Saturday 30th June, Pamplona
JAUNARENA beat EZKURDIA 22-16
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