4 1/2: Gonzalez triumphs but must play the waiting game by frontonnews
November 23, 2009, 5:04 pm
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Saturday 21st November, Labrit, Pamplona


This weekend was a tense affair for at least three of the pelotaris involved in the Cuatro y Medio semi finals, for the two tickets to the final depended on a series of outcomes. Sebastian Gonzalez, having lost to Titin III last week, had to beat Retegi Bi at Labrit on Saturday to progress. However, even victory there was not a guarantee, for if Titin were to beat Martinez de Irujo a day later, the cause would be lost. Retegi Bi, for his part, had a mathematical chance of qualification but it would have taken the miracle of a 22-2 victory for this to come to pass. Realistically he knew this was a task beyond the herculean, but he was understandably determined to have at least one victory to show for his time in the semi finals.

Gonzalez delivered on his side of the bargain and there was nothing Julen Retegi could do to stop the rot. Within two minutes, Gonzalez had raced to a 3-0 lead and condemned his young opponent to a winless exit. The result was never in serious doubt as the man from Donibane struck cleanly and dominated with his well practised combination of deep serve followed by hook winner. The match suffered from predictability and only seriously caught fire when a collision between the two players sparked a three way protest between the two players and Julen’s father and botillero, Julian Retegi, leading to a replay of the point. But this was of transient importance as Gonzalez took the victory 22-12.

Gonzalez therefore was left in limbo, having done all he could. An Irujo victory on Sunday would put him through to the coveted final but a win for Titin would send him packing. Retegi must surely be disappointed at his performance in the semi finals but must take heart from the way he got there, beating a bafflingly off colour Aimar Olaizola with play worthy of his eventual position. There is surely more to come from the promising son of the famous father.

Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-2, 8-2, 8-4, 11-4, 11-5, 14-5, 14-7, 16-7, 16-9, 19-9, 19-12 and 22-12.

Written with the partial help of Noticias de Alava

Gonzalez won but was forced to wait

Image from Diario Vasco

4 1/2: Retegi junior fails to fell Titin in semi final duel by frontonnews
November 14, 2009, 11:35 pm
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Sunday 8th November, Astelena, Eibar

It is twelve years since the famous Cuatro y Medio final of 1997. The epic duel between Retegi II and Titin III has gone down in history as one of the greatest games of all time and its shadow was never far from Astelena on Sunday. Retegi II and Titin met again but in very different circumstances, as the former coached his son, Julen, against the player he once defeated. Titin, now aged 40, has withstood the test of time and succeeded against the son where he failed against the father.

Julen Retegi looked tight and nervous from the off, a pale imitation of the player who had so spectacularly thwarted Aimar Olaizola in the quarter finals. Titin raced to a 6-1 lead while Retegi failed both in direction and positioning on the fronton. The young forward pulled two points back by way of two errors from Titin but at 13-3 to the Riojan legend, the game appeared to be up for Retegi. However, much to the delight of the Tolosa faithful, Retegi rallied, showing flashes of his quarter final dominance. In the course of the game’s middle section, in which Retegi closed to 13-16, Titin committed six errors, some more unforced than others, but Retegi also displayed some dazzling shot making prowess. This was nowhere more apparent than in the beautifully worked txoko at 13-4 and in the stunning dosparedes winner which took the score to 13-10. However, just as the game appeared to be shaping up for a battle royal, Retegi lost all his momentum after a falta which ripped into his confidence. The man from Pamplona failed to add to his score as Titin ran away with it, 22-13.

Retegi appeared utterly dejected and it is easy to see why. In his previous match he had pulled off one of the upsets of the year in totally outplaying the defending champion, the man who has dominated Cuatro y Medio in recent years. He showed tantalising glimpses of that form here but proved unable to sustain it. He needs to find an extra gear if he is to compete at this level on a consistent basis. Titin for his part played with impressive verve and his customary passion. He has the ammunition to make quite some mark on the remainder of this tournament; Irujo and Gonzalez must be on their guard when faced with the evergreen warrior from Tricio.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 6-1, 6-3, 7-3, 13-3, 13-10, 14-10, 14-11, 16-11, 16-13 and 22-13.


