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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Remonte--October 2016 Rankings

The October 2016 monthly rankings for the Oriamendi2010 roster were released at the end of October.

Oriamendi2010 Roster

Full October Rankings with ranking explanation

Historical monthly rankings back to July 2011

Leaders were

Group A: Ezkurra: 40.00
Group B: Azpiroz: 38.67

Maximum ranking is 40.

Ezkurra's Excellent October.

For many years the best front courter in the game has been Koteto Ezkurra. He is in his 24th season as a Remonte player and has won 19 championships, according to his player page at the Oriamendi2010 site.

Ezkurra has had a difficult time this year, plagued by injuries that forced him out of action from March 1, 2016 through May 24, and from June 4 through July 30. At 43, many fans thought his career might end. What he has done since returning to action on August 4 has been amazing. And his performance in October  was phenomenal.

His return to action was accompanied by an EITB short video news story 

Since his return he has played 17 matches (according to the Oriamendi2010 match database), 12 of which have been "Star" matches. His overall record in these matches is 12-5 and his "Star" match record is 10-2.

In October he played in 6 matches, all "Star" matches, and won them all. That is quite impressive in its own right (undefeated months on the circuit are rare). His October matches were all doubles matches, 1 against Uterga and 5 against Urriza. Urriza and Uterga are generally considered to be the best front courters on the roster as Ezkurra's career winds down. For October his average scoring was 20 winners (+) and 4 errors (-) (back courters serve in Remonte). To do that at his age is almost beyond belief. Overall, since August he is 6-2 v Urriza and 3-2 v Uterga. In "Star" matches he is 6-1 and 3-1 against the same opponents. For details on each of these matches see the link to "Star" matches recurring results page on the right side of the blog.

EITB televises mostly major finals or semi-finals of Remonte tournaments so we haven't had much chance to see Ezcurra in action. Here is a match from January 9, 2016 that features Ezkurra-Agirrezabala v Etxeberria IV-Ion.

Match begins at 1 hour, 19 minutes, 14 seconds on the video.

Note: the match preceding this on the video featured a singles final between Urriza v Uterga. They may be the best in the future, but in October, the old master was the best.

Azpiroz lost his first match on October 1. He followed that with 8 consecutive wins to secure the number 1 ranking in the B group. Xabier Azpiroz Leunda was one of 6 new players added to the Oriamendi2010 roster in early May 2016

Remonte (Galarreta matches only) monthly tables (wins-losses, points for and against, winning or losing streaks) (d-Delantro--Front z-Zaguero--Back *-d+z)--record is kept by position). Tables are ordered by winning percentage. Point differential is the tie breaker.

Final Table for October, 2016

Group A

Ezkurra(d).................6-0..........240-200..+6
Uterga(d)...................1-2..........99-99.......-1
Urriza(d)....................2-5.........252-267...+1

Endika(z)...................1-0..........40-28......+2
Barrenetxea IV(z)......3-2..........181-182..+2
Ion(z).........................4-4..........292-291...-2
Etxeberria III(z).........2-5..........245-267...-2


Group B


Otaegi(d)....................6-2.........255-230.....+2
Erburu(d)...................4-4........ 237-238.......-3
Benat(d).....................4-4.........248-252......+3
Zaldua*(d)..................1-1.........58-59........-1
Ezkurra II(d)..............4-5.........317-330......-1
Goikoetxea V(d)........3-4.........198-195......+1
Ansa II(d)..................1-2..........89-94..........+1
Segurola(d)................2-5.........249-273.......-2

Azpiroz(z).................8-1..........305-233.....+8
Zaldua*(z).................4-2..........194-196......-2
Larranaga(z)..............4-3..........246-237.....+1
Labaka(z)...................3-3..........187-188.....+3
Aizpuru III.................1-1............48-54.......+1
Garces(z)...................2-3...........150-149.....+1
Zubiri(z)....................2-5...........211-236.....-1
Martirena(z)...............2-6...........229-252.....-6
Otano(z).....................0-1............25-30........-4

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mano--Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M--2nd Round Quarterfinal League

The 2016-17 professional Mano season began on October 7, 2016 with the first round of the Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M competition. The 1st round quarterfinal league competition took place on  Oct. 14-16, 2016. The second round was played on Oct. 21-23.

Asegarce Competition Page

The competition has 12 players, in two groups. The opening round of four preliminary matches took place October 7-10, 2016. The four winners (two in each group) move on to a quarter final league, where they join four other seeded players (Urrutikoetxea and Altuna III in Gourp A, Oliazola II and Bengoetxea VI in Group B) in a single round robin quarter-final league. The 1st place finishers in each group will then face the 2nd place finishers in the other group in the semi-finals. Semi-final winners will play in the final on November 27, 2016.

Note: Source for all match articles, unless otherwise specifically stated is 21iquales.com.

