Fernando Goñi renews with Aspe by frontonnews
December 24, 2009, 10:47 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , ,

Fernando Goñi has signed a contract with Aspe to play for another year. The defender from Zubiri is, along with Juan Martinez de Irujo, the defending doubles champion. Aspe have also announced the contract renewals of Pedro Martínez de Eulate (for one year) and Íñigo Pascual (until 2014).

Fernando Goñi

Source: Diario de Noticias, image from: La Rioja



BBK Masters: Irujo and Olaizola II reach the final by frontonnews
December 24, 2009, 10:12 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , ,

The year ending BBK Masters final, which takes place on Saturday should generate enough festive excitement to melt all the snow which had buried the Basque Country in recent weeks, for in the semi finals, played last weekend, the two great rivals Juan Martinez de Irujo and Aimar Olaizola triumphed to set up another meeting on another grand stage.

Semi Final 1, 19/12/09: OLAIZOLA II beat BENGOETXEA VI 22-18

Labrit was treated to a cracker last Saturday as the two Asegarce stars put on a scintillating show of shot making. There was litte to choose between the protagonists but despite being pushed every inch of the way.  The score was tied on 4, 5, 6 and 9, demonstrating the close nature of the duel. Bengoetxea inched past his rival at 7-9 and 9-12, deploying a stunning sotamano on several occasions, but in the final analysis, Aimar kept his nose in front both in terms of score and finesse. The multiple major winner looked in fine shape as he served well, played the tactical game with his customary skill and hit with force and imagination. There was genuine jubilation in his victory cry; as Masters triumph would crown the year nicely for Aimar, who has had a solid twelve months but has failed to win a major championship despite two final appearances out of three.

Semi final 2, 20/12/09: MARTINEZ DE IRUJO beat GONZALEZ 22-21

Lightening almost struck twice for Sebastien Gonzalez at Astelena on Sunday as he narrowly failed to beat Manomanista Champion Juan Martinez de Irujo for the second time in close succession. In contrast to the first semi final, this was a game strewn with errors as both players clearly showed the tension of the occasion. Irujo must surely have dreaded another defeat by Gonzalez and his desire for revenge manifested itself in some less than typically exalted play. The game was, however, no less exciting for the number of mistakes; it could have gone either way until the bitter end and the crowd warmed to the fight with notable enthusiasm. Gonzalez began the better of the two, racing to a 2-8 lead, which advanced to 9-12. From this point however, Irujo refound his game, winning ten straight points to take the score to 19-12. Gonzalez then took his turn to show his mettle, closing to 21-21 before Irujo eeked out the fatal punch.

The final takes place on Saturday 26th December at Atano III in San Sebastian at around 19:00 (CET), after the completion of two earlier doubles matches. There will be coverage at http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat from 18:00 (CET), also taking in the earlier doubles game between Gonzalez-Goni III and Saralegi-Beloki.

Irujo vs Olaizola

Image from: Diaro de Navarra



Cuatro y Medio Final: Gonzalez Txapeldun! by frontonnews
December 19, 2009, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday 8th December, Atano III, Donostia-San Sebastian

GONZALEZ beat MARTINEZ DE IRUJO 22-18

That Sebastien Gonzalez defeated Juan Martinez de Irujo in the Cuatro y Medio final last Tuesday is now rather old new; forgive me for the late telling of it, which has occurred due to foreign trips and singing work getting in the way!

This was a huge upset. Gonzalez had played excellently in the run up to the final, losing only to Titin III in the semi final rounds and indeed defeating his final opponent en route. However, the trumping of Irujo in a major final is a big deal. The man from Ibero adores the big stage and when his tail is up, to say that he is formidable is a gross understatement. Gonzalez had a mountain to climb and he scaled it with aplomb, holding his nerve and maintaining his belief to pull off by far the biggest win of his career.

Gonzalez could have become fatally disillusioned from the gun as Irujo roared to a 6-0. It looked like business as usual for the Pairs and Manomanista Champion. However, Gonzalez clawed his way back to 7-10 and seemed to pass his early nerves to Irujo, who became uncharacteristically rattled. When Gonzalez inched ahead at 12-11 it was very much game on. Irujo’s mental state was further dented by a disputed line call which sparked a heated protest, but he held his game and the players enetered deadlock at 16-16. When Gonzalez retook the lead at 18-19, the dream for the player from the Lapurdi province in the French Basque Country looked to be on. As he grew in stature, the great champion Irujo waned and with five straight points Gonzalez reached the pinacle of his career to date.

