Goals, Draws But Nothing To Dance About

Some people go to church on a Sunday, I do my worshipping elsewhere. Two games in a day seemed like heaven but both matches left me feeling my beer glass was half empty. CD Marino let a 2-0 lead slip to tie 2-2 with San Fernando, and CD Tenerife were downright awful in a 1-1 draw with Cadiz that they did their best to lose.
CD Marino have made a good start to the season and are in the leading pack in Group 12 of the Tercera Division. Without either of their big centre forwards, Adan and Ammed it was left to Kevin Castro to take on the central role, he hit an early shot into the visiting goalies hands but battled hard as always. Fran Alonso looked good with a switch to the left and had some meaty tussles with Feito of the Gran Canarian side. Two former home players, Amado, and Eslava, lined up for the yellows but the nippy Joel was their best forward. Maikel tried a long shot that went wide and Mendy did similar for Marino near the end of the first half.
Marino grabbed the lead with a deft flick of the head by sub Facundo and a clever turn by Alberto gave him a clear sight of goal to make it 2-0. It should have been comfortable from that point but the visiting coach had other ideas. A double change and an attacking frame of mind brought its rewards within minutes. First Feito finished off good creative play from sub Dani, then captain Israel tied the scores, suddenly Marino looked vulnerable. Both sides had chances to win, Marino with a free kick that the keeper punched away, and San Fernando with several raids that Cicovic did well to keep out of his goal. Marino will see it as two points lost but hopefully will learn to not sit back on a good lead.
If the first game left me a little disappointed, the second was like someone cutting up my Shoot league ladders, and scribbling all over my programme collection. CD Tenerife are struggling again but home to lowly Cadiz should have been a fairly easy home win, instead we lost 1-1, it felt like a loss.
The first half was poor, a midfield lacking ideas and still no start for Cristo Gonzalez. Choco´s shooting boots were back in Honduras and only good defending from Camille and Inaki kept Cadiz at bay. Suso and Amath were quiet on the wings and no one had the confidence or directness to test the visiting defence. Ortuño must have felt sorry for CDT he clattered Inaki and got sent off just before the break. That left a clear plan for the second half, attack the short handed team. It seemed obvious to the 8,425 crowd but the coach, the team, or both didn´t get the idea and were if anything even more cautious in the second half.

Jouini took over from Crosas but the service to the attack was still woeful, Suso tried to ignite something but his ball to Amath was lost because of poor control. Omar for Carlos Ruiz could have helped but after impressing up front in the midweek cup game, Omar was deep on the right as little more than a full back. Finally Cristo was brought on after 69 minutes for the predictable Amath, eventually the other players realised it might be a good idea to feed Cristo on the left. Floating in a perfect dipping cross, Cristo found the head of leaping Jouini who showed lethal finishing. If the big Tunisian can make a habit of scoring we might all have to learn his celebration dance. It had been hard going but a 1-0 win would do, but there´s always a but, deep into injury time a bread and butter shot from Santamaria should have been easily dealt with by Dani Hernandez but he fumbled the ball and gave Cadiz a share of the spoils.
Waylaid By A Tenerife West Coast Wander

Seagulls packed the breakwater that was exposed by the low tide and a small group of kayaks tailed behind their leader like ducklings following their mother. Aah yes it was a delightful morning as I made Playa San Juan my kick off point for a stroll along the west coast of Tenerife.

One of my favourite sculptures has been moved along to greet walkers as they take the concrete path that hugs the coast. The rock formations left by the receding tide were spectacular, nimble footed fishermen and women had found some precarious perches while others explored brimming rock pools. Up top an enclosed petanque court was staging a hotly contested game and the pink cactus pears were plentiful on the plants. It’s a busy walkway and a fairly gentle one but it pays out so much in sights and sounds.