Source for all match video, unless otherwise specifically stated, is EITB.

Quarterfinal league second round: Note: Current group tables are available at the main 21iguales.com site above, as well as at all match articles. The winners of the first round play against each other in the second round. The losers also play each other.

Group A:

October 21, 2016

Atano III Fronton, Donostia (San Sebastian) (1) (2): Altuna III defeated Victor 22-19

Match article

For the second match in a row Victor couldn't hold on to a large lead. This was a more difficult defeat because he was seemingly in total control at 12-19. Then Altuna III closed the match out with 10 consecutive points. 9 errors contributed to Victor's defeat. He is still mathematically alive in the tournament, but he needs to defeat Urrutikoetxea and also have another match go his way to stay in the competition.

Match highlights

Full match video (match begins at 41 minutes 48 seconds on the video).

October 22, 2016

Bizkaia Fronton, Bilbo (Bilbao) (1) (2): Urrutikoetxea defeated Irribarria 22-11

Match article:

Two six point runs by this competition's defending champion guaranteed him a place in the semi-finals as he improved his record in the quarter-final league to 2-0 with an easy victory over Irribarria. Watch the match and you'll see a master at work, moving Irribarria all over the court. Urrutikoetxea was aided by 8 Irribarria errors.

Match highlights

Full match video (match begins at 1:18:48 on the video).

Group B:

October 22, 2016

Labrit Fronton, Iruna (Pamplona) (1) (2) Oliazola II defeated Ezkurdia 22-21

Match article:

In the best match of the tournament so far, Oliazola II came back from deficits of 13-17 and 16-21 to win by the minimum. It was his second comeback victory in a row and guaranteed him a place in the semi-finals. Earlier Ezkurdia had overcome deficits of 7-2 and 13-8 to put himself in a position to win. Sadly, full match video is unavailable. The match highlights do, however, show the last point, won by a typically brilliant Oliazola II cross court kill shot.

Match highlights (highlights of this match begin at 0:49 on the video)

October 23, 2016

Beotibar Fronton, Tolosa  (1) (2) Bengoetxea VI defeated Retegi BI 22-8.

Match article:

For the second week in a row Retegi BI scored the first point of the match and then never came near the lead again. Two 6 point runs by Bengoetxea VI, along with 8 Retegi BI errors, sealed an easy win. Bengoetxea VI will now play Ezkurdia in the 3rd quarter-final league match to determine the 2nd semi-finalist from Group B.

Match highlights

Full match video (Match begins at 49:56 on the video).

Pala: Iker Gordon joins InnPala roster, replacing the recently retired Mikel Ayerbe--Information about the upcoming La Liga Kutxabank competition.

"La liga kutxabank de pala profesional se inicia este sábado en el Bizkaia de Bilbao," by Igor G. Vico (Deia, Oct.26,2016).

The newspaper story gives details of the upcoming La Liga Kutxabank professional Pala competition, to be played from this Saturday, October 29, 2016 through the final on January 7, 2017. More information about the tournament is available at InnPala .

The article also discusses Iker Gordon, the new professional signed by InnPala to replace the recently retired Mikel Ayerbe. He will partner with Fusto in La Liga Kutxabank.

Multiple Modalities--North Basque amateur competitions begin.

Amateur competitions for the 2016-17 season began in the North Basque Country in late September. I will check in with selected competitions when match videos are available. Most of the beginning tournaments are regional in nature. Later in the season the Federation Francais de Pelote Basque (FFPB) national (Championnat de France) and other specialty competitions will begin. The seaon will climax with the  FPPB Grand Semaine, a week of multiple tournament finals for all age and talent groups, held mostly outdoors on fronton place libres.

The best place to follow all of these competitions is pelotelive.free.fr. Nowhere else that I know of consolidates the ongoing results of as many competitions. No other BP website I know of is as well organized with so much information. PFF has a very powerful query database that allows interested users to query a competition database for any or all of eight different variables. For those of you just getting started with North Basque pelote sports, the best way to start is to query the entire database  by "medias". Select "Videos" and "recherche". You will retrieve competitions in 11 different sports, played on three different kinds of courts, by men and women of different age and talent levels, sponsored by multiple agencies. Click on any "voir" to get to a competition and then look for the film icon. MAKE SURE TO "DESACTIVER" the PFF auto-refresh feature (which is used for keeping up with match point by point scoring) when viewing a match. Otherwise the video will stop. In many cases there are links to Youtube sites of origin for these matches, which you may want to investigate, as the Youtube site may have more exhaustive video coverage of the sport than PFF does. In most, but not all PFF cases where video is available, it is available for finals or semi-finals (at the bottom of each competition list). This is the best way to learn these sports.

