Mano: Barriola’s surgery successful by frontonnews
April 16, 2009, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: ,

Abel Barriola yesterday underwent a successful operation to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The surgery, carried out arthroscopically, lasted 45 minutes and according to surgeon Jesus Alfaro, everything went ‘as planned’. The pelotari from Leitza will remain in hospital until tomorrow before beginning the rehabilitation process, which is likely to take six months.

Source: Diario de Noticias, via ASPE

Abel Barriola

Abel Barriola



Mano: Abel Barriola out for five to six months by frontonnews
April 6, 2009, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: ,

ASPE reports today that Abel Barriola has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will likely be out of action for five to six months. The injury occurred during a doubles match on Sunday when he twisted his knee running back to retrieve a long ball. It was hoped that he had suffered no more than a sprain but an MRI scan performed at the Clinica San Miguel in Pamplona today revealed the full extent of the damage. He will undergo surgery in the coming days.

Source: ASPE



Mano matches on ETB-Sat tonight (Friday 13th March) by frontonnews
March 13, 2009, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are two mano matches from the Leiza Festival being shown live tonight on ETB-Sat (http://www.eitb.com/television/etb-sat/).  The first game is a singles encounter between two promising young players and the second a doubles match featuring recent pairs championship partners Sebastian Gonzalez and local hero Abel Barriola, this time on opposing sides.

22:25 (CET) APEZETXEA v ONGAY

23:35 (CET) GONZALEZ – BEROIZ v OLAZABAL – BARRIOLA

Jon Apezetxea

Jon Apezetxea

Image from: http://www.gaztezulo.com/bn_foto/61p60-1.jpg



Mano pairs: win for Xala and Zubieta sends Bengoetxea VI and Beloki through by frontonnews
February 25, 2009, 12:22 am
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Monday 23rd February
Beotibar, Tolosa
XALA – ZUBIETA beat OLAIZOLA I – PATXI RUIZ 22-6

The final scoreboard tells us that Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz lost once again at Beotibar on Monday. This in itself was hardly important, or startling, news. However, the result of this match meant so much more and a seemigly pointless encounter between two pairs, already eliminated from the championship, took on the status of one of the strangtest and most important matches of the year so far. The fate of two couples, Bengoetxea VI/Beloki of Asegarce and Gonzalez/Barriola of Aspe hung on this evening; a Xala/Zubieta win would see the former qualify for the semi finals and an Olaizola I/Patxi Ruiz win would see the latter pair go through. Whatever happened, a win for either side would result in elimination for a pair from their own empresa. Certain elements of the press spent the week discussing the potential ramifications of this situation; could either pair be tempted to play at ‘worse than their best’ for the good of their own empresa? In the end however, fair play was the only sporting option and there was nothing remotely suspect about the outcome as Asier and Patxi were once again outplayed by a better pair. Xala and Zubieta have won their last three matches in commanding style and Monday was no different. Xala must consider himself unlucky to be leaving the tournament at this stage given the recent exalted level of his play. Despite being one of the players of the competition, he has never quite had the defender to back him up and head to head record against the other pairs in contention was his undoing in the finals standings. He did however bid farewell with a flourish to which Asier Olaizola, who gave everything he could muster, had no answer. Zubieta, on this occasion, supported him consumately, outplaying Patxi Ruiz with ease.

And so, Oinatz Bengoetxea and Ruben Beloki will be back for more as the championship moves into the semi final stage. Gonzalez and Barriola suffer from Asier and Patxi’s failure to perform and leave the competition. They will be joined in the next stage by defending champions Olaizola II and Mendizabal II, Martinez de Irujo and Goni III, and Berasaluze VIII and Begino.

Bengoetxea and Beloki are through

Bengoetxea and Beloki are through

Image from: http://beta.eitb.com/multimedia/images/2009/02/01/59300/59300_bengoetxea_beloki_dest_2.jpg



Mano pairs: Aimar and Oier show nerves of steel to qualify at Astelena by frontonnews
February 23, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday 22nd February

Astelena, Eibar

OLAIZOLA II – MENDIZABAL II beat GONZALEZ – EULATE 22-19

The equation was simple: the winners would qualify for the semi-finals and the losers would sweat it out. This duel had been headlined by the meeting of Olaizola II and Barriola, two immovable obstacles of big match play, the former possessed of a lethal left hand in attack, the latter resembling a brick wall in defence. The result, many thought, would hinge on their respective abilities to hit the high notes in a game where every point would matter. In this respect, the match turned out to be a let down, for the haematoma in Barriola’s right hand, acquired last week, had failed to recover. Leitza’s famous son was therefore replaced by Pedro Martinez de Eulate Maestresalas, the 29 year old from Lizarra-Estella who has two pairs championship wins on his resume. Despite Eulate’s status as a highly dangerous customer, the defending champions were now firm favourites, but matches of such magnitude are rarely straightforward to call. In the end, nerves of steel were required and unshakable determination would win the day: step forward Aimar Olaizola, the coolest cucumber in Navarre.

Early signs suggested that the defending champions had blown it. They endured a nightmare against Irujo and Goni III last week, hardly aided by Aimar’s suspect stomach, and it appeared that they had continued where they left off. After six points, Gonzalez and Eulate were 6-0 up, through a combination of some excellent attacking play from Gonzalez, two mishits from the back by Mendizabal and a wide swipe from Olaizola. Mendizabal found himself peppered with long balls in an early attempt to test his mettle; in the first seven points, he struck the ball 24 times to Olaizola’s 9. For the Asegarce pair it was therefore imperative to find a way to break the stranglehold in which they found themselves.