Half way to Alcala there’s an interruption in the form of the new desalination plant, this small section  is sealed off but hopefully may reopen soon, the diversion leads inland a few yards to the small village of Fonsalia. There are two modest sized bar restaurants that open after 1.30 pm but all could change if they expand and link the road out to the new ring road. The whole point is to service a new port, it was first planned in 1995 but still only exists on paper, in the meantime I enjoyed my 10 minute diversion through the charming back water of Fonsalia. Emerging back on the coastal path I rose upwards on a narrow and tricky section with a vast expanse of craggy fingers reaching out into the sea.

The approach to Alcala is always good, I love the drag of the shingle below in the small coves. A few people had taken the steep stone steps down but I pushed on into the plaza for a cold drink. My old Western Sun office was just off the fishermen’s quay and I have fond memories of lunch break sea swims followed by home made sarnies as I sat on the rocks. Much has changed and mainly for the good, the walkway around the bay is always a blaze of flowers and opens out to a wide strolling area in front of the Palicio de Isora hotel. The play areas, wooden benches, and Tourist Information Kiosk help to encourage hotel visitors to explore back down into Alcala, and it is reaping the benefit from more trade.

Pressing on the Playa La Jaquita is another good addition, a mix of small, subtle, dark sand coves and rocky bathing pools, all well served by the Arela Beach Bar. The recent upgrade could have distorted the canvas but it has just opened it out and what a pretty picture it makes. Around the headland and I could see the cliffs of Los Gigantes in the distance but the path was signed as closed for a new coastal walkway to be made.

I of course detoured up to the main road and didn’t squeeze around the barrier, If I had, I might have seen the new path taking shape, again it’s that balancing act, this time between encouraging more people to see the wild Punta Blanca coast without smoothing over too many of natures wrinkles. Time will tell but hopefully it will finally stop the illegal campers, I can remember the piles of rubbish they used to leave behind. I still ended up in Varadero ready to revisit old friends on the way through Playa de La Arena. It’s still good up west.


Now The Hard Work Starts For CD Marino

At half time in the home game with Villa Santa Brigida the world looked wonderful to CD Marino. Leading 1-0, playing some terrific football, and with a three point lead at the top of the division if the score held. But it didn’t hold and finished 1-1, wind on to the midweek holiday game at El Cotillo and a 3-0 defeat put the blues down into fourth spot.

There’s plenty of skill in this Marino side and in their stride they flow and compliment each other but now they will have to regroup and show their character. These opponents were two of the best in the division but Santa Brigida, last years champions looked anything but in their slow, careless start on Sunday. Adan was the spearhead causing problems for the Gran Canaria side but it was Kevin Castro tucked in behind him that inflicted the opening goal after 10 minutes with a calm finish.

It was a slap round the face for Santa Brigida who started to put together some good moves, Cicovic was always ready with a sharp save and captain Ubeda and central defensive partner Mendy limited their chances. Facu was one of the stars of Santa Brigida last season and started to show glimpses, his rushed shot just before half time was a warning to Marino. Losing Adan early after the break with an injury took some pressure off the visitors, replacement Ammed drifted away from his central role and when Kevin was subbed it was like a come on for the yellows.

The equalizer was a defensive mix up as Santa Brigida opened up Marino’s left side and a cross from wide wasn’t intercepted, Facu was lurking and had an easy tap in. The visitors could have stolen the game late on, both subs missed glorious chances, Juanma was left shaking his head after trying to part the sky with his high shot in front of goal. A draw still looked a decent result at the end, especially as close rivals El Cotillo lost heavily away.

Feasting The Senses At Ten-Diez Creative Art Awards

A packed hall was buzzing with appreciative conversation at the opening night launch party of the fifth Ten-Diez exhibition. Some were drawn by the colours, others the styles, and still more by the innovation, but all shared a mutual love of the creative arts.

For the fifth year Costa Adeje is the focal point as Ten-Diez continues its mission to make a wide range of affordable art accessible to the south of Tenerife. Based once more at the Baobab Suites just above Bahia del Duque the exhibition is under the banner of the Ten-Diez Creative Art Awards. For founder and driving force Mark Fradley, himself an accomplished photographic artist, it was the combination of a selective process that started with 260 entries from as far afield as Tokyo and the eastern block countries. The 34 exhibitors include many based in the Canary Islands with around 13% from beyond and all this year’s works are displayed for the first time with Ten-Diez.