For those of you who are familiar with these sports, the best way to find out what is going on is to query the same database by saison (2016-2017). Click on "voir" to see the progress of any competition you are interested in. To obtain more information about an individual competition, simply cut and paste the acronym for the organizer into a search engine. If you don't get what you are looking for, search with the acronym plus "pelote" or "voir" the competition in PFF for the full name of the organizer and query that. The organizer will often have results more quickly than they are available at PFF and you will become familiar with the various organizations.

You will also want to bookmark the national organizing agency for Basque Pelote in the North, FFPB, for information about national competitions. At the site you will find a calendar of national competitions that run from January through June, 2017. Most of these competitions will be covered by PFF but this calendar is essential for those who are interested in staying "ahead of the curve". Results for these competitions will be avialable at the FFPB results database, as well as PFF.

At this time there are match videos available for one sport, Xare. They are provided by the  Urrunarrak Pelote Youtube site. Urrunarrak is one of the clubs that plays in the Ligue de Pelote du Pays Basque  Championnat du Pays Basque 2017 - Xare - 1ère série (or  LPPB Resultats and Classements). Search either for "Trinquete / Xare" and Categorie "1ere Serie - 1.Maila".

MY ARTICLE: My first Xare match.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mano--GMGZ Events--III. San Nikolas (San Nicolas) Eskupilota Txapelketa

This is one of a sampling of some regional and special amateur competitions that are themselves a prelude to the national competitions that follow toward the end of this year and through the first half of next year. Link to EEPF and its regional links page or the GMGZ Events Facebook page for competitions in the South.

On October 1, 2016 GMGZ Events, along with other sponsors, brought the final and 3rd place match of this Mano tournament to San Nicolas. I was unable to find any matches in this tournament that were played before the final and third place match.

Source for match information and photos: GMGZ Events Facebook page. Match video: EITB

October 1, 2016:

Frontón Municipal de la Plaza San Nicolás de Algorta (Getxo)(1) (2)

Third place match:

Gordon-Etxebarria (Red) defeated Ugarte-Ziarrusta (Blue) 30-19.

Final:

Arabiourrutia-Aspuru (Blue) defeated Gonzalez-Uribe (Red) 30-14.

Match information and photos

Note that the Facebook page information has the correct finals winners but the wrong colors.

Full match video for both matches: 3rd place match: 0:00-40:37 on the video, final: 40:38-1:18:00

This was yet another example of the various forms that Basque Pelota modalities can take. This was a mur a gauche Mano match with a few twists and ornamentations. First, it was played on the same San Nicolas Arkupe that last June-July's San Nikolas (San Nicolas) Pala Txpelketa Finals were played on. The Arkupe is an alcove to what was originally a municipal building but is today a library. The match looks somewhat like Pasaka without a net but I have been informed that it is Mano and has no relationship to Pasaka. The pilota (called a goxua) is softer than a regulation mano pilota. The ceiling is in play as long as the ball hits the front wall. The floor is made of cobblestones, which introduce some of the complexities of ornamentation that are seen more in Main Nue than Mano. Judging the bounce off of cobblestone is a challenging task, as you will see. Neither match, unfortunately, was particularly competitive (although the third place match was close (20-18) at one point, so the game itself and venue are what is compelling about it. Note that Iker Gordon is also an accomplished amateur Pala player who partnered with Fusto in the 2016 Bizkaia Open.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mano--GMGZ Events--Eskupilota Txapelketa 4 1/2

The amateur scene in Basque Pelota crackles with activity as the 2016-17 season begins. I will check in with selected competitions when match videos are available. This is just a sampling of some regional and special competitions that are themselves a prelude to the national competitions that follow toward the end of this year and through the first half of next year. Link to EEPF and its regional links page or the GMGZ Events Facebook page for listings of competitions in the South.

GMGZ Events specializes in organizing quinela tournaments and competitions. The form they take is usually three quinela matches with 3 teams or players. The winners of the 3 matches then play in a final. This was a singles tournament. In the matches one player plays a point with another. The winner plays another point. The loser is replaced by the player not participating in the point.

Information, score, and photo sources: GMGZ Facebook page. Full match video source: EITB.

Information about the tournament 

October 7, 2016:

Kurtzea Pilotalekua, Galduakao (1) (2): Eskupilota Txapelketa 4 1/2 (played to 11 points). Note that in this form of the game, a toss with a special three sided object determines which two start. Then another toss determines who serves. The player who comes in after a point is won gets the serve.

Full match (all four matches) video:  Group A: (0:00-22:21); Group B: (22:22-41:09); Group C: (41:10-58:10); Final: (58:11-1:29:20)

Group A (photos and scores): Santxo (Blue) 11; Elezkano (Red) 5; Uriona (White) 3

Group B (photos and scores):  Errandonea II (Blue) 11; A. Beitia (Red) 4; Olaizola III (White) 3

Group C: (photos and scores): P. Labaka (Red) 11; Ojuel (Blue) 6; Urretabizkaia (White) 4

Final: (photos and scores): Santxo (Red) 11; Errandonea II (White) 10; P. Labaka (Blue) 10

The group matches quickly separated the best three players from the rest. The final was as exciting as a match of this nature can be. All three players had a chance to win. Two of them (Santxo and Labaka) slightly miscalculated winning kill shots giving Santxo one more chance. Another kill shot presented itself, and this time he didn't miss.

