Tag Archives: Manomanista

Manomanista: Asier Olaizola makes short work of Aritz Lasa

Friday 11th May, Santo Domingo de la Calzada


Not much has been seen of Asier Olaizola recently, missing as he did the Pairs Championship, so it was anybody’s guess as to what he would bring to the table here. Aritz Lasa was more of a known quantity; although his Pairs campaign was less that brilliant, he looked utterly in control in beating a rusty Aitor Zubieta last week and on that performance he was surely the favourite on Friday. However, Lasa is nothing if not inconsistent and he endured a torrid evening against Olaizola, who proved that he can be a player in this tournament.

Lasa took the first point with a service winner but sadly for the man from Urretxu, this was to prove the high point of his match as he never led again. He played with great confidence to draw level with Olaizola at 2-2, bombing his opponent with high balls until he fell short, but thereafter it was a different story. Olaizola took the score from 2-2 to 8-3 in the blink of an eye, dominating both with the serve and in the more attritional rallies. He proved adept at creating space into which to hit clear winners, using the dos paredes twice to great effect. Lasa threatened a revival, coming to within two points at 6-8, thanks to a winner into space out wide and a beautifully placed cross court ball, but Olaizola replied with five straight points, consistently ruling the front of the playing area and sending his opponent back into desperate defence. Lasa managed three more points, two of those thanks to momentary lapses from Olaizola, but it was otherwise one way traffic for the remainder of the match as 14-9 became 22-9. Olaizola used his serve extremely effectively and almost never let Lasa into a tactical position of strength. When Lasa did have a chance at a winner, and a golden opportunity to build some momentum of his own, he blew the easy txoko winner. This was the final nail in the coffin as Olaizola marched on apace. A high strike from Lasa on 9-21 sealed his annihilation.

Asier Olaizola now joins his more illustrious younger brother in the quarter finals, where he will play Mikel Idoate on Sunday. On the strength of this display, he has a significant chance but Idoate will come at him full of determination with a place in the last four for the taking.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 5-2, 5-3, 8-3, 8-6, 13-6, 13-8, 14-8, 14-9, 22-9.

Winners/errors: Olaizola 12/4 with 3 service winners, Lasa 5/10 with no service winners

Manomanista wins for Gonzalez, Barriola, Olaetxea and Aritz Lasa

It seemed as if Sebastien Gonzalez’s bad year was about to continue when he found himself 5-17 down to Mikel Urrutikoetxea in Orduña on Friday night. The young Asegarce rising star had a golden opportunity here to beat a seasoned campaigner, having totally dominated the first half of the match. His serve gave him the advantage time and again as he went long, forcing Gonzalez onto the back foot before striking the killer blow, either immediately or by bombing him into submission. Urrutikoetxea looked calm and completely comfortable, Gonzalez flustered and down at the mouth. Even an incorrect call by the line judge failed to unsettle him, and any suggestion of Gonzalez coming back seemed ludicrous. However, the serve won back, the former Cuatro y Medio champion hit his stride in an extraordinary fashion, taking the next seventeen points in a row. He was able to do on serve what Urrutikoetxea had done to him and the younger man failed to find the courage to use the volley in order to change the flow of the traffic. Upon drawing level, Gonzalez simply kept going. Urrutikoetxea appealed in growing desperation to his botillero Pablo Berasaluze, but there was nothing he could do to galvanise his charge. There will be more chances to come in the career of Mikel Urrutikoetxea, but he will rue this missed chance. Gonzalez will now play David Merino on in the quarter finals on Saturday at Bizkaia.

Scoring sequence: 2-0, 2-10, 4-10, 4-15, 5-15, 5-17, 22-17.

Winners/errors: Gonzalez 13/3, Urrutikoetxea 9/1

Service winners/errors: Gonzalez 7/0, Urrutikoetxea 5/1

Match time: 49:49 with 9:57 of actual play

Balls hit: 206

Botilleros: Ramuntxo Muxika with Gonzalez and Pablo Berasaluze with Urrutikoetxea

Urrutikoetxea failed to turn his lead into victory

Urrutikoetxea failed to turn his lead into victory

Abel Barriola was the red hot favourite in Eibar on Sunday and while Aritz Begino put up a sturdy fight for a decent period, the Leitzarra took the spoils with ease. This match represented a second throw of the dice for Begino who had already been knocked out of the tournament by Iker Arretxe. He was reinserted when Mikel Beroiz was declared unfit to play and in the early exchanges it seemed as if he was determined to grab his lifeline with both hands. He took the lead from the start with two service winners in a row, and after shadowing Barriola closely, he nudged ahead again at 5-7. However, Barriola tied the game with a txoko and a serve and from there never looked back. Begino kept him firmly within reach for a time, and a wonderful defensive effort from deep followed by a cross court winner on 11-7 showed that he would not lie down without a fight. Unfortunately for him though, Barriola found another gear and pulled away. He was superior in every department in the second phase of the match, using his serve to great effect (despite two faltas) and controlling the front of the playing area so that Begino was forced back into desperate defence. A late flurry in the form of a ball over Barriola’s head and a service winner made the scoreline slightly more respectable but a falta put paid to any chance of a resurgence and Barriola took the tie with a txoko. He now takes on Martinez de Irujo in the same venue on Sunday.

Scoring sequence: 0-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-5, 5-7, 11-7, 11-9, 12-9, 12-10, 13-10, 13-11, 20-11, 20-13, 22-13.

Winners/errors: Barriola 13/6, Begino 7/9

Service winners/errors: Barriola 3/2, Begino 4/2

Match time: 49:16 with 10:21 of actual play

Balls hit: 186

In the weekend’s other first round matches, Mikel Olaetxea won a 22-21 nail biter against Jon Ander Albisu in Tolosa on Saturday, and Aritz Lasa came through easily against Iker Arretxe, taking their match in Legazpi 22-10. They will now play Retegi Bi and Olaizola I respectively.

In the Promocion Manomanista Ekurdia beat Gorka 22-9, Mendizabal III beat Merino I 22-6 and Zabaleta beat Olazabal 22-10. Jaunarena progressed automatically due to an injury to Larrinaga. The quarter finals, which all take place on Sunday, are Rico IV v Ezkurdia, Untoria v Mendizabal III, Ibai Zabala v Jaunarena and Lemuno v Zabaleta.

A win for Aitor Mendizabal

A win for Aitor Mendizabal

Images: mine

2012 Manomanista Championship presented

The 2012 Manomanista Championship was presented earlier this week at the headquarters of La Caixa in Bilbao. The pelotaris representing each empresa are as follows:

For Asegarce: Olaizola II, Bengoetxea VI, Olaizola I, Urrutikoetxea, Beroiz, Albisu and Olaetxea

For Aspe: Xala, Idoate, Mtz. de Irujo, Retegi BI, González, Merino II and Barriola

The first round will begin on 6th May, with the final on 17th June. Each empresa will also hold play offs for the chance to enter the draw and these began this weekend. On the Asegarce side, Arretxe II won a place by beating Begino 22-8 today. For Aspe, Aritz Lasa came from behind last night to beat Ezkurdia 22-17. He will now face Zubieta for a place in the main draw. The groups look like this:

Group A: Barriola v Beroiz, winner plays Irujo, winner plays Xala

Group B: Arretxe II v Zubieta or Aritz Lasa, winner plays Olaizola I, winner plays Idoate

Group C: Gonzalez v Urrutikoetxea, winner plays Merino II, winner plays Bengoetxea VI

Group D: Olaetxea v Albisu, winner plays Retegi Bi, winner plays Olaizola II

For the full timetable see here

Manomanista Championship: Irujo destroys Xala

Saturday 18th April
Labrit, Pamplona

Yves Salaberry, known in sporting terms as Xala, stood bodily in the path of a hurricane on Friday night. That hurricane originated in Ibero and made its way to Labrit to wreak havoc in the form of one Juan Martinez de Irujo, pelotari supreme. Xala must have come into this match with some confidence, despite the reputation of his opponent. The man from Lekuine played an excellent pairs championship, despite his lack of defensive support hindering his chances of making the knockout stages, and Irujo, while brilliant, can be eminently beatable. Nobody, least of all Xala, can have expected this.

