Daily Archives: 26 January, 2012

Pelota on ETB, 27th-29th January

Friday 27th January, Hendaia


Followed by XALA – LASKURAIN v OLAIZOLA II – BEROIZ Pairs Championship

Sunday 29th January, Bilbao


Followed by TITIN III – MERINO II v BERASALUZE VIII – ALBISU Pairs Championship

To watch, go to http://www.eitb.tv, https://www.eitb.eus/es/television/etb-sat/ or https://www.eitb.eus/es/deportes/deporte-en-directo/

The other Pairs matches this week are between MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – BARRIOLA and BENGOETXEA VI – APRAIZ (Bilbao, Saturday) and ARITZ LASA – ZUBIETA and ARRETXE II – BEGINO (Tolosa, Monday)

Wins for Xala-Laskurain, Berasaluze VIII-Albisu and Titin III-Merino II

Friday 20th January, Azpeitia


While Xala and Laskurain continue to improve week to week, matters for Arretxe and Begino get worse. Arretxe’s injury in the previous game meant a match forfeited and his replacement, Saralegi, proved unable to do anything to inspire Begino to the heights of which we know he is capabale. This was an annihilation, in which Xala hit with abandon on his way to eleven winners while the replacement forward appeared totally at a loss. Laskurain was far more potent than Begino and absolutely dominant at the back. It is hard to see where the bottom pair can go from here.

Saturday 21st January, Logrono


This was a surprisingly easy win for the home favourites at Adarraga. Titin and Merino’s advantage was comfortable throughout the game but for a small moment of worry at 13-11, with Merino the standout performer, putting immense pressure on Benogetxea who was never able to break free. Titin followed not far behind his apprentice in the quality stakes, making great use of the gantxo. Apraiz gave him far too much room to work with and he accepted every invitation.

Scoring sequence: 2-0, 2-1, 7-1, 7-2, 9-2, 9-5, 12-5, 12-8, 13-8, 13-11, 17-11, 17-13, 20-13, 20-14, 22-14

Monday 23rd January, Tolosa


This was an improvement on the previous week for Lasa and Zubieta, who led for a significant proportion of the match before being outdone at the death by the pair who are proving to be the best of the rest after the clear top two. Berasaluze proved the main instigator in the latter part of the game, where his determination and venom wrestled the initiative from the Aspe pair. Albisu, the young tournament debutante, appeared as comfortable as a veteran, supporting his more experienced partner with a calm grace.

Promocion Championship results were as follows: Olazabal-Larrinaga beat Rico IV-Mendizabal II* 22-18, Gorka-Arruti beat Olaetxea*-Aretxabaleta 22-21, Jaunarena-Merino beat Urrutikoetxea-Otxandorena* 22-10, Tainta-Argote beat Mendizabal III-Ladis Galarza 22-11.


A good week for Pablo Berasaluze

A good week for Pablo Berasaluze

Image: mine

First blood to Olaizola II and Beroiz as the stars come out to play

Sunday 22nd January, Bilbao


It is unusual for an early stage round robin match to feel like a final, but from the packed house at Bizkaia, the electric atmosphere and the ruthless desire and intensity inherent in the play, it appeared every bit like one. The Pairs Championship has been craving this match, a head to head between the two pairs who have proved themselves head and shoulders over the opposition. There had been little high octane excitement in the competition up until this point, with too many matches ending in a landslide, so the fans resolved to enjoy this clash of the titans to the hilt. The result will probably mean little in the final analysis, for all these pairs need to do for the moment is make sure they saunter into the semi finals, but Olaizola II and Beroiz took a victory for morale, first blood, and inflicted upon Irujo and Barriola quite a body blow in a match which scintillated from start to finish.

There were two distinct periods in the match, one in which the pairs were so evenly matched that they could not be prised even a centimetre apart, before Aimar opened his shoulders to seize the day, supported by a fabulous Beroiz. As in any match involving Aimar and Irujo, most of the interest focussed on them in the latest round of their rivalry. Last time they met, Aimar rattled Irujo like never before in the Cuatro y Medio final and it seemed that here, his victim was in no mood to concede again, nostrils flaring and eyes glaring as he hurled himself after every ball. The defence of both the forwards was staggering; somehow, they sent spiralling back balls which appeared like sure fire winners and which probably would have been against many professional opponents. Both also induced gasps in attack. Aimar’s service return on 2-1 had to be seen to be believed; Irujo certainly appeared utterly incredulous as he saw the ball rip past him to his right, dipping to the base of the frontis and falling with incredible placement into open space. No less fabulous was Irujo’s dos paredes at 6-8 which found an almost unfeasible angle to dig him and Barriola out of a dreadful hole.

While the stellar forwards fought tooth and nail at the front, there was a no less intriguing battle playing out behind between experience and youth. Barriola is the consummate defender, a seemingly impenetrable wall, impossible to crack. 21 year old Beroiz, however, is not fazed by reputations and threw himself headlong into a war of attrition. Each attempted to grind the other down with patience and nerve and while each was stunningly good, Beroiz held the aces. Not only did he return the long ball with metronomic ease, but he also joined in attack, notably with a txoko winner out of the blue at 12-10. Asegarce must be beaming all over their faces at their signing of Beroiz from Aspe, for he is assuredly the real deal.

From 13-13, the Asegarce pair started to edge ahead and it appeared as if for the first time someone had grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns. On 15-13, Aimar and Beroiz got themselves into an extraordinary mess but somehow pulled themselves out of it to win the point, and it seemed as if this might finally break Irujo and Barriola’s resolve. However, a careless error from each threw the momentum away. For many pairs, this may have been a moment of panic and game changing frustration, but for Aimar it provided all the incentive he needed to seal the deal. Four crosscourt winners from the rampant defending champion, plus two errors forced by tactical mastery won the game as Irujo and Barriola became suddenly impotent in the face of a team both mentally and physically at the height of their powers. True, this win is little more than an early salvo but the confidence it will have given the victors may prove a vital edge when it really matters.

Scoring sequence:  2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-3, 5-3, 5-9, 11-9, 11-10, 13-10, 13-13, 16-13, 16-15, 22-15.

Winners/errors: Olaizola 12/5, Beroiz 1/2, Irujo 7/5, Barriola 2/2

Match time: 1:10.15, with 35:38 of actual play

Balls hit: 709

Mikel Beroiz: the real deal

Mikel Beroiz: the real deal

Image: mine