A final note: Santxo is the same Santxo who played (and won) in last summer's prestigious Antiguoako Txapelketa Amateur final in Donostia (San Sebastian), covered in the blog here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mano--Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M--Quarterfinal League begins

The 2016-17 professional Mano season began on October 7, 2016 with the first round of the Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M competition. The quarterfinal league competition began Oct. 14-16, 2016.

Asegarce Competition Page

The competition has 12 players, in two groups. The opening round of four preliminary matches took place October 7-10, 2016. The four winners (two in each group) move on to a quarter final league, where they join four other seeded players (Urrutikoetxea and Altuna III in Gourp A, Oliazola II and Bengoetxea VI in Group B) in a single round robin quarter-final league. The 1st place finishers in each group will then face the 2nd place finishers in the other group in the semi-finals. Semi-final winners will play in the final on November 27, 2016.

Note: Source for all match articles, unless otherwise specifically stated is 21iquales.com.

Source for all match video, unless otherwise specifically stated, is EITB.

Quarterfinal league first round: Note: Current group tables are available at the main 21iguales.com site above, as well as at all match articles. The winners of the first round play against each other in the second round. The losers also play each other.

Group A:

October 15, 2016

Etchebarry (1) (2): Irribarria defeated Victor 22-14

Match article

Match article (including match statistics and linescore) (Diario Vasco)

Irribaria only had to make one big comeback in this match, from 4-9. A 7 point run took him to an 11-9 lead. After falling behind again 12-14, he then won the match with a 10-0 run that included 5 service aces.

Match highlights (The IvV highlights begin at 1 minute, 1 second on the video).

October 16, 2016

Astelena Fronton, Eibar (1) (2): Urrutikoetxea defeated Altuna III 22-7

Match article:

Urrutikoetxea began his title defense with an emphatic victory over Altuna III. He was aided by 8 Altuna III errors.

Match highlights

Full match video (match begins at 36:06 on the video).

Group B:

October 14, 2016

Burunda Fronton, Altsasu (Alsasua) (1) (2) (3) Ezkurdia defeated Retegi Bi 22-11

Match article:

Retegi Bi scored the first point of the match. It was his only lead as Ezkurdia scored the next 6 and pulled away from there. 8 Retegi Bi errors aided Ezkuria in the easy victory.

Match highlights

Full match video (fronton.tv) (Scroll to Retegi Bi v Ezkurdia, Alsasua 7/10/2016. Note that the date is incorrect at fronton.tv at present. However you will always be able to find the match by scrolling to the players names or venue. The match is on P. 1 at present. It will move too lower pages eventually. Scroll until you find it.

October 15, 2016

Labrit Fronton, Iruna (Pamplona) (1) (2Oliazola II defeated Bengoetxea VI 22-19

Match article:

In the most competitive and hard fought match of the round (272 balls in play) Oliazola II came back from deficits of 3-7, 4-8, 11-15, 14-16, and 16-18 to win. He was helped by 10 Bengoetxea VI errors.

Match highlights

Full match video (Match begins at 27:44 on the video).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Main Nue--Player Rankings--October 15, 2016

Main Nue complete player rankings are available on the player rankings page (Under "Main Nue") on the right side of the main blog page. You can also find how these rankings are calculated there.

Complete Player Rankings as of October 15, 2016. Current through Tournoi de Bidart.

Larralde reclaimed the number 1 ranking as a result of his (along with Guichandut) victory over Ducassou-Ospital at Bidart. The 3-5 positions were unchanged.

Top 5
Larralde
Ducassou
Ospital
Guichandut
Bilbao

Complete Player Rankings as of October 2, 2016. Current through Tournoi de Saint Palais. . (Source: Esku Pilota)

Top 5:
Ducassou
Larralde
Ospital
Guichandut
Bilbao

Main Nue--Tournois de Bidart

Tournois de Bidart (1) (2), an EP 1000 tournament, was played on October 13 and 15, 2016.

Sources for all scores and stories: Esku Pilota. Source for match video: Esku Pilota Youtube page.

October 13, 2016:

Semi-finals

Larralde-Guichandut defeated Etchegaray-Bilbao 40-19

Ospital-Ducassou defeated Bielle-de Ezcurra 40-18

Match article for both matches

Though the article maintains that B-E played better than the score indicates, a quick look at the decade scores of each match shows that they were decided early and emphatically.

