Holidays! by frontonnews
August 30, 2009, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a little note to let you know that I will be on holiday for the next two weeks, very likely without internet access (please hotels, have wireless!). Even if I can get wireless, I won’t have time to write any reports as I’ll be on the move most of the time. Apologies for this!

Before I go, there are a few things to wrap up. Berasaluze VIII and Begino won the Torneo Ciudad de San Sebastian on Friday, beating Bengoetxea VI and Mendizabal II 22-11 at Atano III; zorionak to them! I reported on the first semi final, but just for the record, the other semi final saw Bengoetxea and Mendizabal beat Titin III and Eulate 22-12. Yesterday, Martinez de Irujo and Olaizola II played each other in the latest of a series of contests, this time in the mano a mano format, and Irujo came out on top by 22 points to 14.

Ikusi arte!

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San Sebastian round-up by frontonnews

Last night, Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino became the first pair to progress to the final of the Torneo Cuidad de San Sebastian. The Asegarce pair dominated proceedings at Atano III, defeating Xala and Fernando Goñi by 22 points to 12. The victorious partnership outplayed their rivals both in attack and defence; Begino was especially impressive, showing terrific strength, accuracy and range which put the usually unflappable Goñi in the shade. Berasaluze continued in his recent vein with some stunning forward play and all of the fiery defiance for which he is known. Xala was a contradiction, playing at times with mastery and at times with baffling carelessness, stinging airez winners mixing with too great a number of txapas. The result was never in serious doubt.

 The second semi final takes place this evening as follows:

 c. 23:00 (CEST) TITIN – EULATE v BENGOETXEA VI – MENDIZABAL II

 Sadly there will be no webcast.

 The first game, a ‘special’ match, of the festivities in San Sebastian was an unusual one, pitting as it did Juan Martinez de Irujo (playing with Titin III) and Aimar Olaizola (playing with Pablo Berasaluze) against each other as defenders. As one might expect, it was an extremely atypical encounter. Neither of the ‘defenders’ seemed terribly keen to play as such with all four pelotaris at times in the front portion of the fronton. This led to a fast and furious encounter with some highly entertaining points. However, Irujo did not appear entertained in any way, shape or form. The Manomanista champion looked like a fish out of water as he made error after error and constantly found himself out of position. Confusion reigned between him and Titin. In contrast, Olaizola and Berasaluze had a ball, perhaps ironically given Aimar’s reputation as a poor back court player in his junior days. They appeared relaxed and worked swimmingly together as a team, resulting in a crushing 22-7 victory. Despite being an encounter of little importance, Aimar will surely have been delighted with yet another score over his old rival this summer. The pair will meet again, rather more conventionally, in a mano a mano game on Saturday.

Begino and Berasaluze VIII

Begino and Berasaluze VIII



Torneo Ciudad de San Sebastian, tonight on ETB-Sat by frontonnews
August 21, 2009, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags:

The opening doubles match of the Torneo Ciudad de San Sebastian takes place at Atano III tonight and it is an unusual and enthralling one. The two greatest forward players of the decade, Martinez de Irujo and Olaizola II take each other on again, but this time they play as defenders. This certainly places a new spin on their rivalry and blasts any attempts to predict the result out of the water….tune in (http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat) for a fascinating encounter!

Friday 21st August
Atano III, Donostia-San Sebastian

22:00 (CEST) Mendizabal – Ibai Zabala v Apezetxea – Urberuaga

23:20 (CEST) TITIN III – MARTINEZ DE IRUJO v BERASALUZE VIII – OLAIZOLA II

Irujo and Aimar: a new spin on an old rivalry

Irujo and Aimar: a new spin on an old rivalry



Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final: Aimar delivers a masterclass as Bengoetxea VI and Begino crumble by frontonnews
August 19, 2009, 7:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday 18th August
Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final
OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II beat BENGOETXEA VI – BEGINO 22-10

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 by frontonnews
August 17, 2009, 9:13 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , ,

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 http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat

Aimar Olaizola has been on fire of late

Aimar Olaizola has been on fire of late



Round-up of weekend fixtures, with some geography lessons for good measure by frontonnews
August 15, 2009, 9:52 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Torneo Villa de Zarautz is the main attraction this weekend but there is an abundance of other matches taking place across a wide geographical area, from Azkoitia to Burgos. So, what’s happening and where?

Saturday 15th August

Today’s attractive alternative to the action in Zarautz is to be found 30km to the south in AZKOITIA where Manomanista Champion Juan Martinez de Irujo plies his trade alongside new boy Cecilio. They will play the old hand Titin III and Pedro Martinez de Eulate. The curtain raiser to the main event sees another all ASPE affair in which Capellan and Galarza VI play Aritz Lasa and Laskurain.

