Tag Archives: Promocion Manomanista

Promocion Manomanista: champion Jaunarena eyes the bigtime

Saturday 30th June, Pamplona


Promocion Manomanista Final

Just as Aimar Olaizola confirmed his stellar 2012 form last weekend, another, younger, pelotari built upon his own wonderful year. Jon Jaunarena, twenty years old and a professional for a year and a half, won the Promocion Manomanista title to add to the Promocion Pairs he took with Cecilio in the spring. The Promocion championships are designed as the breeding ground for young players not yet ready for the dizzying heights and in Jaunarena they have produced a star both of the present and future. These results all but guarantee him a leg up into the limelight in the coming year and on his showing of Saturday he will handle the pressure with aplomb. His opponent was Joseba Ezkurdia, who since his debut last December has taken some notable scalps. The stage was set for him to seize a txapela in his neo-pro year, but Jaunarena, who is a year younger but possesses an extra year of experience, had too much in what proved an exciting battle.

Jaunarena was immense throughout and wore Ezkurdia down physically. His shooting ahead to 7-2 was a statement of intent and although his opponent managed to drag him back to parity at 11-11 and 14-14, he never lost his poise. This was a tough match with gruelling rallies, and Jaunarena brought boundless energy which Ezkurdia struggled to match. He tried to nullify Jaunarena’s serve with volleyed returns, but Jaunarena was so strong off both sides that as the match wore on he was constantly beaten back. Jaunarena edged ahead 17-15 and 18-16 before the floodgates opened, allowing him to take four points in a row to secure his second txapela of the year.

Both players are precious talents who must be brought on with care. Despite his loss here, Ezkurdia is clearly destined for great things but for the time being all eyes are on Jaunarena as he attempts the leap to the next level, another in a line of great pelotaris from the small Navarrese town of Leitza. Its citizens celebrated Manomanista victory in 2008 with Oinatz Bengoetxea; how long before Jaunarena gives them equal cause for joy?

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-2, 7-2, 7-3, 8-6, 10-7, 10-10, 11-11, 11-12, 12-12, 13-13, 14-14, 17-15, 18-16, 22-16

Winners/errors: Jaunarena 9/2, Ezkurdia 8/6

Service winners: Jaunarena 7, Ezkurdia 6

Match time: 56.04

Balls hit: 242

Ezkurdia labours past gutsy Untoria to set up clash with Jaunarena

Sunday 3rd June, Eibar


Promocion Manomanista Semi-Final

Joseba Ezkurdia completed the line up for the Promocion Manomanista final with a tough victory over Alvaro Untoria at Astelena on Sunday evening. The man from Arbizu, who has already taken so many scalps in his short career, was the clear favourite here despite the ankle injury which had forced the postponement of this match and put his championship in severe doubt. He tested his fitness late last week and declared his readiness to play, but despite appearing physically well in the match itself, he finished it in some discomfort. Untoria, bidding to give Rioja another finalist in what has been a golden year for them so far, refused to be bowed by Ezkurdia’s reputation as the next big thing and pushed him all the way, fighting back from 1-11 down to 15-15 and 18-18. Ezkurdia had just too much in the end, finishing the game with two service errors and a visible sigh of relief. He will play Jon Jaunarena, Promocion Pairs champion, in the final, in what promises to be a closely fought encounter. Aspe announced this morning that the final will be held off until 30th June (at Labrit) due to Ezkurdia’s ankle problems and a hand issue for Jaunerena.

Jaunarena by a hair’s breadth

Monday 28th May, Tolosa


Promocion Manomanista Semi Final

Jon Jaunarena last night became the first player to qualify for the Promocion Manomanista final, defeating Jose Javier Zabaleta 22-21 in a nail biter at Beotibar. Jaunarena, who has already tasted major success in 2012 in winning the Promocion Pairs with Cecilio, trailed for much of the game, having to come back from 4-11 down. Zabaleta, despite being a defender in the Pairs form of the game, serves with great vigour and often dominated as a result of this but Jaunarena refused to cave. After drawing level at 15-15 he proceeded to 20-15 and looked to have the game in the bag, but Zabaleta came back with great tenacity to 20-20, saving a match point at 21-20 before Jaunarena grabbed a last gasp win. Zabaleta will surely be disappointed to have come so close to his first final, but the young talent from Etxarren can take great heart that his form is coming on a pace after his return from a broken arm. He is a stunning prospect for the future. Jaunarena, only 20 in March, looks like the real deal, another star from the small town of Leitza which has already produced Bengoetxea VI and Barriola. He will play either Ezkurdia or Untoria for his second txapela of the year.