October 15, 2016:

Final

Larralde-Guichandut defeated Ospital-Ducassou 40-32.

Match article, including audio interviews with Larralde and Michael Palomes, and full match video

Full match video: (Esku Pilota Youtube site)

One of the more interesting facets of this match was that it was played on a "half-trinquet," a very small mur a gauche with a drop in side and back dugout. In some ways it was reminiscent of Trophee Atharee, played last May. In fact three of the four contestants in the final were the same (Ospital instead of Etchegaray being the only difference). That tournament was also played on a mur a gauche with a drop in back and side dugout. Watching the two matches emphasizes the small size of the Bidart court. And just as with the Atharee final, having the right side of the court open encourages quite a different game from the typical trinquet venue. This match was closely contested, with L-G always ahead, but O-D  able to close to 31-34 before L-G finally finished it off. It featured the best front and back courter in Main Nue, along with arguably the best young front and back courters. Ospital and Guichandut have made great strides recently, and fans can only look forward in anticipation to future matchups, as these four attempt to separate themselves from the rest.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pala--Mikel Ayerbe retires from InnPala

After a 14 year career in which (according to his InnPala player page) he played in 14 championship matches and won 7, Mikel Ayerbe retired at age 39. He played his final match on Saturday, October 15:

Armintza Fronton, Lemoiz (1) (2): Gaubeka-Ayerbe defeated Zubiri-Imanol 3-2 (10-9; 9-10; 8-10; 10-9; 10-9). Source: Diario Vasco Cartelara, October 17, 2016).

Video highlights (Source: EITB) (added Oct. 20, 2016)

Match article and 11 photos (Source: InnPala Fronton Facebook Page).

"Mikel Aierbek erretiroa hartuko du larunbat honetan" Zaurazko Hitza (October 11, 2016).

InnPala player page

InnPala photo:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jai Alai/Cesta Punta--Del Tourneo San Fausto (Durango)

Del Tourneo San Fausto  was played at Durango (1)(2) on October 7 and 13, 2016. Sources for scores and photos: Jai Alai News and Jai Alive Facebook pages.

October 7, 2016:

Semi-finals:

Goikoetxea-Inza defeated Olha-Minvielle 35-17

Olharan-Enbil  defeated Egiguren-Erkiaga, 35-25

27 Photos: (Source Jai Alive Facebook page)

October 13, 2016:

Final

Goikoetxea-Inza defeated Olharan-Enbil 35-27

Match article and photos (source: Jai Alive Facebook page)

Third place match

Egiguren-Erkiaga defeated Olha-Minvielle, 25-24.

In addition, both Facebook pages linked to recent interviews with Gotzon Enbil (Diario Vasco-Castellano) and Eric Irastorza (shiny-people.com--Francais) respectively.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Main Nue--hand protection demonstrated by Pampi Laduche

If you have ever wondered how Main Nue players protect their hands against the ravages of the game, then this 38 minute 46 second video (source: Esku Pilota Youtube site), with the legendary Pampi Laduche preparing the protection is mandatory viewing.

Main Nue--Trophee de Lohitzun

Trophee de Lohitzun (1)(2) was played on October 6 and 9, 2016

Source for scores: Esku Pilota resultats. Scroll to date and name of tournament.

*=not listed in the Esku Pilota player pages at present.

October 6, 2016:

Semi-finals

Olcomendy*-Amulet defeated Etcheverry*-Guichandut 40-39

Larralde Freres (Peio and Bixente*) defeated Ospital-Lucu* 40-23

October 9, 2016:

Final

Larralde Freres (Peio and Bixente*) defeated Olcomendy-Amulet 40-19

Match article, along with link to audio interview with the Larraldes and full match video:

Full match video (Source: Esku Pilota Youtube site):

Mano--Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M

The 2016-17 professional Mano season began on October 7, 2016 with the first round of the Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M competition.

Asegarce Competition Page

The competition has 12 players, in two groups. The opening round of four preliminary matches took place October 7-10, 2016. The four winners (two in each group) move on to a quarter final league, where they join four other seeded players (Urrutikoetxea and Altuna III in Gourp A, Oliazola II and Bengoetxea VI in Group B) in a single round robin quarter-final league. The 1st place finishers in each group will then face the 2nd place finishers in the other group in the semi-finals. Semi-final winners will play in the final on November 27, 2016.

Note: Source for all match articles, unless otherwise specifically stated is 21iquales.com.

Source for all match video, unless otherwise specifically stated, is EITB.

Match highlights for all four matches

Group A

October 7, 2010:

At Municipal Fronton, Bergara  Irribarria defeated Jaunarena 22-20

Match article:

In a very Urrutikoetxean performance, Irribarria came back from deficits of 4-10, 5-14, 8-16, and 12-19, to win. A 10-1 run at the end of the match got him over the line.

Full match video (Source: fronton.tv) Scroll to Bergara - 07/10/2016

October 8, 2016

At Beotibar Fronton, Tolosa Victor defeated Untoria 22-17

 Match article:

Victor overcame 9 errors with 13 winners (including 2 service aces) to outlast Untoria,

Full match video:

Group B

October 8, 2016:

At Vall d'Hebron Fronton, Barcelona Retegi BI defeated Gorka 22-15

Match article:

7 Gorka errors were the difference in this match.

October 9, 2016:

At Lekunberri Fronton (1) (2) Ezkurdia defeated Arretxe II 22-16

Match article:

Arretxe II suffered a neck injury early in this match (1-2) but came back after treatment. Ezkurdia had 19 winners.

Full match video

Monday, October 10, 2016

Multiple Modalities--The 2016-17 season begins.

At the end of September/beginning of October the sometimes official, sometimes unofficial 2016-17 season began. In the South Basque professional Mano began its Pilota eskuz: Profesionalak 2016: Lau eta erdiko Txapelketa 2016/Campeonato del 4 1/2 de 1a categoría 2016 LEP. M, which opened competition on October 7-10, 2016. This is followed by the major doubles and singles tournaments, which run consecutively, from December to next May.

Professional Pala has a lull in its schedule at the moment, with independent matches scheduled for Toulouse on October 14 and Armintza on October 15, as it finishes its Summer Pala Tour 2016. Last year the major competition during Autumn was the liga BBK 2015 from late October - end of the year, a short court doubles tournament that involved the entire Innpala roster in a double round robin followed by a semi-final and final, all at Bizkaia. There has been no announcement of this year's tournament as yet.That should be followed a major short court singles tournament, which is in turn followed  by a major long court doubles tournament and then next year's short court Bizkaia open.

In Remonte, along with the usual Thursday-Saturday Galarreta schedule there is a major doubles and singles tournament, followed by next year's Sagardoaren (Cider) doubles tournament. Euskal Jai features an end of the year winter tournament. The Jai Alai scene is relatively quiet during the fall-winter season.

On the amateur front the place to follow the comings and goings of South Basque pelota is the EEPF  for various competitions in several modalities. It can be a bit complicated (especially for the newcomer) to understand the sequence of competitions. The best way to follow the site is by reading the noticias, which will give chronological context to the various competitions. Once you understand the noticias stories, you can use the competition pages to follow the competitions. Another way to follow the amateur scene in the South Basque is through EITB On Demand. Go to "Catagorias", "deportes", "Pilota afizionatuak". EITB covers major amateur finals that are sponsored by EEPF and also by GMGZ Events and other regional organizations. Use it as your guide to major competitions until you become comfortable with how EEPF works. The major South Basque amateur competition is the Gravni competition which covers many modalities and takes place in early Spring. For regional competitions, use the EEPF links page. An exciting new development is Xistera Kluba's sponsorship of amateur Jai Alai, with tournaments being provided live and on demand at both X K's youtube site and EITB (search under "deportes" "Zesta Punta.")

The North Basque has a vibrant Basque Pelota scene in the fall and winter months. Esku Pilota follows the Elite Pro Main Nue scene exhaustively. Follow that site and you won't miss any Pro tournament. They provide much on demand video coverage through their Youtube site.

For the amateur North Basque pelota scene the best place to follow everything is pelotelive.free.fr. Search for competitions by going here and searching on "saisons"2016-2017" to follow competitions in 15 modalities. Since September 8 Paleta gomme pleine competitions and 1 Xare competition have started. Click on "voir" next to any competition and you will be taken to a main competition page that lists the organizer. Cut and paste the organizer into a google search and you will find regional associations that have information about regional tournaments. The main national North Basque pelota organization is the FFPB. You can follow their tournaments from their site or from pelotelive.free.fr. In late winter-early spring their Championnat de France competitions begin.

As far as the Cesta Punta goes, there are CdF matches, as well selected matches at Biarritz Athletic Club and Donibane Lohizune (Saint-Jean-de-Luz). Internationaux Cesta Punta and its Youtube site  have information and videos. ICP sponsors an autumn and Christmas tournament. B.A.C. sponsors several fall and winter tournaments. Another good way to follow the cesta-punta scene all over is through the Jai Alai news Facebook page. The Jai Alive Facebook page also has excellent coverage.

All in all, there is a lot of great Basque Pelota in the North and South Basque Country to follow in the 2016-17 season. I will try to cover as much as possible, concentrating, as always, on sports for which there are match videos.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bote Luzea--Primer Titulo de Euskal Herria

If you look at the English language entry for "Valencian Pelota" (of which we will deal with in much more detail in the near future) in Wikipedia, you will see that it calls Bote Luzea an "extinct [Basque] modality" in its comparison to the important Valencian Pelota sport of Llargues, which is decidedly not "extinct."

Recently, in an emphatic effort to disprove that statement, Euskadiko Pilota Federakundea | Federación Vasca de Pelota (EEPF) sponsored and organized  the 1st Titulo de Euskal Herria  Bote Luzea (Basque Country Bote Luzea Title) competition. It ran from August 26-September 25, 2016.

Bote Luzea is the most ancient of ancestor Basque Pelota sports. It is a "direct" court game, that is to say, two teams face each other, rather than hitting a ball off a wall. There is no net and there are no implements. It is handball on a 60 by 15 meter outdoor court, no walls, with teams of five each (substitution allowed). The ball is bounced off a stone at one end and then hit by the server. The idea is to hit the ball to a place where it cannot be returned. More on the modality can be found here  (scroll to Bote Luzea). It began on open fields and then was moved to open plazas in towns and villages. This tournament was an attempt to revive the game as a cultural artifact and also as a legitimate Basque Pelota competition. In this tournament matches were played to 11 games or 70 minutes, whichever came first. Each game is won by the team scoring 4 points. In this tournament the 6 teams were split into "A" and "B" groups, with a round robin in each group. At the end of the round robin, the first place team played each second place team in the other group in semfinals. Those winners met in a final.

Source for all match articles: EEPF. Source for all video: Bote Luzea Facebook page.

Announcement of tournament

Further news:

Rules of the tournament:

September 25, 2016

Final

Plaza de Leitza (1) (2): Lapurdi 1 (Bessonart, Valencia, Urkia, Fagoaga, Etcheberry, Otegi and Tikoipe) defeated Gipuzkoa 2 (Jon Urbieta, Jauregi, Esnal, Ibai Urbieta and Andoni Urbieta) 6-3 (70 minutes). Note: Gipuzkoa 2's Inaki Esnal and Jon Urbieta played and won the Oriatsun V Txapelketa Pasaka final (covered in this blog) in August.

Match article

Selected match video 1

Selected  match video 2

Photos Part 1

Photos Part 2

Advertisement of Final

MY ARTICLE: How they got there: the entire  the tournament (scores, match articles, match videos and photos) from beginning to end

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Main Nue--Player Rankings--October 2, 2016

Main Nue complete player rankings are available on the player rankings page (Under "Main Nue") on the right side of the main blog page. You can also find how these rankings are calculated there.

Complete Player Rankings as of October 2, 2016. Current through Tournoi de Saint Palais. . (Source: Esku Pilota)

Top 5:
Ducassou
Larralde
Ospital
Guichandut
Bilbao

Baptiste Ducassou reclaimed the top ranking even though he lost his semi-final at Saint Palais. The fact that he played at all moved him ahead of Larralde. Ospital cemented his third place ranking by virtue of his victory at Saint Palais. Guichandut and de Ezcurra switched places, Guichandut coming up from #6 to #4, de Ezcurra dropping to #6. Bilbao maintained his spot rounding out the top five.

Complete Player Rankings as of September 25, 2016.

Top 5:
Larralde=Ducassou
Ospital
de Ezcurra
Bilbao

Main Nue--Tournois de Saint Palais

Tournois de Saint Palais(1) (2), an EP 1000 tournament, was played on September 30 and October 2, 2016.

Source for scores: Esku Pilota Results pages. Scroll to date or tournament name.

September 20, 2016:

1st semi-final

Ospital-Guichandut defeated Lambert-Ducassou 40-38

2nd semi-final

Etchegaray-Bilbao defeated Bielle-Amulet 40-38

October 2, 2016:

Final

Ospital-Guichandut defeated Etchegaray-Bilbao 40-30

Match article (Source: Esku Pilota)

Selected linescore (winners always listed first)

3-3: 4-4: 6-6; 11-15; 16-16; 17-17; 20-17; 23-20; 23-23; 31-23; 35-26; 40-30

Mano--Torneo San Saturio-Ciudad de Soria

Torneo San Saturio-Ciudad de Soria was played at Polideportivo la Juventud (1) (2) on September 30 and October 2, 2016

September 30:

Only semi-final

Bengoetxea VI-Albisu defeated Irribarria-Merino II 22-15

Match statistics, linescore, and graph (ASPE)

October 2, 2016:

Final

Altuna III-Untoria defeated Bengoetxea VI-Albisu 22-16

Full match video (EITB) (match begins at 1 hour, 5 minutes, 5 seconds on the video)

Match article (21iguales.com)

Match statistics (ASPE)

Partial linescore (winners always listed 1st).

14-7; 14-11; 16-16; 22-16

The final summer tournament of 2016 was yet another win for Altuna III, his 5th in 7 championship finals. He won with 4 different partners.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mano--Pablo Berasaluze retires

After 18 years and over 1,000 professional mano matches, Pablo Berasaluze retired on October 1, 2016. He went out in style, +17 in a 22-18 win with Urrutikoetxea v Oliazola II-Larunbe in front of a capacity crowd of 3,000 at Bizkaia Fronton, Bilbo (Bilbao).

