclassed. Barriola continued to be solidity personified at the back, making only one error to Zubieta’s four, although Zubieta’s cause in defence was hardly helped by the vapidity of his partner. Things have gone steadily downhill for Lasa and Zubieta after their excellent opening win over Xala and Laskurain; they must believe that they can rise to these heights again. For their opponents it was business as usual, but they will undergo a sterner test this weekend against Olaizola II and Beroiz.
Scoring sequence: 6-0, 8-1, 16-2, 16-4, 17-4, 17-5, 17-7, 22-7
In the Promocion Championship, RICO IV – UNTORIA beat LEMUNO – ARRETXABALETA 22-14, GORKA – PENAGRIKANO beat JAUNARENA – CECILIO 22-12, OLAZABAL – LARRINAGA beat MENDIZABAL III – LADIS GALARZA 22-17 and URRUTIKOETXEA – IZA beat TAINTA – ARGOTE 22-20.