The first round proper of the Manomanista Championship took place last weekend. Sebastien Gonzalez withdrew from his match against Mikel Urrutikoetxea before the event with an injury, meaning that the latter goes through unopposed. He plays Xala in the next round. Each of the three matches which went ahead was very different, one close, one reasonably decisive and one a thrashing.
The closest match came on Saturday in Pamplona where Mikel Beroiz beat Joseba Ezkurdia 22-18, striking a rare blow for the defenders. This was a stunning advertisement for the game, with two young players showing the full gamut of their skills. The protagonists were evenly matched for the most part, but it was Beroiz’ devastating use of the volley which gave him the edge, ensuring the pace of the game remained high forcing Ezkurdia into scrapping defence. Beroiz proceeds to the next stage where he will face Jon Ander Albisu in a match to be held tomorrow in Tolosa.
Abel Barriola saw off Iker Arretxe with reasonable ease, winning 22-11 in Legazpia on Friday. Arretxe began the stronger, racing to a 5-0 lead, but Barriola’s patience and experience allowed him entry back into the game. Once he caught and passed his opponent there was rarely any doubt as to who was the better on the day. This is the third time that Arretxe has fallen at the first hurdle in the Manomanista. Barriola plays Retegi Bi in the next round, in Pamplona on Saturday.
It was a triumph of youth over experience in Eibar on Sunday as Jon Jaunarena thrashed Asier Olaizola 22-3. It took last year’s Promocion champion less than twenty three minutes to dismantle Olaizola, winning seventeen straight points from 5-3 to storm to the win. Olaizola made many mistakes, handing Jaunarena gifts at will, but this is not to take away from the latter’s utter domination, a further sure sign that he is a champion in the making at the highest level. He will play newly crowned Pairs champion Zabaleta on Sunday for a place in the quarters.
For all Manomanista fixtures and results, see Asegarce.
In the Promocion Championship, Elezkano II beat Rico IV 22-16, Untoria beat Ladis Galarza 22-10, Lemuno beat Tainta 22-5 and Olazabal beat Apezetxea 22-16. The fixtures for the coming weekend are here.