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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Main Nue--FFPB Championnat de France Elite Pro Individuel--Semi-final Liguilla Round 3, February 11-12, 2017

The Main Nue Individuel Elite Pro Championnat de France A and B competition is sponsored by the  Federation Francaise de Pelote Basque (FFPB). The competition began on December 23, 2016 and will end on February 20, 2017. You can follow its progress here.  Pelotelive.free.fr also provides A and B coverage. The tournament is a seeded ladder tournament.

* not listed on the Esku Pilota player pages at this time.

The A group consists of Antton Amulet, Philippe Bielle, Bixintxo Bilbao, Pascal de Ezcurra, Baptiste Ducassou, Peio Guichandut, Ximun Lambert, Peio Larralde, Matheiu Ospital, and Agusti Waltary. The seeds, from low to high are: Amulet and Ospital (1/8), Bilbao and Waltary (Quarter-finals), and Larralde and Ducassou ("Liguilla").

The B group consists of Gregory Aguirre, Jean-Philippe Benesse, Mickael Darmendrail, Vincent Elgart, Julien Etchegaray, Alexis Inchauspe, Laurent Lambert, Cedric Lucu, Alain Migueltorena, Antton Monce, Mattin Olcomendy*, and Mickael Palomes. The seeds, from low to high are: Darmendrail and L. Lambert (1/8), Palomes and Inchauspe (Quarter-finals), and Elgart and Monce ("Liguilla"). Note: Benesse was added to the Esku Pilota player pages sometime in January 2017.

The "Liguilla" phase is a round robin among the top 4 finishers (two who win their way in and two who are seeded in) which will determine the finalists.

Article describing the competition (Esku Pilota)

December 23 2016-January 2, 2017;    January 6, 2017;  January 9, 2017;   January 14, 2017;  January 16, 2017 ;  January 20, 2017 ;  January 21, 2017 ;  January 23, 2017

Liguilla Semi-final Round 1-January 29-30, 2017

Liguilla Semi-final Round 2--February 3-6, 2017

Liguilla Semi-final Round 3--February 11-12, 2017

The Semi-final Liguilla finished with two matches (one of which was cancelled) that had no bearing on the finals, and two matches that had all to play for. On Saturday at Villefranque the match between Ducassou and Bilbao (A) was cancelled due to Bilbao's broken finger. Elgart (B) completed a perfect Liguilla but had punched his ticket to the final a week before. Both Sunday matches at Irissarry were for finals berths. Etchegaray (B) won his match easily and Ospital (A), in perhaps the surprise of the tournament, eliminated last year's champion and will now face the champion from 2 years ago in the final.

Final Liguilla table:

Groupe A.

Ducassou.2-0...(+35)
Ospital.....2-1...(-6)
Larralde...1-2...(-7)
Bilbao......0-2...(-22)

Groupe B

Elgart..............3-0....(+37)
Etchegaray......2-1....(+14)
Monce.............1-2....(-17)
Benesse...........0-3....(-34)

February 11, 2017

Villefranque (1)(2)(3)

Preview article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

1. Groupe B: Elgart defeated Benesse 40-29

2. The Groupe A match was replaced by "une partie amicale" between Amulet and Waltary. Amulet defeated Waltary 40-31

Match article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

Match article for Groupe B Match (Esku Pilota)

1. Elgart v Benesse

Partial linescore (winner always listed 1st) (source: both match articles)

7 equalities to 10-10; 16-10; 20-12; 40-29

The match was a tuneup for the final for Elgart. He broke open a close contest in the 3rd decade and won easily. He now faces Etchegaray (whom he defeated 40-26 in Round 1)  in the Final at Le Garat (Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port) on February 20.

2. Amulet v Waltary

Partial linescore (winner always listed first) (source: Pilota Ttiki)

17-3; 19-12; 40-31

Amulet took control early and, though Waltary cut the lead in half, he never really threatened.

February 12, 2017

Irissarri (1)(2)

Preview article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

1. Groupe B: Etchegaray defeated Monce 40-23

2. Groupe A: Ospital defeated Larralde 40-35

Match article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

Match article for both matches, along with an audio interview with Mathieu Ospital and links to both full match videos (Esku Pilota) Note that both match videos are also available at the Esku Pilota Youtube site (see links below).

Match statistics (spreadsheet format, Esku Pilota) (added February 16, 2017)

1. Etchegaray v Monce

Partial linescore (winner always listed 1st) (source: Pilota Ttiki and Esku Pilota Youtube full match video)

9-16; 18-18; 28-19; 33-22; 33-23; 40-23

For the second consecutive round, Etchegaray came back from a large early deficit to win convincingly. Against Elgart in the final such a start may be disastrous. The strength of Etchegaray's game can be seen in the last 7 points of the match, which he totally dominated with a filet winner, a high, deep winner, a left roof winner, a two wall (right to left) winner, and 3 terrific service aces (off the left roof, deep left, and short left).

Full match video (Esku Pilota Youtube)

33-23--40-23 (45:15-50:53 if your device doesn't parse this segment)

2. Ospital v Larralde 

Partial linescore and match chart (pelotelive.free.fr)

From the nadir of 1-20 and 4-30 on his way to a devastating Liguilla Round 1 match defeat by Ducassou, Ospital came all the way back, defeating first Bilbao, and then, in the surprise of the tournament so far, Larralde. He broke open an even match (22-22) with 11 consecutive points, and then held off a couple of Larralde rallies to earn a rematch with Ducassou in the final at Trinquet Moderne, Bayonne on February 19.

Ospital is fascinating to watch. He has a very deliberate style. He takes an age to serve, sometimes pulling out his handkerchief and mopping his face, other times bouncing the ball 15-20 times. He ponders the front wall (which at Irissarry looks like a matte painting of interstellar space from a 1950s sci-fi film). Then he looks back at his opponent and moves languidly to his serve. The slowness of his approach belies the terrific athletic ability he has. He is also a shot maker extraordinaire. In this match he made filet shots. All Elite Pros make filet shots. But Ospital doesn't use the filet. That is too large a target, too easy for a great defender like Larralde to pull out of the filet and save before it lands. No. No. Ospital uses the wooden frames(!) that hold the filet up, landing his shots on the top of the bottom frame (on the fly) or on the bottom of the top frame (on the bounce). He deals in millimeters. They are really unstoppable shots. I am fairly new to Main Nue and so perhaps these shots are not as amazing as I think. But when other players make them, they seem accidental. With Ospital (in this match anyway), they seemed deadly deliberate. If you watch the segment that basically won him the match, you will see some of these.

I wouldn't care to predict who will win the final (my prediction on this match, which I thought was a "sure thing", cost me 5 points at pelotelive.free.fr). I will say this. I don't think anyone is going to win 40-17.

Full match video (Esku Pilota Youtube)

22-22--33-22 (45:31-55:33 if your device doesn't parse this segment)

For cumulative records of Main Nue elite professionals see the "Cumulative records of EP players" on the recurring results page on the right side of the blog.

For other match videos in other FFPB 2017 Championnat de France competitions see the FFPB CDF 2016-2017 National A and B match videos page on the right side of the blog.