This is a current awareness blog that links to the latest sources of information on Basque Pelota matches and Tournaments. It covers both North and South Basque modalities: Mano, Main Nue, Pala, Paleta, Remonte, Cesta Punta, Jai Alai, and minor modalites. We link to match articles, statistics and video highlights and/or full match videos.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pasaka--Oiartsun V. Txapelketa Final

The Oiartsun V. Txapelketa Final was contested at Oiartsun Kontzejupea Arkupe (1--click on video to the left of photo for a more intimate look) (2) on August 3, 2016. The arkupe is in the alcove of a building that dates to the late 17th Century.

Urbieta-Esnal (an ex professional mano player) defeated Nazabal-Zabala (last year's defending champions) 13-1

Note that the back courters are listed first in this modality.

Esnal simply hit the ball too hard, too often for N-Z to handle. Urbieta contributed many excellent rebotes (rebound shots). A very easy victory was the result.

Line score:

8-0; 8-1; 13-1

Full match video (Source: EITB) (Match begins at 12 minutes 7 seconds on the recording). The first twelve minutes are interviews, mostly with a very strong promoter of the sport, Anton Mendizabal.

EITB televised this match because Pasaka has great historical and cultural significance in Basque Pelota. It is one of the ancestor games of all the modalities that exist today. It is a "direct" court game, that is to say, there is no wall. A net separates the two teams. The sport is played with either bare hands or a small glove. This match was played with bare hands. There is no serve. The ball is tossed across the net into play. Tennis is scored the way Pasaka is, and some Basques will tell you that tennis modeled its scoring after Pasaka. 4 points wins a game. Games must be won by 2 points. Service only changes when a team with the 40-30 advantage loses the point and the game reverts to 30-30. The match is played to 13 games. The ball is soft but very heavy (about 235 grams, over 1/2 pound for the game played with the glove--the bare hand modality uses a smaller ball). The evolution of the small glove, begun in the 19th century, has taken Basque Pelota to all the modalities it has today. EITB has a short documentary about early Basque Pelota.

This particular match is difficult to follow because there is no scoreboard for a good deal of it. Another match played as part of  Aste Negusia in Donastia (San Sebastian) in 2013 at Donostiako Trinitate plazako frontoian shows the last few games of a festival match (bare hand, three on each side) with a scoreboard that makes it easy to figure out what is going on. That match can be seen here. (You will recognize the front courter in red. He is Esnal of the final match above, and he hits the ball equally hard in this match).

Watch and enjoy this ancestor game. And enjoy also that it is still taken seriously as part of the culture, though more modern games have the limelight today. Also, that EITB broadcast this match tells us much.

MY ARTICLE:  How these two teams got to this match