Tag Archives: Zarautz

Zarautz Final: Oinatz and Patxi at a Canter

Tuesday 17th August, Zarautz


Torneo de Villa de Zarautz Final

The healthy crowd which forwent the various other pleasures of Zarautz in summer must have left Aritzbatalde with more than a twinge of disappointment last night. The performances of the two pairs in their respective semi finals hinted at a close match, with San Fermin winners Oinatz Bengoetxea and Patxi Ruiz pitted against the continuing phenomenon that is Xala in 2010. However, the reality turned out to be somewhat different, with Xala and Beroiz barely extending their opponents due a great deal of streaky and haphazard play, especially from the former. Bengoetxea and Ruiz left as deserved winners, putting barely a foot wrong, but in reality we had hoped for so much more.

The tone for the performance of the pair in red was set from the very outset, with three errors in the first three points from Beroiz, who looked on edge and ill at ease. Xala restored some semblance of calm with a txoko in the fourth point, but the rot continued as miscommunication between him and Beroiz handed Oinatz a winner he perhaps did not deserve, before the forward missed the front wall on the rebound of a high ball. At 5-1 to the blue pair, the die was already cast.

Xala and Beroiz picked up points in ones and twos as the match went on, only stringing together a sequence of four late in the game when there was no hope of reprieve. Xala, for all his faults, scored seven winners, offering several reminders of his dizzying reputation, notably a fizzing gantxo at 11-19, but eight errors is beyond the pail for a forward of his calibre. Beroiz steadied somewhat after his opening debacle and defended solidly, showing nerve under the high ball and an astute sense of positioning, but he could not rescue the sinking ship. The second key passage of play came with the score at 8-4 to Oinatz and Patxi. At this juncture the gap was bridgeable; the red pair had settled a little and had exerted some good pressure on Patxi Ruiz, but five errors in a row put the nail in the coffin of any proposed comeback. Bengoetxea kick started this particular rot with a dos paredes at full stretch, which Xala prodded wide. Beroiz then his carelessly high, before three misdirected shots in a row from Xala, the first of which was unforgivably tame. At 4-13, they needed a miracle. They rallied a little, closing to 8-14, with Xala showing signs of life, but there was no way back.

While Xala and Beroiz increased their score in small steps, Oinatz and Patxi kept the scoreboard ticking relentlessly. In truth, Oinatz was never put to much of a test but he handled the job in hand with superb ease, registering seven winners and no errors. He mixed his shots well, displaying his sharp cross court game as well his defter touch, and as is his wont, he defended like a terrier, frequently turning apparently hopeless positions into ones of strength. Patxi was as solid as one could hope from a first class defender, and he was also pleasingly inventive, pulling off three winners which showed excellent spatial awareness. He also acted as the perfect cover for his partner when Xala managed to manoeuvre Oinatz out wide. 

Oinatz and Patxi, both of whom have struggled for form at various times this year, deserved this victory, their second in the round of summer festivals, and they looked justly delighted. Xala, who has conversely been excellent for most of the year, will put this behind him as a bad day and march on, ever the dangerous opponent. San Sebastian will offer new challenges for both he and Oinatz, both of whom play with partners from the opposite empresa. This is an enticing prospect, and we live in hope that the play will match the promise.

Scoring sequence: 0-3, 1-3, 1-5, 2-5, 2-6, 3-6, 3-8, 4-8, 4-13, 6-13, 6-14, 8-14, 8-19, 12-19, 12-22.

Winners/errors: Bengoetxea VI 7/0, Xala 7/8, Patxi Ruiz 3/3, Beroiz 2/4

No sweat for Patxi Ruiz

No sweat for Patxi Ruiz

Image from Manista, by Carlos Zuluaga

Zarautz: The Final on ETB-Sat, 17th August 2010

Tuesday 17th August, Zarautz


Followed by: XALA – BEROIZ v BENGOETXEA VI – PATXI RUIZ Torneo de Villa de Zarautz Final

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

Please note that the final actually takes place earlier in the evening, at around 18:00 (CEST) so if you do not wish to know the result before you watch, stay away from all news sources!

Zarautz: Oinatz and Patxi battle to final berth

Sunday 15th August, Zarautz


Torneo de Villa de Zarautz Semi Final

On Sunday night, recent San Fermin winners Oinatz Bengoetxea and Patxi Ruiz confirmed their fine form by taking the second semi final in Zarautz. They will now meet Xala and Beroiz in the final, which takes place tomorrow. The game was tight and fluctuating, with neither side asserting full dominance until the blue team’s final push for the line.

In the early part of the encounter, Berasaluze and Apraiz set the pace as the eventual victors played a game of catch up. An error apiece from the red pair gave Bengoetxea and Patxi their first two points, but they soon found themselves trailing 2-5, courtesy of three winners from Berasaluze and a golden but rather fluky shot from Apraiz, who was also tactically instrumental in his partner’s successes. They clawed their way back to 5-5 however as Apraiz temporarily lost his mojo, going wide and then long, and Bengoetxea, conversely, found his touch. In reaction, Berasaluze and Apraiz surged forwards once more, aided by the latter’s excellent use of the long ball against Patxi. At 5-9 down, Bengoetxea and Patxi gathered themselves again and once more achieved parity, this time at 10-10. Bengoetxea showed his class here, probing the gaps, serving with verve and dominating his forward opponent. He almost took the next point with an opportunist flick into space out wide, but it missed the line, and Berasaluze hit home his newfound advantage with a gantxo winner.

At this juncture, the balance of power turned; Bengoetxea and Patxi again reacted to the points deficit but this time drew level and kept going, turning 10-12 into 16-12. Bengoetxea followed his third service winner with a gantxo, and also wrong footed Berasaluze with a tap into the corner, showing the full range of his skill. The difference between the defenders became more apparent in this second phase of the game, with Patxi ever more secure and Apraiz leaking more points than was ideal. The latter boosted his flagging spirit with an excellent rebote to bring the gap back down to two, and when Patxi struck high in the next point there was renewed hope for the reds, now only 16-17 down. A miscued service return from Bengoetxea brought the match back to level pegging once again however, and this time, when the blue couple seized control there was no looking back. Bengoetxea raised his game to a new level, with two uncompromising winners into the corner, followed by a service winner, before Berasaluze, perhaps sensing that the die was cast, misjudged a ball from close range.

Neither pair looked wholly comfortable, and although there were myriad long rallies, neither forward looked to have the flow of which they are capable. Bengoetxea and Berasaluze managed eleven winners apiece, but the former was the more consistent, and the more astute. Apraiz was at times impressive, and often played the long ball with aplomb, but he lacked the dogged consistency of Patxi, making six errors to his opponent’s two. The victors can and will up their game in tomorrow’s final, where Xala and Beroiz will present a significantly greater challenge.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 3-1, 3-2, 5-2, 5-5, 9-5, 9-6, 10-6, 10-10, 12-10, 12-16, 13-16, 15-16, 15-17, 16-17, 17-18, 18-18, 18-22.

Winners: Bengoetxea VI 11, Berasaluze VIII 11, Patxi Ruiz 1, Apraiz 3

Errors: Bengoetxea VI 2, Berasaluze VIII 4, Patxi Ruiz 2, Apriz 6

Bengoetxea VI: job done

Bengoetxea VI: job done

Image from: Diario Vasco, Jose Mari Lopez

Zarautz: Xala the talisman in first semi-final

Friday 13th August, Zarautz


Torneo de Villa de Zarautz Semi Final

Yves Salaberry, it seems, cannot stop winning. He and Mikel Beroiz were the probable favourites here, Xala having been paired with the young defender after injury ruled Martinez de Irujo out of the tournament. He would have played with fellow pairs champion Aitor Zubieta, which would have been the more enticing prospect, but such was the potency of Xala that his play was too much for Aritz Lasa regardless of the identity of his partner. His eighth consecutive victory carried his pair to the final, where they will be hard to brush aside.

Xala was the clear difference between the sides. His game was not without blemish, to which is seven errors attest, but when a whopping seventeen winners are thrown into the mix, such a mistake count seems insignificant. Beroiz supported him ably, but in reality everything hinged on the star from Lekuine. Aritz Lasa, the second tier Manomanista champion, is not a regular visitor to the summer festivals, the stamping ground of the elite, but he held his own, making only two outright errors. He was, however, far less incisive that his opposite number. Zubieta played with his customary fluidity and presented problems for the eventual winners, but he was powerless to stop the march of Xala, who was in no mood for compromise.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 4-1, 4-3, 9-3, 9-5, 11-5, 11-9, 12-9, 12-10, 14-10, 14-11, 15-12, 15-14, 19-14, 19-16, 20-16, 20-19, 22-19

Winners: Xala 17, Aritz Lasa 6, Beroiz 0, Zubieta 3

Errors: Xala 7, Aritz Lasa 2, Beroiz 3, Zubieta 2

Source: Diario de Navarra

Yves Salaberry: on fire

Yves Salaberry: on fire

Image from: Noticias de Alava

Torneo de Villa de Zarautz: Irujo out, ETB-Sat schedules

It is all change at the Torneo de Villa de Zarautz, owing to a hand injury to Manomanista Champion Juan Martinez de Irujo, who will now not play. The pain, sited in the third finger and base of the fourth finger of his left hand, manifested itself on Sunday in Vitoria-Gasteiz. He is undergoing physiotherapy and massage, but a test on the fronton yesterday confirmed that he would be unable to play in Zarautz. He is expected to be out of action for five days.

This means that the Aspe line up for the Zarautz tournament will now look very different. Xala and Zubieta, the Pairs Champions, were to have played together but Xala now moves to partner Beroiz in place of Irujo. Aritz Lasa comes in to play with Zubieta.

The broadcast schedules for the weekend are as follows:

Friday 13th August, Zarautz



Sunday 15th August, Zarautz



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

The beautiful coastline of Zarautz

The beautiful coastline of Zarautz

Image from: kortazar.com

Torneo de Villa de Zarautz, 13-17 August 2010

Hot on the heels of the Virgen Blanca, the Torneo de Villa de Zarautz commences in the seaside town on Friday. The opening match will be between MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – BEROIZ and XALA – ZUBIETA, reunited after playing against each other in the Virgen Blanca final. On Sunday, BERASALUZE VIII – APRAIZ play BENGOETXEA VI – PATXI RUIZ. The final is on Tuesday 17th. Each evening of matches will commence at 17:00 (CEST), and I will publish broadcast schedules in due course.

4 1/2: Gonzalez upsets Irujo in Zarautz

Saturday 7th November, Zarautz: GONZALEZ beat MARTINEZ DE IRUJO 22-19

The first encounter of the Cuatro y Medio semi-finals went against the head in Zarautz last Friday as Sebastian Gonzalez got the better of tournament favourite Juan Martinez de Irujo. It was a thrilling match, played in front of an enthusiastic and vociferous crowd. Both participants moved the ball with speed and power and played excellently in defence. Gonzalez, against expectations, managed to keep his nose ahead for the whole match, building up an excellent start which saw him take a 7-1 lead. Irujo ran him closer as the game progressed and played many excellent shots, but in the final analysis it was Gonzalez who showed the greater finesse.

Scoring sequence: 1-7/3-7/3-8/ 5-10/ 12-13/ 13-14/ 14-18/ 15-20/ 19-20/ 19-22

Source: ASPE

Irujo and Gonzalez did battle in Zarautz

Image from: Diario Vasco

Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final: Aimar delivers a masterclass as Bengoetxea VI and Begino crumble

Tuesday 18th August
Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final

Zarautz, which has the longest beach in Euskadi, is renowned more for surfing than pelota but for the past few days, the latter has ruled the town. Four pairs, two each from ASPE and Asegarce, arrived at the seaside for a tournament of great quality, featuring great pelotaris in flying form. Both of the partnerships who contested the final had won their first matches with ease and expectations were high last night for a gripping showdown. Much of the pre match talk was about a duel between Aritz Begino and Aimar Olaizola, both of whom have been scintillatingly good in recent weeks, but in the final analysis, it was the latter that shone, dismantling ruthlessly the game of the former in a show of breathtaking strength and tactical intelligence.

