Friday 29th October, Balmaseda: URRUTIKOETXEA beat DIAZ 22-21
In a game full of emotion and excitement in Balmaseda, 21 year old rising star Mikel Urrutikoetxea came back from a 17-20 deficit to defeat Inigo Diaz. The match rested on a knife edge almost throughout, with the players tied on eight occasions. As both tired of the lengthy rallies, mistakes crept in towards the conclusion of the encounter, but this did not detract from a stunning game. Urrutikoetxea showed iron resolve to come through, and a maturity which belied his age.
Saturday 30th October, Pamplona: BARRIOLA beat BENGOETXEA VI 22-15
Abel Barriola overturned the odds at Labrit on Saturday to defeat the much fancied Oinatz Bengoetxea by a margin which defied the attritional nature of the match. Bengoetxea appeared to lack confidence in himself, a surprise for one who has been in blinding form of late. The former Manomanista champion often hurried his shots, and paid in errors. Barriola served up a potent array of shots, outgunning his local rival to set up a meeting with Retegi Bi in the last eight.
Sunday 31st October, Urretxu: PATXI RUIZ beat ARITZ LASA 22-18
In a frenetic game in Urretxu, Patxi Ruiz undid local boy Aritz Lasa with his greater power and accuracy. Lasa made eleven mistakes in the match and these, in the face of an in-form rival, proved his downfall. Patxi was undaunted by the partisan crowd, and held his form to reach the next round, where he will face the formidable challenge of a match against Irujo.
Monday 1st November, Eibar: BERASALUZE VIII beat ARRETXE II 22-17
Pablo Berasaluze became the final pelotari to qualify for the quarter finals, in a match of variable quality. There was much to please the eye at Astelena, but there were also many mistakes, especially from Arretxe, who proverbially took his eye off the ball at crucial moments, gifting points to Pablito. The man from Berriz played the game at a high pace, and showed impressive strength; although never far behind, Arretxe could not wear him down.
The draw for the last eight is as follows:
Friday 5th November, Estella: MARTINEZ DE IRUJO v PATXI RUIZ
Friday 5th November, Larrainzar: GONZALEZ v URRUTIKOETXEA
Saturday 6th November, Pamplona: TITIN III v BERASALUZE VIII
Sunday 7th November, Eibar: BARRIOLA v RETEGI BI
The impressive young Urrutikoetxea is through to the last eight
Image from El Correo