An error from Gonzalez gave the champions the serve and the advantage of their elected balls and from this point on, the disparity in points closed, gradually. As the score moved from 1-6 to 9-9, one sensed that Aimar had finally settled into the task at hand. Errors from Mendizabal, who still appeared ill at ease, were obviated by three exquisite hooks by his partner as well as a searing 98 kph serve expertly placed down the wall to which Eulate had no answer. Another excellent serve then set up a sitting duck of a winner and Aimar seized the lead for the first time in the match.

There now began a period of play when the Asegarce pair slowly and almost imperceptably pulled away in terms of both quality and composure. True, Aimar would make four more errors in the course of the game and Oier five but their opponents were the guiltier. Eulate in particular leaked points, his earlier solidity in the face of Olaizola seemingly gone. Mendizabal on the other hand saw his trajectory rise, hitting with ever increasing confidence and class. He was responsible for one of the shots of the match when, with the score at 17-15 he hit a skidding ball from the back of the fronton at such an angle that Gonzalez stood open mouthed in bewilderment. But it was Olaizola who was the chief architect of the solid recovery. Aimar’s great strength is his control of the pace of a match, every nuance calculated by his superb tactical brain. His pair never built a commanding lead and never obliterated their opponents with a barrage of dramatic hitting but the impression he gave was of a puppeteer pulling the strings. So clinical was his outward demeanour that one could be forgiven for overlooking his moments of brilliance as he demonstrated his wide repertoire of hooks, smashes and drops. Particularly impressive was his skill in turning defence into attack from the side wall; lack of operating space seemed to concern him not one bit. One match point was squandered when Gonzalez pulled off a masterful shot into the corner under unimaginable pressure but another miss by Eulate ensured the defending champions safe passage to the next stage of the competition. While his supporters gasped in relief, the tension past, Aimar nonchalantly signed autographs as if nothing had ever happened.

Scoring sequence (Olaizola II and Mendizabal II first): 0-6, 1-6, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8, 6-8, 6-9, 9-9, 10-9, 10-10, 11-10, 11-11, 12-11, 15-11, 15-12, 15-15, 19-15, 19-16, 20-16, 20-18, 21-18, 21-19, 22-19

Aimar in control

Aimar in control

Image from: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wzAwusJnS8k/ST45MBUdXZI/AAAAAAAAh_Q/CrTsvMp4ZyM/s400/aimar.jpg



Mano pairs: Barriola injured, to be replaced by Eulate by frontonnews
February 21, 2009, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , ,

Abel Barriola will be forced to watch tomorrow’s vital match at Astelena. The defender from Leitza has failed to recover from a hand injury sustained in last week’s match. He will be replaced by 29 year old fellow Navarran Pedro Martinez de Eulate Maestresalas for the game against defending champions Olaizola II and Mendizabal II. The winner will qualify for the semi-finals while the loser must wait on Monday’s final game to learn their fate.

Eulate (left) is a former pairs winner

Eulate (left) is a former pairs winner

Image from: http://manista.blogs.com/bitacora/images/2007/03/26/xal_eulate_beloki20070325.jpg



Mano pairs: Asier and Patxi crash out in Tolosa by frontonnews
February 17, 2009, 1:58 pm
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Monday 16th February

Beotibar, Tolosa

GONZALEZ – BARRIOLA beat OLAIZOLA I – PATXI RUIZ 22-20

Asier Olaizola and Patxi Ruiz yesterday became the first partnership to exit the Pairs Championship, losing 22-20 to Sebastian Gonzalez and Abel Barriola in an error-strewn encounter at Beotibar. Both pairs committed multiple infelicities but a win was all that the Aspe pair needed to maintain their standing in the table, and it was with grateful hearts that they must have welcomed the continuing poor form of their rivals. Asier and Patxi have won only two matches from seven attempts but even in their victories have failed to set the competition on fire. Both are former txapela winners and more chances may come to them, but this, emphatically, has not been their year.

Abel Barriola had some considerable excuse for his less than exciting play; with the score at 4-3 he requested a break, complaining of pain where the ball had struck the base of his right forefinger. With qualification on the line there was nothing to be done but continue as best he could when his allotted two minutes was up, with modified protections on the offending hand, but it was clearly a hinderance. However, Asier and Patxi were ultimately unable to capitalise on his misfortune. They created their chance to take the match, clawing their way to a 20-16 lead, but errors were their downfall and the Aspe pair managed to find a way back before registering one gantxo apiece to take their point with grateful relief.

So, we bid farewell to Patxi Ruiz and Asier Olaizola, but Barriola and Gonzalez must now concentrate all their energies on next weekend and their critical encounter with Asier’s younger brother Aimar Olaizola and Oier Mendizabal, the defending champions. Barriola’s hand injury must be a major worry; there will be prayers said at Aspe HQ for its speedy recovery. The defender from Leitza will now have until Sunday for healing however, as the match, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been moved to avoid a clash with a Real Sociedad football game, their ground being a stone’s throw from Atano III.

Scoring sequence: 2-0, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 5-4, 5-6, 6-6, 6-8, 8-8, 8-9, 9-9, 9-14, 11-14, 11-15, 13-15, 13-16, 14-16, 14-19, 16-19, 16-20, 19-20 and 19-22.

Abel Barriola (left, with Oier Zearra) will need to keep an eye on that hand

Abel Barriola (left, with Oier Zearra) will need to keep an eye on that hand

Image from: http://www.diariodenavarra.es/actualidad/20080110/fotos/2008011002415748_375.jpg