Saturday 28th April, Pamplona
JAUNARENA – CECILIO beat OLAZABAL – LARRINAGA 22-14
Promocion Pairs Final
I was in the Basque Country while the Promocion Pairs final took place but was unable to get to Labrit, and as I had limited internet time while I was there and have devoted this week to writing about the main championship final, this game has been rather overlooked. However, it was no less important to their pairs involved, who had battled since January for place in the last two. Throughout the tournament, Jon Jaunarena and Cecilio Valganon, and Mikel Olazabal and Inaki Larrinaga have been the best and so it was fitting that they should meet to fight it out for the prize. By all accounts the favourites were dominant from 6-7 onwards, with Olazabal failing to push Jaunarena onto the back foot and Larrinaga less effective from long than Cecilio. A txapela here for Cecilio (24, Ezcaray) means that of the four individuals to triumph in the two pairs championships, three are from La Rioja. A golden age for them indeed. This also represents a first professional championship win for 20 year old Leitzarra Jaunarena, who looks set to be the next great player from that talent-rich Navarrese town. Congratulations to them both.