Dos Paredes becomes an EITB blog! by frontonnews
January 11, 2010, 9:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

From later on today, this blog will be hosted by EITB, the Basque Country’s public broadcast service. Although the content will remain the same, the format will look a little different. This is an exciting opportunity to reach a wider audience and to increase interest in the sport of pelota in the English speaking world. The new url will be http://www.blogseitb.us/basque_pelota. Please join me at the new address!

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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!



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



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 Virgen Blanco Final, Sunday 9th August, on ETB-Sat by frontonnews
August 8, 2009, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The final of the Virgen Blanco tournament in Vitoria-Gasteiz will be shown on ETB-Sat tomorrow, as will the curtain raising match which preceeds it. Both pairs were dominant in their respective semi finals and a good contest should be in prospect. Details are below.

Sunday 9th August
Ogueta, Vitoria-Gasteiz

16:55 (CEST) SARALEGI – PENAGARIKANO v OLAZABAL – LASKURAIN

Virgen Blanco Final
17:55 (CEST) BERASALUZE VIII – MENDIZABAL II v XALA – GONI III

To watch, go to http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat

Pablo Berasaluze takes on Xala

Pablo Berasaluze takes on Xala



Mano results roundup: Ipar Kutxa Final and Cecilio’s debut by frontonnews
 
Ipar Kutxa Final

The Ipar Kutxa Tournament is a doubles competition involving some of the best pelotaris not entered, or no longer involved, in the Manomanista Championship. Each empresa entered two pairs as follows:

For Asegarce: Berasaluze VIII – Begino and Olaizola I – Mendizabal II
For Aspe: Gonzalez – Laskurain and Titin III – Pascual

In the first semi final, which took place in Villamediana de Iregua on 16th May, Asier Olaizola, a losing Manomanista quarter finalist, and Oier Mendizabal defeated Titin III and Pascual 22-15. The second was a tight affair which saw the victors escape the clutches of their opponents only in the dying points of the game. Those victors were Sebastian Gonzalez and Aritz Laskurain, who triumphed over Pablo Berasaluze and Aritz Begino by 22 points to 18 in Bermeo.

The final was held on Saturday 30th May at Beotibar in Tolosa and in a tough encounter, where the scores were tied at 15-15, the plaudits went to Gonzalez and Laskurain, who eventually ran out 22-16 winners over Olaizola I and Mendizabal II. In a match which lasted 73 gruelling minutes, fatigue set in for the losing pair as the skill of Gonzalez proved telling.

Cecilio delivers dream debut

Today (Sunday 31st May) saw the professional debut of the 21 year old Riojan Cecilio Valgañón in his home town of Ezcaray. The defender recently signed a two year contract with ASPE. Hailing from the Titin III Centre for High Performance, Cecilio is the under 22 World Champion and also won the Diario Vasco Tournament in 2008.

In his first match for his new empresa, he was paired with his fellow Riojan Titin III against Capellan and Goni III and he could not have got his career off to a better start. In a 22-7 victory, the debutant and his veteran partner crushed the life out of their considerable opponents. Titin was on sparking form, particularly ruthless in his aggressive hooks and beautifully delicate in his deft touches to the corner. Cecilio too showed impressive skill, especially from the back of the fronton from where he let rip with his powerful right arm. He displayed a young man’s lack of nerves as he entered into the tough new environment of professional mano, and on this showing he should thrive. He and Titin were aided by the errors of their adversaries; while Fernando Goni was for the most part his usual solid self, Capellan was a clear second best to Titin and appeared at sea. As the winning shot was struck, Cecilio’s sizable fan club erupted with a barrage of drumming and shouting, before the young man was hoisted aloft, the hero of the evening.

Cecilio Valgañón González
Date of birth: 28/09/1987
Place of birth: Ezcaray (La Rioja)
Weight: 92 kg
Height: 1.89m
Position: defender
Past results: Campeonato del Mundo, sub-22, 2008; Campeonato de España de Clubes, 2008; Campeonato Diario Vasco 2008; Campeón GRAVN sub-22 parejas, 2007

New pro Cecilio

New pro Cecilio

Image from: ASPE


Jai Alai: Master Jai’s Monday Games by frontonnews
March 29, 2009, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday, 30/3 GERNIKA JAI ALAI 17:00 CET

First Game
BARONIO/KEVIN – TREKU/JOAKIN

Second Game
ALBERDI II/ MUGARTEGI – OLHA/ALBERDI III

Third Game
AIMAR/ FÉLIX – LEKUE/ ELIZEGI