Friday 4th January, Donostia-San Sebastian
TITIN III – MERINO II beat XALA – BARRIOLA 22-20
The defending champions, with David Merino fit again, registered their first win of the 2013 edition on Friday, taking a pulsating match of epic proportions right at the death. This was a titanic struggle, lapped up by a near capacity crowd at Atano III, which stretched over an hour and where almost every point seemed a miniature match in its own right. All four players hit the heights and were extremely evenly matched. The Riojans looked the more secure early on, but once Xala and Barriola settled they began to turn the screw, edging ahead 11-14, 13-16 and 17-19 with Xala forcing Titin to play an ever more physical game and Barriola hitting long with great aplomb. However, the champions battled hard and showed enormous determination to close the gap in the dying rallies of the game. From 17-19 they drew level and moved directly to match point. Xala and Barriola threatened a comeback as they seized another point and with it the serve, but Titin and Merino were not to be denied and brought it home 22-20. This win was not enough to move them out of the bottom half of the table, but will surely have given them the confidence they need to get their defence on the road after a rocky start.
Scoring sequence: 1-0/ 1/ 1-2/ 2/ 2-6/ 3-6/ 6/ 7-6/ 9-6/ 9-7/ 10-7/ 10/ 11-10/ 11/ 11-14/ 12-14/ 12-15/ 13-15/ 13-16/ 14-16/ 14-18/ 17-18/ 17-19/ 19/ 20-19/ 21-19/ 21-20/ 22-20
Winners/errors: Titin 11/2, Xala 12/5, Merino 1/3, Barriola 3/6
Balls hit: 810
Match time: 94 minutes with 39 minutes of actual play