4 1/2: Retegi Bi pulls off massive upset to oust Aimar by frontonnews
November 1, 2009, 10:12 pm
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Saturday 31st October, Labrit, Pamplona


In what must count as one of the shocks of the year, 24 year old Retegi Bi has defeated defending champion Aimar Olaizola in the quarter finals of the Cuatro y Medio Championship. Olaizola has been the king of this format in recent years having won the championship on four occasions, equalling the record set by Retegi Bi’s father. The man from Goizueta has been in storming form for the majority of the past few months, notably beating Martinez de Irujo to take the Navarrese Cuatro y Medio title, but here he had no answer to the masterclass of the undoubted underdog. Unfortunately, as this was such a seminal point in the championship, I am not able to bring you an eyewitness report as there was no webcast, but reports state that Retegi Bi was simply superior in every facet of the game. Aimar, a shadow of his usual self, was out of the game from the word go, finding himself down 0-8 in quicktime. From there, there was no way back as the young forward hit his way to victory. Retegi Bi won the second tier pairs championship in both 2007 and 2008 but he now has a shot at something infinitely bigger; he takes his place in the semi finals by right.

Retegi Bi played the match of his life

Image from: El Correo Digital

4 1/2: Second round victories for Bengoetxea VI and Retegi Bi by frontonnews
October 25, 2009, 11:25 pm
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Yesterday, Saturday 24th October, saw two matches in the second round of the Cuatro y Medio Championship, resulting in a victory apiece for the two empresas. In Amorebieta, Julen Retegi got the better of Patxi Ruiz 22-15 in an error strewn encounter. Retegi made five errors but played well, especially in defence, and manipulated Ruiz with ease. Ruiz for his part committed ten errors and as a result was never in the game. This must come as a huge disappointment for the man from Estella, who was clearly delighted to have come through his first round match with no sign of his long standing back injury. Retegi will play defending champion Aimar Olaizola in the quarter finals next weekend.

Meanwhile, things were tight in Pamplona, where Oinatz Bengoetxea defeated Aritz Lasa 22-19. It was an intense, 70 minute encounter which could have gone either way, but the former Manomanista champion, who showed great strength in both attack and defence, held his nerve at the last. Bengoetxea will face Juan Martinez de Irujo next weekend for a place in the semi finals.

Bengoetxea VI is through

Bengoetxea VI is through

Image from: El Correo Digital, Sources: ASPE, Asegarce

Bengoetxea VI and Retegi Bi win the day by frontonnews
October 17, 2009, 10:22 pm
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There were two first round matches in the Cuatro y Medio Championship today and both were won in decisive fashion. At Labrit in Pamplona, former Manomanista Champion Oinatz Bengoetxea thrashed current 2nd tier Manomanista king Mikel Beroiz 22-5. A solid Bengoetxea was never troubled by his young opponent who made 9 errors in the course of the encounter. Beroiz is a truly impressive young talent and will have his day, but it is the man from Leiza who proceeds to the second round, where he will meet Aritz Lasa.

Matters were almost as one-sided in Renteria where Julen Retegi beat Mikel Olaetxea 22-8. Retegi will now face the winner of Monday’s game at Beotibar between Patxi Ruiz and Alberto Ongay.

Julen Retegi Retegi Bi

Julen Retegi "Retegi Bi"

Manomanista Championship: Urberuaga upsets the form book in defeat of Retegi Bi by frontonnews
April 5, 2009, 10:40 pm
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Saturday 4th April

Labrit, Pamplona


Julen Retegi was the undisputed favourite at Labrit on Saturday as he faced Xabier Urberuaga in the first round of the Manomanista Championship. Retegi surely hoped he could take his first footsteps on the path of his great father, Julian, who won this tournament an astonishing eleven times between 1980 and 1993 but in his way stood Urberuaga, who had obviously committed to mind the adage that it is never over until the fat lady sings.

From the outset, Urberuaga, winner of the second division title in 2007, showed that he would be no pushover for the young pretender and he was soon up 8-3. However, Retegi showed his growing maturity in bringing his impressive armoury of resources to bear, and took the match to 8-8, then 12-8 and 19-8. Especially impressive were his left arm and his serve. His father, playing botillero, must have been well pleased.

However, things were to change in emphatic style. Urberuaga found his rhythm and never looked back, playing like a man possessed to pass and crush the dreams of his rival. Retegi managed only one further point as Urberuaga cruised past him at barely a canter to reach victory at 22-19. It was a triumph based on hard work, sweat, toil and determination for the man from Aulesti, who also exhibited a veritable pick and mix of shot making prowess. Retegi for his part looked one dimensional; he was impressive with his left but power elsewhere seemed lacking. Still, there are many years ahead for the talented son of his famous father, and surely much success too. Urberuaga will face Aritz Begino next Sunday for a place in the third round.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 5-2, 5-3, 8-3, 8-12, 9-12, 9-18, 17-18, 17-19 and 22-19

Sources: Diario Vasco, El Correo

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino