Bengoetxea and Beroiz edge thriller at Astelena

Sunday 6th January, Eibar

It would be hard to top Friday’s game in San Sebastian for excitement, but this one may just have managed it. The normally fairly sedate Astelena Sunday evening crowd could not fail to be fired up by affairs this week, as Oinatz Bengoetxea and Mikel Beroiz seized victory from the jaws of defeat to go top of the table. The game was characterised by a fair number of errors all round, but these did not detract from the closeness of almost every rally and from some stunning winners, not only from the forwards but from Zabaleta, who won five points off his own bat. All four players fought to the death in a very tight struggle where almost every point hung on a knife edge. Bengoetxea and Beroiz appeared to have things under some semblance of control, leading 11-4 and 19-15 but both Irujo and Zabaleta lifted their game late on. At 21-19, the Asegarce pair still seemed as if they would edge it, but their opponents fought to 21-21. The final point could have gone either way, as was the case with so many of the game’s rallies. It was won for the red pair by Beroiz, who either by luck or inspired design, hit a winner to the wide court where it fell perfectly just out of reach of both blues. The unbeaten Bengoetxea and Beroiz therefore strengthen their claim to favouritism and head the standings, while Irujo and Zabaleta, with two wins and one loss, are second.

Winners/errors: Bengoetxea 10/3, Irujo 7/5, Beroiz 1/6, Zabaleta 5/6
Balls hit: 639
Match time: 73 minutes with 31 minutes of actual play

Oinatz Bengoetxea had the better of the forward play

Oinatz Bengoetxea had the better of the forward play

Photo: mine

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