Saturday 5th January, Bilbao
OLAIZOLA II – IBAI ZABALA beat BERASALUZE VIII – ALBISU 22-15
Aimar Olaizola and Ibai Zabala returned to winning ways on Saturday, defeating Pablo Berasaluze and Jon Ander Albisu at Bizkaia. The scoreline makes the victory appear relatively straightforward but this does tell the full story; the eventual winners had to fight from behind and only late in the match imposed themselves. Berasaluze and Albisu forged an early 7-1 lead, desperate for the win which had eluded them thus far in the competition. Albisu was a major player in this early dominance, doing what so many have failed to do and putting pressure on Olaizola. However, the number one found his rhythm and was instrumental in bringing his pair back to 10-10. They went behind again at 10-14 but from then on, Olaizola put Berasaluze to the sword, racking up a total of twelve winners in open play to his opponent’s six. He and Ibai Zabala, who kept pace admirably, took ten points in a row and allowed their opponents only one more before sealing a 22-15 win. They now sit third in the table with two wins and one loss, while their oppoonents languish at the bottom.
Scoring sequence: 1-7 6-7 8-9 10-10 10-14 20-15 22-15
On the same evening, Mikel Larunbe made his professional debut for Asegarce, playing alongside Asier Olaizola against Saralegi and Apraiz. Although the 19 year old and his experienced partner lost the game 21-22, the signs were very promising with the debutant playing an excellent match.