"Adiós a un pelotari inolvidable," by Enrique Echavarren (Diario Vasco)

"Berasaluze II:"No tengo palabras para agraceder a toda la gente que me ha apoyado" (Asegarce)

Revista article

Asegarce Player Page

Retirement ceremony (EITB)

Career highlights (EITB)

Berasaluze II's final match

Full match video (match begins at 44 minutes, 42 seconds on the video)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Main Nue--Trophee Soporro/Iken Optika a Espelette

Trophee Soporro/Iken Optica a Espelette (Trinquet Dospi)  (1) (2), an EP 500 tournament, was played on September 15, 22, and 29, 2016.

Source for scores: Esku Pilota Results pages. Scroll to date or tournament name.

* Not listed in Esku Pilota player pages at this time.

September 15, 2016:

1st semi-final

Etcheverry*- B. Larralde* defeated Tellier*-Lafitte* 40-32

September 22, 2016

2nd semi-final

Aguirre-Cubiat* defeated Alcasena*-Lucu* 40-38

A 19-1 run by A-C snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after A-L lead 37-21.

September 29, 2016

Final

Aguirre-Cubiat* defeated Etcheverry*- B. Larralde* 40-21

Martch article along with an audio interview with Gregory Aguirre (Source: Esku Pilota)

Selected linescore (winners always listed first).

10-8; 20-14; 30-17; 40-21.

There was little drama for A-C this time as they controlled  most of the match, increasing their advantage with each 10 points they scored.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jai Alai/Cesta Punta--Erik Mendizabal's amazing week at Dania Jai Alai

About 3 weeks ago Aritz Erkiaga had an amazing week at Miami Jai Alai. See that post for further explanation and a video example of Quinela Jai Alai and how it works.

To refresh your memory

August 29-September 5, 2016

Player----Games Played----Wins----Places (2nd place)----Shows (3rd Place). Selected winning percentages and "in the money" percentage

Aritz----39----16----5----5 .410 winning %, .667 "in the money" %

This was over double the number of wins of the second highest winners.

At the time, and especially after looking at other sets of weekly statistics at Miami kindly provided to me by Tiger's Jai Alai Chalk Talk Discussion Forum, I thought it was unique. After all, for the entirety of the recent Winter 2016 season at Miami, the most wins any weekly wins leader had was 14 (Eric Irastorza--last season's triple crown winner--twice). Within the first two months of the new season, Aritz smashed through that barrier. Aritz' week was thoroughly analyzed, day by day, because it was felt I wouldn't have to do that again for a long time. :)

A "long time" turned out to be a little less than three weeks. For the week ending September 24, 2016 (Sep. 19-24) at Dania Jai Alai, Erik Mendizabal put up the following numbers.

Erik----41----17----8----2 .415 winning %, .659 "in the money"%.

The second highest winner, Ibon, had 10 wins.

Rather than go through Erik's week day by day (which you can do yourself from this link), I thought it would be interesting to compare the statistical nuts and bolts of the two great weeks.

Wins and starts from post positions: A=Aritz, E=Erik

Post 1: A:  6 of 8: E:  6 of 11
Post 2: A:  3 of 5, E:  2 of 4
Post 3: A:  3 of 4, E:  3 of 5
Post 4: A:  0 of 2, E:  2 of 3
Post 5: A:  0 of 2, E:  1 of 5
Post 6: A:  2 of 6, E:  1 of 6
Post 7: A:  1 of 5, E:  2 of 4
Post 8: A:  1 of 7, E:  0 of 3

Singles Matches A: 4 of 6, E: 5 of 8

Early games: A: 3 of 10, E: 4 of 7

Aritz won with 10 different partners. Erik won with 9.

While no direct comparisons can be made because Aritz and Erik play on different rosters, the recipe for success seems very similar. Dominate from early post positions. Dominate when you don't have to worry about a partner. Dominate early games. In the last of these, Erik seems to have an advantage, but we must factor in the strength of each early game roster.

We can only compare them to their competition. It's hard to imagine two more dominating weeks. But then 3 weeks ago it was hard for me to imagine one.

Oh, and one more thing. You cannot watch Aritz play without pay per view. But Erik is another story. You can see him 8 performances, between 30 and 40 games a week at Dania. You can link to free (live only) performances at Dania Jai Alai from the Dania Weekly Leaders page (live streaming and schedule--times are US Eastern Time) on the right side of this blog (under recurring results), where you can also follow week by week roster statistics. Tiger's Chalk Talk Forum (see above) also links to the live streaming, and contains a wealth of statistical information, as well as a lively forum of Jai Alai fans who know much about the history, strategy, and tactics of the Quinela game.