Tag Archives: Pairs 2nd Tier

Wins for Irujo-Barriola, Olaizola II-Beroiz and Titin-Merino as Pairs Championship hots up


A narrow loss to Titin and Merino last week aside, Berasaluze and Albisu had been going excellently in recent rotations. They must surely have come into this match at a teeming Idiazabal with high hopes of toppling Irujo and Barriola, who were looking to stave off a third loss on the bounce. However, in a match which was not always pretty, the favourites battled from 2-6 to 15-8 and maintained a comfortable margin to the end. Irujo clearly had the better of Berasaluze, who was too error prone to maintain any lasting pressure. He managed nine winners to three errors, and while his forward rival beat him nine times, he also lapsed on seven occasions. The defenders were slightly more evenly matched, but the figures give an accurate indication of a Barriola who was more in control than his young counterpart Albisu. Irujo and Barriola rise to second, while Berasaluze and Albisu slip below them into third.

Scoring sequence: 1-0/5-1/6-2/7/8-15/10-15/11-17/13-18/13-22

Winners/errors: Irujo 9/3, Berasaluze 9/7, Barriola 2/1, Albisu 0/3

Match time: 52 minutes with 21 minutes of actual play. Balls hit: 449

OLAIZOLA II-BEROIZ v ARITZ LASA-PASCUAL* Suspended at 14-9 due to an injury to Pascual

Aitor Zubieta was replaced by Inigo Pascual in Tolosa due to an injured hand, and it was extraordinary bad luck for he and partner Aritz Lasa that his replacement succumbed to a strained back soon after. Lasa and Zubieta badly need points and this misfortune robbed them of any chance, though in reality a win against the top pair would have been unlikely. Neither has it done much for their points difference; while Olaizola and Beroiz had begun to accelerate away when the injury occurred, they were not completely out of the running and would likely have minimised the damage at the least. As it is, Olaizola and Beroiz now have their seventh win and stay resolutely on top, while Lasa and Zubieta only have two and are second from bottom.


Arretxe and Begino travelled to Logrono with a mountain to climb if they wished to secure their first win of the competition. Titin and Miguel Merino, playing in place of his brother David who has an injured hand, were the favourites here and had the added advantage of a home Riojan crowd. The underdogs started well and tracked their rivals closely before drawing alongside them at 8-8. Begino showed some of his true class early on, taking the game to Merino but when the latter found his form, Begino had Little answer.Titin was far more potent tan Arretxe, who continues to appear rather out of his depth in the top flight.

Scoring sequence: 4-0/ 4/ 7-4/ 7-5/ 7/ 8-7/ 8/ 14-8/ 14-9/ 16-9/ 16-10/ 20-10/ 20-11/ 21-12/ 22-12

Winners/errors: Titin 12/2, Arretxe 8/4, Merino 2/2, Begino 1/4

Match time: 56 minutes, Balls hit: 488

Titin III out did Arretxe II with ease

Titin III out did Arretxe II with ease

In the Promocion Championship, Urrutikoetxea-Otxandorena* beat Gorka-Arruti 22-13, Mendizabal III-Penagarikano beat Lemuno-Aretxabaleta 22-14, Apezetxea*-Larrinaga beat Tainta-Mendizabal II* 22-10, and Ongay*-Cecilio beat Rico IV-Untoria 22-17.









1 Jaunarena-Cecilio 5 4 1 102 70 32
2 Olazabal-Larrinaga 5 4 1 94 74 20
3 Urrutikoetxea-Iza 5 3 2 97 86 11
4 Rico-Untoria 5 3 2 101 100 1
5 Mendizabal III-Ladis Galarza 5 2 3 87 101 -14
6 Gorka-Arruti 5 2 3 72 99 -27
7 Tainta-Argote 5 1 4 84 99 -15
8 Lemuno-Aretxabaleta 5 1 4 80 99 -19

Photo: mine

Pairs Championship on ETB Sat, 11th-13th February

Friday 11th February, Urduliz

22:25 (CET) APEZETXEA – CECILIO v DIAZ – IZA 2nd Tier Pairs 7th rotation (Diaz replaces Urrutikoetxea, who has an injured hand)

Followed by BERASALUZE VIII – APRAIZ v GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN Pairs Championship 7th rotation

Sunday 13th February, Logrono

17:10 (CET) OLAZABAL – LADIS GALARZA v OLAETXEA – ALBISU 2ND Tier Pairs, 7th rotation

Followed by TITIN III – PASCUAL v OLAIZOLA II – BEGINO Pairs Championship 7th rotation


To watch, go to https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat/en-directo

