Friday 16th December, Sestao
OLAIZOLA II – BEROIZ beat BERASALUZE VIII – ALBISU 22-10
Aimar Olaizola is likely to be the favourite in almost everything he enters just now and that was certainly the case here. He does not have a long history of playing with Mikel Beroiz, who only transferred to Asegarce from Aspe in the summer, but on the strength of a series of good results together including an exemplary campaign at the San Mateo tournament, they were paired together. This opening match assuaged any doubts as to the worthiness of the 22 year old Beroiz, who played a flawless match in support of his illustrious partner, raising their stock in this championship still further.
The pair in blue could not possibly has made a better start to their assault on the txapela, storming to a 7-0 lead with minimum of effort. Berasaluze started badly, gifting his opponents the first three points with unforced errors. Some might have complained more vociferously when in the fourth point Aimar unintentionally got in his way in hitting a winner to the corner, but Beraslauze knew he was beaten, nodded as if to acknowledge his opponent’s superiority and moved on. Aimar controlled the next two points with consummate assurance, demonstrating his tactical nouse as well as his ability to conjure winners of brilliance, and an Albisu error sealed their early dominance. The red pair managed their long overdue first point thanks mostly to a slight breakdown in communication from the favourites but they did not seize the chance presented to them to get back into the game as the blues built their lead to nine at 10-1.
It was not until the score stood at 2-11 that Berasaluze got into his stride, hinting at a possible comeback. Four winners in a row from the effervescent forward halved their deficit and the man from Berriz finally showed the crowd what he could do with two winners to the corner and a scintillating cross court airez followed by an unreturnable serve. It was thanks to Albisu, hitting high, that they could not capitalise on their new found momentum; while Beroiz hit powerfully and metronimically, the young debutante was inconsistent and ill at ease. Both pairs accumulated points in ones and twos in the next period of the match. Berasaluze’s determination and will prevented the points deficit from increasing, but he and Albisu could make no progress against the control of Aimar and the inpregnability of Beroiz. Two Berasaluze winners gave the underdogs some hope as they arrived at 10-15, but from there the floodgates opened and they failed to score further. Four of these points came from the hand of Aimar who was so much in the ascendency that he appeared almost nonchalant. A low strike from Berasaluze sealed the deal as Asegarce’s most fancied pairing chalked up their first win in some considerable style.
Scoring sequence: 0-7, 1-7, 1-10, 2-10, 2-11, 6-11, 6-12, 6-13, 8-13, 8-15, 10-15, 10-22.
Service winners/errors: Berasaluze 2/0, Olaizola 0/0
Winners/errors: Berasaluze 8/3, Olaizola 12/2, Albisu 0/5, Beroiz 2/0
Match time: 54:16 with 26:49 of actual play
Balls hit: 518