Scoring sequence:  0-1, 3-1, 3-9, 4-9, 4-11, 14-11, 14-13, 15-13, 15-15, 20-15, 20-20, 21-20, 21-21, 22-21.
Winners/errors: Jaunarena 11/6, Zabaleta 5/4
Service winners/errors: Jaunarena 7/2, Zabaleta 8/0
Match time: 64:21
Balls hit: 224
Botilleros: Antonion Jaunarena with his son Jon, and Fermín Escudero with Zabaleta

Tolosas fronton, Beotibar

Tolosa's fronton, Beotibar

Photo: mine

Illness and injury force postponements for Xala, Aimar and Ezkurdia

The Manomansia quarter finals between Xala and Irujo (scheduled for Sunday in Bilbao) and between Olaizola II and Retegi Bi (originally Monday in Tolosa) have both been postponed. Xala has flu and has been ruled out by the Aspe medical staff. His match will now take place at Bizkaia on Saturday 26th. Aimar Olaizola cannot play his match owing to an edema in his right arm. He and Julen Retegi will now meet on Sunday 27th in Pamplona.

Mishap has also befallen the Promocion Championship; Joseba Ezkurdia has sprained his ankle and his semi final against Alvaro Untoria will now take place on 3rd June rather that 27th May, at a fronton yet to be determined.

Manomanista wins for Gonzalez and Retegi Bi

Sebastien Gonzalez, who had to come from behind to beat Urrutikoetxea in the last round, took his win rather more comfortably this week, beating Pairs champion David Merino 22-14 in Bilbao. It was Merino’s first visit to Bizkaia since his remarkable triumph with Titin at the end of April and on this occasion it failed to prove such a happy hunting ground for the Riojan star. The first half of the match was extremely tight but from 12-10, Gonzalez forged ahead and had too many weapons for his opponent who defended manfully but could not keep him down. Merino came back in the latter part of the game but by then it was too late and it is Gonzalez who proceeds to the quarter finals, where he will face 2008 winner Oinatz Bengoetxea.

Meanwhile, at Beotibar in Tolosa, Retegi Bi made short work of Mikel Olaetxea. The Aspe forward took the match 22-8 and will now play Aimar Olaizola in the quarter finals. Olaetxea found himself in an almost perpetual defensive position and had no answer to the grip which Retegi asserted on the game, although to his credit he fought hard until the final ball.

Beotibar, scene of Julen Retegis triumph

Beotibar, scene of Julen Retegi's triumph

In the Promocion Championship, Ezkurdia beat Rico IV 22-6, Untoria beat Mendizabal III 22-16, Jaunarena beat Ibai Zabala 22-16 and Zabaleta beat Lemuno 22-10. In the semi finals, both of which take place on May 27th, Untoria plays Ezkurdia and Zabaleta plays Jaunarena.

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

Manomanista Round-Up

With the Pairs Final still fresh in the mind, the Manomanista Championship kicks off in earnest this week. There have already been various elimination matches for the right to a berth in the main draw. Last Friday, Aritz Lasa beat Aitor Zubieta, clearly lacking in match fitness, 22-4 in Altsasu. Yesterday he played Iker Arretxe in the first round proper, and triumphed 22-10. His next opponent will be Asier Olaizola. Aritz Begino was beaten by Arretxe in their play off, but finds himself back in the draw as a replacement for fellow Asegarce player Mikel Beroiz, who is still afflicted by the injuries he sustained in the Pairs semi finals. His prize is a first round match against Abel Barriola on Sunday. The other first round games are between Gonzalez and Urrutikoetxea (tonight, Orduna) and Olaetxea and Albisu (tomorrow, Tolosa). For the full draw, see ASPE’s website.

The early playoffs in the Promocion championship have also started. Asegarce have given Lemuno and Ibai Zabala passes into the main draw, but the others have to compete to join them. Earlier in April, Apraiz beat Aretxabaleta 22-5 but he was knocked out 22-10 by Rico IV subsequently. Mendizabal II beat Tainta 22-21 and takes on Untoria tomorrow. For ASPE, Gorka and Zabaleta won their opening qualifying matches, beating Ongay and Ladis Galarza respectively. Mendizabal III is also through, having beaten Miguel Merino 22-6. The coming games are between Gorka-Ezkurdia (Arbizu, tonight), Jaunarena-Larrinaga (Sunday) and Olazabal-Zabaleta (Sunday). For the full draw, see here.