2nd Division Manomanista Final: classy rookie Beroiz takes the title by frontonnews

Saturday 23rd May
Beotibar, Tolosa
BEROIZ beat ARGOTE 22-13

Mikel Beroiz has been a professional pelotari for all of nine months but yesterday the 19 year old from Navarre defeated Jokin Argote to lift the second division manomanista title in commanding style. Beroiz carried the slightly shorter odds going into the final but to beat a man five years his senior in his first major final, at this stage in his nascent career, is a significant achievement. The enthusiastic crowd at Beotibar was treated to an enthralling match in which both players displayed classic shot making prowess but it was the exciting youngster who brought the greater power to bear.

For the first half of the encounter, the pelotaris were deadlocked, reaching 6-6 and 8-8 after a sprightly start from Argote had netted him an early lead. Beroiz then advanced to 13-8 and had seemingly cut himself free, but once again the scores were levelled at 13-13. However, Beroiz now demonstrated his physical prowess, and after a total of eight service winners in a match lasting 55 minutes and 221 strikes of the ball, the young pretender was crowned. Argote began well and took the game to his opponent in the early stages but it was the strength of Beroiz, his violence in attack and his clever use of the walls which saw him through. Remember the name, for we will hear much more of Mikel Beroiz.

Source: El Correo

Victory for Mikel Beroiz

Victory for Mikel Beroiz

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Earlier in the evening, the fans were treated to a high quality doubles match between Manomanista finalist Juan Martinez de Irujo and Asier Arruti, and Asier Olaizola and Oier Mendizabal. For Irujo this was a chance to maintain his barnstorming form of late as he prepares for his showdown with either Aimar Olaizola or Ruben Beloki on June 7th. However, things did not quite go to plan for him as Olaizola senior and Mendizabal took the win by a solitary point. Losing Manomanista semi finalist and defending champion Oinatz Bengoetxea also went down by one point; at the Mañaria Festival, he and Alexis Apraiz lost to Pablo Berasaluze and Oier Zearra by 22 points to 21. Meanwhile, in the headline match at the Arbizu Festival, Titin III and Zubieta beat Gonzalez and Lasa III 22-15.

Olaizola I took on Irujo and won

Olaizola I took on Irujo and won


Mano pairs: Bengoetxea and Beloki in the ascendent by frontonnews
February 15, 2009, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Saturday 14th February

Labrit, Pamplona


Oinatz Bengoetxea and Ruben Beloki last night made it three wins out of three to climb to third place in the championship standings. While the Asegarce pair have overcome their slow start to take their place among the favourites to progress, Titin and Pascual are heading in the other direction; they now lie seventh and should be very worried indeed, especially given their points difference only of +1. They could still qualify for the semi finals but they have not made it easy for themselves.

The Asegarce partnership triumphed not by whitewashing their opponents but through hard work and intensity of effort. Despite finding himself on the losing side, Pascal was the best of the four pelotaris on show. It was Titin who allowed the victors their upper hand; the man from Tricio played without inspiration or spark and as the confidence of the Aspe pair gave way, Bengoetxea pounced. Although the manomanista champion committed six errors, he was able to keep his forward opponent at bay, and together with the solid hitting of Beloki from the back, was able to keep Pascal contained by applying sustained pressure rather than searching for out and out winners. Although the match was a close one, Bengoetxea and Beloki showed impressive composure to take the spoils, turning a 19-20 deficit into a 22-20 triumph.

Scoring sequence: 0-2, 1-2, 1-3, 3-3, 3-5, 5-5, 5-6, 8-6, 8-9, 9-9, 9-11, 10-11, 10-13, 12-13, 12-14, 17-14, 17-16, 18-16, 18-19, 19-19, 19-20 and 22-20.

Bengoetxea VI at full stretch

Bengoetxea VI at full stretch

Image from: http://www.deia.com/cache/fotos/ce93333186e184bb13a55e5ff2799d8b.jpg

Source: Diario Vasco

Mano pairs: Asier and Patxi finally hit the high notes by frontonnews
February 7, 2009, 1:04 am
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , ,

Friday 6th February


This has been a long time coming. For much of this tournament, Asier Olaizola has been forced to watch little brother Aimar scale the heights while he and his partner, an out of form Patxi Ruiz, plunged the depths. They remain lowly in terms of the overall table but they can now rejoice in a performance which has saved their faces. They hang onto a mathematical chance of qualification for the semi finals thanks to this win over fifth placed Titin and Pascual, although they would need a miracle. Their opponents for their part have failed to gain a crucial point as the fight to reach the last four hits fever pitch and will wait anxiously on other results this weekend to find out where they will stand as they enter the penultimate week.