Xala started well, his strong left arm winning him the first point, but Irujo, amazingly, won the next twenty. He was unable to do anything as Irujo served with aplomb, volleyed brilliantly and used the two walls as his play things. Only in the dying moments of the match did Xala manage to offer any kind of meagre resistance, winning three points in a row to save a little face. Irujo has won the Manomanista title on two previous occasions, in 2004 and 2006, and few would bet a large sum against him here. There will be sterner tests ahead but on the strength of this performance, he must surely be the man to fear. The only slight worry for Irujo came in the penultimate play of the match when he twisted his ankle. However, the injury is not thought to be serious and he hopes to resume training on Monday or Tuesday. He has until 3rd May to prepare for his quarter final against Sebastian Gonzalez, to whom he lost last year at the same stage. Gonzalez will need to muster all his resources if that result is to be repeated.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-20, 4-20, 4-22.

Martinez de Irujo: unstoppable

Martinez de Irujo: unstoppable

Manomanista Championship webcasts this weekend

Friday 17th April
23:30 (CET) LEIZA v PATXI RUIZ (third round)

Live on ETB-Sat

Preceeded at 22:10 (CET) by a doubles match between Bengoetxea VI/Mendizabal II and Gonzalez/Laskurain


Sunday 19th April
18:05 (CET) BELOKI v AGIRRE (third round)
Live on ETB-Sat

Preceeded by a doubles match between Berasaluze IX/Goni III and Olazabal/Pascual at 17:00 (CET)

The other championship match this weekend, that between Martinez de Irujo and Xala on Saturday, will not be shown on the web.

Inigo Leiza

Inigo Leiza

Photo from: Asegarce

Manomaninsta Championship: Agirre crushes Laskurain

Monday 6th April
Beotibar, Tolosa

The citizens of Tolosa did not seem to have match enthusiasm for this encounter and the 200 afficionados might have been forgiven for wishing they had spent their evening elsewhere, for this was a parade rather than a match. The scoreboard tells the tale of a game which was all about Imanol Agirre.

Agirre was Aritz Laskurain’s superior in every possible department. The Bizkaian raced to a 5-0 lead as the game began, his only lapse coming in letting his rival level the scores. Laskurain showed some promise in winning five straight points and then working his way to 7-7, but it was to end there for the man from Soraluze as Agirre stormed to the victory with 15 unanswered points. Agirre served solidly and defended excellently, turning every position in which he found himself into one of attack. Laskurain had no answer to the unbreachable wall his opponent built with every shot. Relentless pressure told as he committed a total of seven unforced errors to Agirre’s one. Laskurain missed this championship last year through injury and he barely made more impression here.

Agirre will progress to the second round where he will meet Penagarikano at the same venue on Saturday.

Scoring sequence: 5-0, 5-5, 7-5, 7-7 and 22-7.

Source: Diario Vasco

Aritz Laskurain: out for the count

Aritz Laskurain: out for the count

Manomanista Championship: Urberuaga upsets the form book in defeat of Retegi Bi

Saturday 4th April

Labrit, Pamplona


Julen Retegi was the undisputed favourite at Labrit on Saturday as he faced Xabier Urberuaga in the first round of the Manomanista Championship. Retegi surely hoped he could take his first footsteps on the path of his great father, Julian, who won this tournament an astonishing eleven times between 1980 and 1993 but in his way stood Urberuaga, who had obviously committed to mind the adage that it is never over until the fat lady sings.

