Tag Archives: Eskudero

New players, new contracts, and departures at Asegarce

Asegarce have announced the signing of two new pelotaris, Iker Tainta (Barañaian-Navarra) and Alvaro Untoria (Nájera-La Rioja). Tainta plays his first match on 25th June in Pamplona, while Untoria will make his debut on 2nd July in his home town.

Meanwhile, Arretxe II has re-signed with the empresa for the next two years, and Oteiza has renewed for six months. Penagarikano, whose contract is about to run out, is still in talks.

Three players will not have their contracts renewed. Aratz Mendizabal leaves after eight years with the empresa. In that time he won the second tier championships in both Pairs (2005) and 4 1/2 (2006). Inigo Diaz, second tier 4 1/2 champion in 2007, leaves after six years. The Asegarce bosses are reportedly unhappy with his progress since his debut in 2005. Inaki Eskudero also moves on. He made his debut in 2003, and was runner up in the second tier pairs championship in 2005, 2008 and 2010. He will remain active, joining Garfe 11, where he will play alongside the likes of Koka, Capellán, Mikel Goñi, Fernando Goñi, Eugi and Eulate.

Arretxe II and Ibai Zabala crowned Second Tier Pairs Champions

Sunday 28th March, Pamplona


Second Tier Pairs Final

The final of the Second Tier Pairs Championship seemed on paper to be an enticing prospect. The fans, with their banners, certainly came with enthusiasm to see the battle between two pairs who have matched each other win for win through the competition as a whole. However, the result was in reality a forgone conclusion from very early on, for Arretxe II and Ibai Zabala defied the bookies to thrash Saralegi and Eskudero 22-7.

The winning pair had a clear game plan and their opponents fell for it, hook, line and sinker. They bombarded Eskudero, their rival defender, with long ball after long ball and his armoury proved to weak for the task. Arretxe and Ibai did not open well, their rivals taking a 3-0 lead. They levelled at 3-3 and 5-5, scores which hinted at a tight match. It was however, not to be, as they raced to a 16-5 lead which proved utterly insurmountable. Iker Arretxe controlled the game from the front with ease and interacted well with his partner, who left Eskudero with no room to breathe. Ibai managed some stunning pieces of play, including taking a near impossible ball on the rebound, and ended with four winners. Saralegi, who has showed great spirit both in this competition and in the main championship, where he deputised for Olaizola I, failed to fire and was unable to release his hapless partner from the stranglehold.

Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-5, 5-5, 5-16, 6-16, 6-17, 7-17, 7-22.

Earlier in the evening, Labrit staged a stunning curtain raiser between Martinez de Irujo-Eulate and Olaizola II-Apraiz. It was taken by the latter by 22 points to 18, with Olaizola showing freedom to swing. Apraiz, too, was highly impressive, and hinted at great things to come.

Source: El Correo

Photo by Javier Sesma, Diario Vasco

Second Tier Pairs Final: the Preview

Saturday sees the final of the Campeonato Parejas Promocion, the second division pairs championship, featuring the ‘best of the rest’ who are not involved in the top tier affair. I have said little about this competition as owing to the constraints of time, I have to prioritise, but for the players involved it is a big deal. Eight pairs have been fighting it out weekly since January 17th:

From Asegarce: Urrutikoetxea-Argote, Diaz-Apraiz, Saralegi-Eskudero, Arretxe II-Ibai Zabala

From Aspe: Cabrerizo-Larrinaga, Aritz Lasa-Merino, Olazabal-Arruti, Retegi Bi-Cecilio

Eight weeks later we were down to the top four. In the first semi final, Arretxe II-Ibai Zabala beat Olazabal-Arruti 22-9 and in the second, Saralegi-Eskudero triumphed over Aritz Lasa-Merino by 22 points to 15. The all-Asegarce final will go some way towards restoring dented pride after the Aspe rout in the first division championship.

On paper, the finalists look evenly matched. Each pair won five and lost three in the initial round robin stage, and each won their semi final convincingly. The form book is however troublesome, as Inaki Eskudero was the only player to take part in every match. Ekaitz Saralegi was absent from the tournament for three consecutive weeks when he was called up to substitute for the injured Asier Olaizola in the main championship. He was replaced by Aratz Mendizabal, and in that time, the pair suffered two of their three losses, one a particularly heavy defeat to Aritz Lasa and Merino in week seven. The reintroduction of Saralegi turned their fortunes and his presence in the final will be a big fillip given his lively recent form.

Three substitutes played for the Arretxe II-Ibai Zabala pair. Both Kepa Penagarikano and Hodei Beobide stood in for Ibai Zabala, in weeks five and six respectively, and in the eighth week, Iker Arretxe was replaced by Mikel Olaetxea. It is difficult therefore to judge the consistency of this pairing, but of the six games they played together, including the semi final, five were won, which can only bode well.

In terms of past championship pedigree, Arretxe II gives his pair the upper hand. The 24 year old forward from Valcarlos in Navarre already has one edition of this title to his name from 2006. He has also been runner up in both this competition, in 2008, and the second tier Manomanista in 2006. His partner Ibai Zabala, who is 22 and hails from Berriz in Bizkaia, was runner up in this tournament last year, with Aratz Mendizabal. As far as their opponents are concerned, Eskudero is the more decorated, despite Saralegi’s higher current ranking. The 27 year old from Erasun in Navarre was runner up in this competition in both 2005 and 2008, with Leiza and Saturday’s opponent Arretxe II respectively. The latter resulted, indicentally, in a 2-22 rout against Retegi Bi and Argote. Saralegi, 30, from Amezketa in Gipuzkoa, surprisingly, has never won a championship of any level.

The election of material went ahead yesterday, Wednesday, without incident. The balls chosen were as follows:

Saralegi-Eskudero: 106, 104.3 and 105.3g

Arretxe II-Ibai Zabala: 106.9, 104.8 and 104.8g

The game, which takes place at Labrit in Pamplona, will be shown on etb-sat on Saturday 27th March, along with a highly attractive curtain raiser between Martinez de Irujo-Eulate and Olaizola II-Apraiz. The broadcast starts at 18.05 and ends at 20.30. To watch, go to https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat

Iker Arretxe aims for a second title

Iker Arretxe aims for a second title

Image from: Gara