The first four points of the match seemed depressingly like business as usual; Patxi hit short from the back, as has been his wont in almost every encounter so far. Asier then hit short down the wall and was beaten by Titin before the pair found themselves comprehensively out-manouevred. Asegarce eyes must have rolled. But then in what seemed a most unlikely turnaround, Patxi and Asier took the next eight points and had their opponents yelling and stamping in fury. The Aspe rot started when Titin miscued carelessly from close in to the frontis, and Olaizola pounced, bossing the great Riojan without any regard for his exalted status. While the man from Goizueta seemed inspired, Titin’s attempted winners appeared bafflingly lacking in bite. Pascual played his part by hitting carelessly short, in stark contrast to a rejuvinated Patxi Ruiz. A mishit from a disgusted Patxi halted the Asegarce run and onlookers must have been tempted to assume that Titin and Pascual would now stamp their authority, but despite their own run of points, Asier fired his pair ahead once again to 9-8. The underdogs built another lead, taking the score to 13-9 in their favour. Olaizola managed to partially nullify the Titin factor by hitting long, thus avoiding an ill advised forward battle and Pascual delivered the hoped for errors. However, yet again Titin and Pascual hit back and with the score at 16-16, hearts were in mouths on both sides. When the Aspe pair raced to a 20-16 lead, owing largely to some wayward defensive play from Patxi, surely the die was cast? Titin ensured that this was not the case as his two errors returned Patxi’s favour. With the glimmer of victory only just out of reach, Asier hit again, sending Titin into an undignified full frontal slide into the corner. The final two points were protracted, virtuousic and almost unbearably tense. The advantage ebbed and flowed like an angry river as neither pair would give a centimetre, but once again, Asier, dark curls flying, proved to have the coolest head; a beautifully executed drop shot and an opportunistic long smash sent Titin and Pascual reeling, terminally.

And so, not before time, Olaizola I and Patxi Ruiz have a pulsating win in the bag, to add to their somewhat dismal victory over Xala and Zubieta. Titin and Pascual must surely have viewed this match as an opportunity to regain their composure after last week’s rout at their expense by Olaizola II and Mendizabal II. They should perhaps have recalled the hackneyed adage of the wounded but dangerous beast, for the whipping boys tonight put in jeopardy their very survival in this championship.

Asier Olaizola rampant

Asier Olaizola rampant

Image from: http://www.elcorreodigital.com/vizcaya/prensa/noticias/200804/16/fotos/052D3VIZ001_1.jpg

Mano pairs: Defending champions go top after show of authority by frontonnews
February 1, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Pelota Mano | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Saturday 31st January
Labrit, Pamplona

If the pre match press was anything to go by, this encounter was all about the forwards. Aimar Olaizola and Augusto Ibanez are two of the very best of their generation and have a long and turbulant rivalry so it was little wonder that the citizens of Pamplona snapped up the hottest ticket in town in such vast numbers. Their previous encounter in this championship had ended in a win for the Asegarce pair by the narrowest of margins as an injured Olaizola hung on for his life. However, by the evening’s end, the man from Goizueta had left onlookers with no doubts as to who was the king of this particular castle as Titin was left reeling in defeat and boiling over with fury.

Right from the off, Olaizola had his rival at his mercy. The cold statistics tell us that he hit nine winners to Titin’s three but figures cannot tell the story of his mastery. The game remained close for the first 16 points but with the score at 9-7 to the Asegarce pair, it was as if a tidal wave hit their opponents. The Aspe partnership were in such disarray that they even committed three errors in mutual understanding, seeming incapable of a decision on who should take the shot. The merciless Olaizola was backed up by a no less magnificent Mendizabal, who hit with control and power in defence and utterly eclipsed Inigo Pascual who seemed a shadow of his former self.

The score continued to build in favour of the defending champions, who strolled comfortably to a 15-7 lead. It was then that Titin exploded. Perhaps it was a sense of total impotence in the face of Olaizola that made him react as he did to a gantxo from his opposite number which seemed to fall wide but was called in. The Riojan was incensed and entered into a furious, arm waving row with the judge. Able to take no more, he retired to the changing room, hurling his foot at the door as he went. When he returned, one minute later, he asked for permission to sit at in his chair and gather himself but it was denied. Again he hit the proverbial roof and it was all Pascual and Aspe botillero Martin Alustiza could do to make him continue. Continue he did, but there was no way back. Olaizola and Mendizabal, completely unfazed by the interruption, continued in their dominant vein and refused to cede a single point to their rivals as they completed a 22-7 anihilation.

Olaizola and Mendizabal have now won four of their five matches and find themselves at the head of the pack. One more point would guarantee them a place in the semi finals but in the event of a tie their superior points difference should provide a lifeline. Having defeated all of their direct rivals, they are now top dogs.

Scoring sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 5-4, 5-9, 7-9 and 7-22.

Aimar Olaizola

Aimar Olaizola