Mano pairs: Defending champions go top after show of authority by frontonnews
February 1, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Saturday 31st January
Labrit, Pamplona
OLAIZOLA II/MENDIZABAL II beat TITIN III/PASCUAL 22-7

If the pre match press was anything to go by, this encounter was all about the forwards. Aimar Olaizola and Augusto Ibanez are two of the very best of their generation and have a long and turbulant rivalry so it was little wonder that the citizens of Pamplona snapped up the hottest ticket in town in such vast numbers. Their previous encounter in this championship had ended in a win for the Asegarce pair by the narrowest of margins as an injured Olaizola hung on for his life. However, by the evening’s end, the man from Goizueta had left onlookers with no doubts as to who was the king of this particular castle as Titin was left reeling in defeat and boiling over with fury.

Right from the off, Olaizola had his rival at his mercy. The cold statistics tell us that he hit nine winners to Titin’s three but figures cannot tell the story of his mastery. The game remained close for the first 16 points but with the score at 9-7 to the Asegarce pair, it was as if a tidal wave hit their opponents. The Aspe partnership were in such disarray that they even committed three errors in mutual understanding, seeming incapable of a decision on who should take the shot. The merciless Olaizola was backed up by a no less magnificent Mendizabal, who hit with control and power in defence and utterly eclipsed Inigo Pascual who seemed a shadow of his former self.

The score continued to build in favour of the defending champions, who strolled comfortably to a 15-7 lead. It was then that Titin exploded. Perhaps it was a sense of total impotence in the face of Olaizola that made him react as he did to a gantxo from his opposite number which seemed to fall wide but was called in. The Riojan was incensed and entered into a furious, arm waving row with the judge. Able to take no more, he retired to the changing room, hurling his foot at the door as he went. When he returned, one minute later, he asked for permission to sit at in his chair and gather himself but it was denied. Again he hit the proverbial roof and it was all Pascual and Aspe botillero Martin Alustiza could do to make him continue. Continue he did, but there was no way back. Olaizola and Mendizabal, completely unfazed by the interruption, continued in their dominant vein and refused to cede a single point to their rivals as they completed a 22-7 anihilation.

Olaizola and Mendizabal have now won four of their five matches and find themselves at the head of the pack. One more point would guarantee them a place in the semi finals but in the event of a tie their superior points difference should provide a lifeline. Having defeated all of their direct rivals, they are now top dogs.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 5-4, 5-9, 7-9 and 7-22.

Aimar Olaizola

Aimar Olaizola

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