The other Pairs Championship matches this weekend are both on Saturday, and are between XALA/BARRIOLA and BENGOETXEA VI/PATXI RUIZ (Pamplona), and MARTINEZ DE IRUJO/MERINO II and OLAIZOLA I/BELOKI (Tafalla)

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

Matches on the web this weekend

Friday 22nd January, Irun

22:00 (CET) ARRETXE II – IBAI ZABALA v ARITZ LASA – MERINO 2nd Tier Pairs Championship

23:20 (CET) BERASALUZE VIII – BEGINO v XALA – ZUBIETA Pairs Championship

Saturday 23rd January, Pamplona


Sunday 24th January, Logrono



*Inaki Otxandorena replaces Ruben Beloki, who has a knee injury. Beloki has been suffering from non-specific knee pain which has been diagnosed as a bone edema. He is expected to be out for two to three weeks, according to Asegarce.

This week’s other Pairs Championship match takes place on Monday 25th January at 17:30 in Tolosa, where OLAIZOLA I – PATXI RUIZ play GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN.

The pick of this round of matches in the Pairs Championship is undoubtedly Saturday’s encounter which pits Juan Martinez de Irujo against Aimar Olaizola. Matches between the two great forwards are always highly anticipated affairs, and many eyes will also be on young Mikel Beroiz, who made great strides last week, in his fight with Oier Mendizabal in defence. Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino should start as favourites tonight in Irun, having run Irujo and Beroiz extremely close last week, while the focus in Logrono will be on the role of Inaki Otxandorena who stands in for the injured Ruben Beloki. Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz will be buoyed by last week’s victory and have the potential to make life hard for Cuatro y Medio champion Sebastien Gonzalez, and Aritz Laskurain.

For live coverage, visit https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat

Pelota on ETB-Sat this weekend

Friday 15th January, Getaria

23:25 (CET)  TITIN III – PASCUAL v OLAIZOLA I – PATXI RUIZ Pairs Championship Quarter Finals

As the Pairs Championship enters its second week, Titin and Pascual will be hot favourites in Getaria. Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz looked disorganised and rusty last weekend against Irujo and Beroiz, while today’s opponents pulled off a terrific win against Aimar Olaizola and Oier Mendizabal.

Saturday 16th January, Pamplona

18:05 (CET) GONZALEZ – LASKURAIN v BENGOETXEA VI – BELOKI Pairs Championship Quarter Finals

Oinatz Bengoetxea and Ruben Beloki will be the favourites in Pamplona. Last week they defeated Xala and Zubieta comprehensively with Bengoetxea especially outstanding. However, Sebastien Gonzalez and Aritz Laskurain, who lost their opening match to Berasaluze VIII and Begino, will be determined to get their championship back on track here. This could be an intriguing encounter.

Sunday 17th January, Eibar

16:55 (CET) BERASALUZE IX – LARRINAGA v URRUTIKOETXEA – ARGOTE 2nd Tier Pairs Championship Quarter Finals

18:00 (CET) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – BEROIZ v BERASALUZE VIII – BEGINO Pairs Championship Quarter Finals

Astelena is in for an exciting evening on Sunday. To whet the appetite there is an intriguing match from the 2nd tier pairs competition, which pits neo-pro Larrinaga, along with Asier Berasaluze, against the two finalists from last year’s 2nd Tier Cuatro y Medio Championship. Following this is a main course featuring an exciting forward battle between mano king Juan Martinez de Irujo and the irrepresible Pablo Berasaluze, who was on great form last week against Gonzalez and Laskurain.

Monday’s Pairs Championship game (18:00, Mungia) is between OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II and XALA – ZUBIETA. I will post any broadcast information for this when it becomes available.

To watch any of these matches, visit https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat

Oinatz Bengoextea will look to maintain his good form

Oinatz Bengoextea will look to maintain his good form

Image from: Diario de Navarra

2nd Tier Pairs Championship presented in Bilbao

Today at the headquarters of BBK in Bilbao, the participants for the 2nd Tier Pairs Championship were revealed. They are as follows:

For Asegarce: Urritkoetxea – Argote, Saralegi – Eskudero, Arretxe II – Ibai Zabala, Diaz – Apraiz

For Aspe: Berasaluze IX – Larrinaga, Olazabal – Arruti, Aritz Lasa – Merino, Retegi Bi – Cecilio

The tournament starts on Friday in Getaria where Saralegi and Eskudero play Olazabal and Arruti in the first of the Quarter Final league matches. For the full schedule visit the Asegarce website.

Last year’s tournament was won by Asier Berasaluze with Xabier Urberuaga. Berasaluze returns to defend his title but this time with a new partner, Inaki Larrinaga, who only made his professional debut on Saturday.

Berasaluze IX defends his title

Berasaluze IX defends his title

 Image from: Deia, Source: Asegarce