The match started as the fans would have wished; for sixteen points there was no clear favourite as both pairs traded blows. There were slight indications that Aimar’s form might not be holding as he hit low twice in the first three points, clearly disgusted with himself, but the forward battle turned into an enthralling one. Both Aimar and Oinatz took the ball with startling pace and went at each other with remarkable verve in a series of furious volleys. Such was the determination of each to break the other that when Aimar hit a txoko winner at 5-2, both were sprawled on the floor. As they traded winners, both clenched their fists and roared in delight. At this stage, the defenders also appeared much of a muchness. Both committed errors but also returned with aplomb from the back of the fronton. Oier was in part responsible for the ASPE comeback from 6-2 down to 8-6 up as he miscued on three occasions after the time out, which perhaps disrupted his rhythm.

Although Bengoetxea and Begino had all the momentum in the second quarter of the match, affairs were all tied at 8-8 and one sensed the game needed someone to grab it by the horns. It was Aimar, now sliding with ease into a higher gear, who stepped forward. In effect, two almost identical points turned the direction of the game on its head. Aimar is renowned for the brutal strength of his left arm and two successive crosscourt airez winners induced collective gasps from the large crowd; the man from Goizueta meant business. The Asegarce pair surged forward to a 9-8 lead and never gave their opponents a further look in. If the relentless march of Aimar and Oier was started by means of Aimar’s strength, it was maintained chiefly by the same player’s tactical skill. Olaizola has always been singled out as a superb reader of the game and he sensed Begino’s less than solid defence, which he set about exploiting by means of successive long balls and fast, spiralling serves. From 11-10, they won nine points in a row to take the title at a canter. The pressure on Begino, who made a string of errors, seemed to manifest itself in his partner too. Oinatz, in his usual fashion, fought to the death but was clearly rattled by his inability to make any inroads into the score line. While Aimar trapped him and swallowed him up at the front, Oier played the perfect foil, hitting freely and relentlessly. While the eventual victors formed an unbreakable team, the vanquished fell apart; as Aimar and Oier marched to 20-10, neither of their opponents ran for a ball which Aimar nonchalantly swiped into an empty court. Oinatz protested to Begino and the heavens but it was all in vain. Two more Begino errors and that was that.

Pundits and fans alike expected much of Aimar Olaizola here and he delivered on all fronts. The six time major championship winner has now won three titles since his defeat in the Manomanista Final and has beaten his conqueror there, Juan Martinez de Irujo, three times. He must surely wish the Cuatro y Medio Championship would come sooner for in this sort of form, defeat there would be an upset. Oier Mendizabal too is riding the crest of a wave, appearing as solidity personified. Bengoetxea and Begino will doubtless feel downhearted but they have acquitted themselves well. Bengoetxea appears to have cast off much of the ring rustiness of his finger injury and Begino must forget this final and remember his earlier achievements. There is little shame in defeat to a rampant Olaizola II and his brick wall of a partner in crime.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 6-2, 6-3, 6-8, 7-8, 11-8, 11-9, 11-10, 12-10 and 22-10.

Oier and Aimar: dominant in Zarautz

Oier and Aimar: dominant in Zarautz

Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final, Tuesday 18th August

The final of the Torneo Villa de Zarautz will take place tomorrow evening and will be between Olaizola IIMendizabal II and Bengoetxea VIBegino. Olaizola and Mendizabal must surely be the favourites; Aimar is in hotter form than he has been all year. The man from Goizueta has beaten Irujo on each of their three meetings since the Manomanista Final and in the semi final here almost single handedly annihilated Gonzalez and Pascual in a 22-3 rout. With Oinatz Bengoetxea still not back to full match fitness after a month off with a finger injury, Aimar will be hard to tame. Bengoetxea and Begino did however win their semi final, against Titin III and Goni III, 22-14 at something of a canter. Oinatz outplayed a below par Titin while Begino had the best of the defensive play and they are a partnership capable of upsetting the odds.

The ETB-Sat television schedule is rather inconclusive when it comes to coverage. The match will take place at 18:00 (CEST) and while there is no pelota on at this time, there are two matches being shown at 22:55 (CEST) and 00:10 (CEST) respectively, the second one of which is likely to be a replay of the final. If this is the case, the first match will be the game between Arretxe II – Zearra and Aritz Lasa – Zubieta. To tune in, visit https://www.eitb.eus/television/etb-sat

Aimar Olaizola has been on fire of late

Aimar Olaizola has been on fire of late