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.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Main Nue--Trinquet Garat Super Prestige singles tournament--Semi-finals

The 23rd Super Prestige is a singles tournament, an EP 2000 competition played at the cathedral of Main Nue, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port's (Donibane Garazi) "Le Garat"(1)(2).

It will be played on Mondays from November 28, 2016 to January 8, 2017 (Note. The tournament competition page shows that the final will be played on January 22, 2017. Originally it had been scheduled for January 8 (see original seeding chart below). The delay is due to a hand injury to Ducassou (source: Esku Pilota website).  This is a seeded singles tournament,  with 2 matches each Monday. The tournament will be played in knockout fashion with 4 "tours", followed by two semi-finals and a final (played on a Sunday). Seeding in one bracket (from low to high) is: Guichandut, X. Lambert, Bilbao, and Larralde. And in the other bracket: Ospital, de Ezcurra, Waltary, and Ducassou. The seeding can be seen graphically here.

2015 SP results

The tournament is organized by Garaziko Pilota (Societe Sportive Goizeko Izarra)

Tournament Competition page

The ongoing results of the tournament will be available on a "ladder" chart. Statistics and commentary for only the most recent Monday matches should be available, but it is unknown whether they will be available for every match. Esku Pilota sometimes puts these statistics into a spreadsheet. If they do, they will be linked to. If not, because of the importance of this tournament, I will copy them.

Tour 1 (November 28, 2016)

Tour 2  (December 5, 2016)

Tour 3 (December 12, 2016)

Tour 4 (December 19, 2016)

Source for match statistics for both matches: H. Ocafrain

December 26, 2016

Semi-Finals

Semi-finals preview article (Pilota Ttiki)

1. Larralde defeated Gonzalez 40-33.

Equalities: 29-29; 30-30; 33-33

Decade linescores: (winner always listed first)

1-9; 9-11; 11-19; 18-22; 23-27; 37-33

Complete linescore: (pelotelive.free.fr)

Time of the match: 1 hour, 8 minutes, 46 seconds; actual playing time: 21:42

Scoring:

Larralde +29 (12 service aces, 6 egindatukoak, 2 xareat, 6 pumpa xare, 1 buruzgain, 1 motz, 1 izkin motz) -3
Gonzalez +30 (12 service aces, 3 egindatukoak, 3 xareat, 4 pumpa xare, 1 ziloat, 2 dejadas, 1 buruzgain, 2 motz, 2 izkin motz) -11

2. Ducassou  defeated Ospital  40-26.

Equalities: 3-3; 4-4; 5-5; 6-6; 10-10; 13-13; 18-18; 19-19

Decade linescores

5-5; 10-10; 16-14; 21-19; 28-22; 34-26

Time of the match: 1:08:56, actual playing time: 23:12

Scoring:

Ducassou +33 (6 service aces, 6 egindatukoak, 8 xareat, 6 pumpa xare, 4 dejadas; 2 motz, 1 izkin motz) -6
Ospital +20 (8 service aces, 3 egindatukoak, 3 pumpa xare, 1 ziloat, 1 burzgain, 1 motz, 3 izkin motz) -7

Match article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

Match article for both matches, an audio interview with Mikel Gonzalez, and full match videos for both matches (Esku Pilota).

Match article (Deia) (Castilian)

Video interview with Mikel Gonzalez (EITB) (Castilian)

Full match videos for both matches (Esku Pilota Youtube site--see below)

1. Mikel Gonzalez' fabulous unseeded 4 match  run through this tournament was finally ended by the top seeded defending champion. But not without a struggle. This match was book ended by two great runs. Gonzalez blazed out to a 9-0 and then 10-2 lead.  The first 9 points began with a shot banked off the right side wall into the xilo box. That was followed by 2 service aces, a beautiful shot into the dugout mesh, 4 more aces, and a Larralde error. The aces were a perfect mixture of low and high, right and left. But Larralde stayed patient and within himself, not trying to get 5 points with every shot. Within 10 points he was back in the game, but by the end of the third decade he was right back where he was at the end of the first. Another player may have cracked under that kind of pressure, but there is a reason Larralde is at or near the top of the Esku Pilota rankings. Although he held a 1 point lead late in the 5th decade, and achieved equality at 30, Gonzalez once more took a 3 point lead. But that was the last point Gonzalez scored. Larralde, after fighting that hard and long, found the resources to pass and then finish Gonzalez, scoring the last 10 points of the match. It was an amazing display of fitness, determination, and talent. His reward is a rematch in defense of his championship v last year's opponent, Baptiste Ducassou.

Full match video

Note: Youtube segments below may not resolve properly in certain browsers or smart phone apps. Exact times on the videos will be provided for those users. Simply move the slider bar to the times listed. Apologies for any inconvenience caused (Added January 7, 2017)

Gonzalez 0-0--10-2 (0:00--7:50)
Larralde 30-33--40-33(57:02--end of video)


2. This match was much closer and more difficult for Ducassou than the final score indicated. The first half of the match was highlighted by 8 equal scores. The last two decades show how a great player pries open a game from an up and coming young star. It wasn't that Ospital had a bad match. At 29-26, he was still very much "in the game." But from there on, Ducassou completely closed the door. And so there will be a rematch of last year's final, the two best players in the game at present, a front man v a back man, both with unlimited reserves of athleticism, talent, intelligence, and passion. Larralde has had much the better of the last two singles finals they played, the 2016 Championnat de France (40-22) and last year's Super Prestige final (40-26). I wouldn't be surprised if this match goes deep into the 8th decade before a winner is decided on January 22.

Full match video

Ducassou--29-26--40-26 (51:24--end of video)