Azkoitia which has around 11,000 inhabitants, is located in the Urola river valley and is surrounded by rugged mountains. The municipality is famous for being the birthplace of St Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, although he actually entered the world in Azkoitia’s smaller neighbour, Azpeitia, several kilometres to the east.

Azkoitia

Azkoitia

 Next we move outside the Basque Country to the neighbouring province of BURGOS, and it’s capital, also called Burgos. Here, Agirre and Eskudero play Diaz and Iza. Burgos has around 178,000 inhabitants and is famous for its 13th century gothic cathedral, which has been declared a world heritage site. The city was founded in 884 as an outpost on the spreading Christian frontier in northern Spain. It became the capital of the Kingdom of Castille in the 11th century and latterly was the base of Franco’s rebel Nationalist government in the Spanish Civil War.

Burgos

Burgos

On the outer reaches of Navarre lies AIBAR, where Asier Olaizola and Oier Zearra play their Asegarce mates Berasaluze VIII (on white hot form of late) and Penagarikano. Also on the bill is a match between Chafee and Urrizelki and Mendizabal and Ibai Zabala. Aibar lies 44.2 km from Pamplona in a south westerly direction and has a mere 920 inhabitants according to the latest figures. The town, the site of many an archaeological find from the Bronze Age, is blessed with an abundance of churches and seems to have been the birthplace of many notable monks….

Aibar

Aibar

In MENAKA, the ever smiling Berasaluze IX and Arruti play Retegi Bi and Urberuaga. The later will wish to forget his bad night yesterday at the hands of the very same Berasaluze. Menaka is in Bizkaia and lies about 22 km from Bilbao. It has a population of about 700 and numbers amongst its famous sons the writer Luis Baraiazarra and the 19th century organist and composer Juan José Garmendia.

Menaka

Menaka

Sunday 16th August

Tomorrow, PORTUGALETE is the scene of an encounter between Agirre and Bebide, and Diaz and Iza. Portugalete is a town of about 51,000 inhabitants and is part of the metropolitan area of Bilbao. An important port, which in the 14th century was the main competitor of Bilbao in this regard, the town is most famous for the Vizcaya Bridge, a transporter bridge which spans the River Nervion towards Getxo. The bridge was declared a World Heritage Site in 2006.

Portugalete

Portugalete

Once again we leave the Basque Country, this time for a trip to the wine paradise of La Rioja, where the village of BANARES hosts a match between Chafee and Urrizelki, and Mendizabal and Eskudero. The main tourist attarctions in Banares, which is home to just 337 people, are churches. Particularly notable is the typically Spanish gothic church of Santa Cruz, completed in 1510. Potato with chorizo is the local delicacy.

Banares

Banares

We complete our whirlwind tour with a trip to ARETXABALETA which hosts two matches. The first sees Belloso and Ibai Zabala play Olaetxea and Oleiza but the main course is a game between Berasaluze VIII and Penagarikano, and Saralegi and Mendizabal II. Aretxabaleta is to be found in Gipuzkoa, not far from Mondragon-Arrasate on the road between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bergara. 6600 people call the town their home and university was founded there in 1630.

Aretxabaleta

Aretxabaleta

For the results of these matches, visit http://www.pelotalive.com

With thanks to Wikipedia, for making life so much easier



Torneo Villa de Zarautz by frontonnews
August 15, 2009, 9:40 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano

The next in the summer’s round of tournaments starts today in the coastal town of Zarautz in Gipuzkoa,which is incidentally the home of the longest beach in the Basque Country. Over the next three days, four couples will compete for the doubles crown which was won last year by Titin III and Laskurain. Today’s matches are not on ETB-Sat but there will be a webcast of the second semi final tomorrow (Sunday). The final is on Tuesday and I will post any broadcast information, should there be any, when it becomes available.

The ties are as follows:

Saturday 15th August

c. 18:00 (CEST) OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II v GONZALEZ – PASCUAL

Sunday 16th August (Live at http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat)

18:05 (CEST) TITIN III – GONI III v BERASALUZE VI – BEGINO (preceeded by a match at 17:00 (CEST) between Arretxe II – Otxandorena and Retegi Bi – Beroiz)

Tuesday 18th August

c. 18:00 (CEST) Torneo Villa de Zarautz Final

No beach time for the pelotaris in Zarautz

No beach time for the pelotaris in Zarautz