From the outset, Urberuaga, winner of the second division title in 2007, showed that he would be no pushover for the young pretender and he was soon up 8-3. However, Retegi showed his growing maturity in bringing his impressive armoury of resources to bear, and took the match to 8-8, then 12-8 and 19-8. Especially impressive were his left arm and his serve. His father, playing botillero, must have been well pleased.

However, things were to change in emphatic style. Urberuaga found his rhythm and never looked back, playing like a man possessed to pass and crush the dreams of his rival. Retegi managed only one further point as Urberuaga cruised past him at barely a canter to reach victory at 22-19. It was a triumph based on hard work, sweat, toil and determination for the man from Aulesti, who also exhibited a veritable pick and mix of shot making prowess. Retegi for his part looked one dimensional; he was impressive with his left but power elsewhere seemed lacking. Still, there are many years ahead for the talented son of his famous father, and surely much success too. Urberuaga will face Aritz Begino next Sunday for a place in the third round.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 5-2, 5-3, 8-3, 8-12, 9-12, 9-18, 17-18, 17-19 and 22-19

Sources: Diario Vasco, El Correo

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino

Manomanista Championship first round webcasts

Despite the fact that we are still recovering from the tension of the pairs final on Sunday, the Manomanista Championship (singles) is upon as already. There is no rest for the pelotaris or the fans! The first round begins on Friday 3rd April (today!) and the opening match, as well as that on Sunday, will be shown on the web via ETB-Sat (select ‘Pelota Mano’ from the ‘Live Pelota’ link in the bar at the top of the page).

Friday 3rd April


This will be preceeded by a doubles match: 22:30 (CET) TITIN III – BEROIZ v ARITZ LASA – GONI III

Sunday 5th April

Astelena, Eibar, 17:00 (CET) PASCUAL v ZUBIETA

Followed by a doubles match: 18:00 (CET) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – GALARZA VI v LASA – BARRIOLA

The manomanista matches which are not being shown on the web are as follows:

Saturday 4th April, Pamplona: URBERUAGA v RETEGI BI

Sunday 5th April, Tolosa: AGIRRE v LASKURAIN


Aitor Zubieta

Aitor Zubieta

Manomanista Championship presentation on Tuesday

On Tuesday 31st March, the opening presentation of the 2009 Manomanista Championship will take place at Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa. The selected competitors from both the empresas will be presented to the media in the presence of representatives from BBK, the sponsors of the tournament, and LEP.M.

The defending manomanista champion is Oinatz Bengoetxea, the 24 year old from Leitza who won his title by defeating Abel Barriola, who also hails from Leitza, on a day when the Navarrese town ruled pelota. Barriola will be back this year in an attempt to turn the tables. Other likely favourites include Juan Martinez de Irujo and Aimar Olaizola, who face each other in the pairs final on Sunday.

Bengoetxea and Barriola, rivals in 2008

Bengoetxea and Barriola, rivals in 2008

Image from: http://www.gara.net/Repository/Imagenes/Pub_7/Issue_1808/EgunHorif01.jpg

Manomanista: Koka and Zubieta to play off for championship place

On Saturday at Labrit, Juantxo Koka from Asegarce and Aitor Zubieta from Aspe will play each other to decide which will gain a place in the draw for the Manomanista Championship. Koka is no stranger to the individual championship, having been runner up to Mikel Goni in 1997. Last year however, he lost to Aritz Begino at the second stage. Zubieta was also an early loser last year, going down to Martinez de Eulate in the opening round. Each will relish his chance to reach the championship and gain the chance to do better this year. The match will not be webcast but will be broadcast on Telecinco in Spain.

In other news, reigning Manomanista champion Oinatz Bengoetxea was in imperious form on Monday in Tolosa. The 24 year old from Leitza was the best performer on show as he and Oier Zearra defeated fellow Asegarce pair Patxi Ruiz and Inigo Leiza 22-10.

Juantxo Koka

Juantxo Koka

Image from: http://www.diariodenavarra.es/actualidad/20080218/fotos/2008021802395810_375.jpg