This was a first major title for the 32 year old, whose only previous championship win had come in the 2nd Division Manomanista in 2000. For Irujo it was a final hurdle failure to win all three major titles in one calendar year. He will be consoled by finishing the year with a commanding lead in the Manista.com rankings over nearest, and perennial rival Olaizola II, but this defeat surely hurt. Irujo was gracious as ever in defeat but it was Gonzalez’s evening; for this astounding coup, he deserves the freedom of Saint Jean de Luz.

Scoring sequence: 6-0; 6-1; 9-1; 10-2; 10-7; 11-7; 12-7; 12-9; 12-11; 14-11; 15-12; 16-12; 16-16; 17-17; 18-17; 18-21; 18-22.

Gonzalez: victory

Source: abc.es, Image from: La Rioja



BBK Masters on ETB-Sat by frontonnews
December 19, 2009, 11:54 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano

Firstly, apologies for my absence for the past couple of weeks; I was in Germany, hence missing the Cuatro y Medio final (more about that coming later) and then was rushed off my feet when I got back!

Secondly, we have some great pelota on ETB-Sat today in the form of a BBK Masters semi final between Aimar Olaizola and Oinatz Bengoetxea. Should be a cracker. Details below.

Saturday 19th December, Labrit, Pamplona

18:50 (CET) BERASALUZE VIII – PENAGARIKANO v URRUTIKOETXEA – BEGINO

19:50 (CET) OLAIZOLA II v BENGOETXEA VI (BBK Masters Semi Final)

The second BBK Masters semi final is on Sunday and is a rerun, in mano a mano format, of the Cuatro y Medio final, between Juan Martinez de Irujo and Sebastien Gonzalez. Gonzalez unexpectedly got the upper hand last week to take the txapela so Irujo will be hungry for revenge. The television schedule is as follows:

Sunday 20th December, Astelena, Eibar

16:55 (CET) BERASALUZE IX – BEROIZ v OLAZABAL – LASKURAIN

18:00 (CET) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO – GONZALEZ (BBK Masters Semi Final)

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

Aimar Olaizola

Image from: El Correo Digital



Cuatro y Medio Final on ETB-Sat, Tuesday by frontonnews
December 6, 2009, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano

The final of the Cuatro y Medio Championship between Juan Martinez de Irujo and Sebastian Gonzalez takes place on Tuesday and it will be shown live on the web at http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat. Full details are below.

Tuesday 8th December, Atano III, Donostia-San Sebastian

17:00 (CET) TITIN III – GONI III v BERASALUZE VIII – BELOKI

18:10 (CET) MARTINEZ DE IRUJO v GONZALEZ Cuatro y Medio Final

Can Irujo make it three from three in major finals?

Image from: fotolog



Urrutikoetxea storms to 2nd Division 4 1/2 crown by frontonnews
December 6, 2009, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday 5th December, Beotibar, Tolosa

URRUTIKOETXEA beat ARGOTE 22-10

The young Asegarce forward Mikel Urrutikoetxea last night became the 2nd Division Cuatro y Medio Champion, annihilating in form Jokin Argote 22-10 at Beotibar. The 20 year old has been a professional for all of six months but his confidence and the quality of his play utterly belied his meagre experience. The match was all but over for Argote as he found himself 0-10 down to his youthful opponent after 13 minutes. Urrutikoetxea was devastatingly strong off both arms and worked the angles deftly, making Argote appear one dimensional. He also served excellently, putting Argote on the back foot from the start of the rally. Argote lacked the dynamism and punch to stem the current, and although he persevered gamely, he was never able to come within seven points of his rival. Urrutikoetxea, who has handled himself with maturity and poise throughout this tournament, is now a champion at the first attempt. Next year, he will play in the main competition, against the modern legends of the game. All signs suggest he may, before too many years have passed, reach their exalted status.

Scoring sequence: 0-10, 3-10, 3-13, 4-13, 4-18, 6-18, 6-20, 9-20, 9-21, 10-21 and 10-22.

Source: Diario Vasco

Urrutikoetxea: dominant

 Image from: El Correo Digital



Olaizola I replaces Patxi Ruiz in BBK Masters by frontonnews
December 4, 2009, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , ,

The year-ending BBK Masters tournament starts in Tolosa on Monday, but Patxi Ruiz will not be present. The defender from Estella injured his hand on Sunday in a match in his home town. His place will be taken by Asier Olaizola who opens the competition with his match against Aritz Begino.

The luckless Patxi Ruiz

Image from: Diaro Vasco