As I weaved my way around the hall my vision was constantly distracted by different subjects and ways of expressing them. Sculptures from Francisco Armas Padron offered a multi dimensional centre piece and a thought provoking study. As a child of the 60’s I found the vibrant pop art of Max Mala striking a chord with me and it would wake up any wall. Seigar’s photo studies appealed on several levels, specializing in reflections in urban settings. Javier Gee added a new twist to photos of natures own artwork by adding a human interloper.

All of the works are for sale and many of them are easily manageable sizes. A visit to the gallery will open up all sorts of memories, emotions and maybe even inspiration to take up the brush, camera, or chisel yourself. Entry to the hall is free and it’s open daily from 10 am to 11 pm until 26th November.





Hardly A Tremor From CD Tenerife

What, no goals again! This is getting a bit habit forming, a second home 0-0 from CD Tenerife in two games was cause for concern. Getafe were just one place off the bottom before the game and there for the taking but one again the team play was predictable, even with changes to the line up.

Pep Marti’s favoured pivot system in midfield was dismantled with Marc Crosas left out, in theory it looked like a more attacking formation. Starting Jouini was a popular move but countered by dropping Amath to the bench. To be fair, a training injury to Camille forced a rethink down the left and Inaki was the natural choice to fill the full back slot.

Tenerife were the marginally better side in the first half but Choco looked tired and laboured, at least Jouini  showed plenty of fight. There had to be at least another of those “what you doing” moments from the ref, in the first half he ignored a blatant handling outside of his area by the keeper.

The worst decision came 10 minutes into the second half, even the most biased of CDT fans didn’t expect a penalty when Jouini went down in the box after trying to force his way through but to give him a second booking and a red was ludicrous. The draw seemed almost inevitable from then on, Amath took over from Aaron but his early promise has faded a little, confidence is probably in short supply at the moment.

Molina did the decent thing for Getafe, getting sent off in the 79th minute after bowling German over, still there was no home goal. Dani Hernandez even had to make a couple of important saves during the game, points at home just don’t raise the roof. The only laugh of the game was the announcement of the 9,053 crowd, even with fans clinging to the shadows to avoid the baking sun, it was a really creative figure.


CD Marino Enjoying The View From The Top

Predictions for the new season held out little joy for CD Marino but they are proving them wrong in style. This 1-0 home win over Arucas was hard fought and the blues enjoyed some good fortune but it pushes them two points clear at the top of their Tercera group and there is a belief and spirit at the club that suggests big things are possible.

Hopefully local Canarians will return in numbers to the stands, at the moment there is always a good sprinkling of British tourists, a credit to the clubs advertising in local hotels. Even the pre match music has a familiar sound, you can’t knock a bit of Nirvana blasting over the speakers. Marino looked confident as they started against the Gran Canarian strugglers, Adan was leading the line well and Kevin Castro was always a threat drifting in from the left. Killiam and Alex tried their luck for the visitors but Mendy showed them how to finish with a strong header when surrounded by defenders.

The pitch was in surprisingly good condition after the Ricky Martin concert two weeks ago, both sides used it well to show their speed, Brad had to race back and make a couple of well timed interventions but Marino were good value for the lead.

My slight hangover told me it was hotter than usual but I realized how much when the teams took a pre arranged water break after 25 minutes, this was repeated in the second half. Arucas put the ball in the net just before half time bit the ref, after a prolonged pause, gave a home free kick, that angered former Marino coach Jose Juan Almeida who got his first warning from the ref. Arucas put some pressure on in the second half, Cicovic was having another good game, he takes everything that comes in the air. It was interesting to see a new back up keeper on the bench, Petar is an experienced player with Granadilla and Las Palmas Atletico.

Even after having their coach, and defender captain Cone sent off, the visitors showed resistance but a little too much fight, there were some shocking tackles and cheap kicks after play stopped. Marino kept cool and with Ammed on as sub they nearly doubled the lead. There was a tense finish, Kiliam was on a breakaway in injury time but couldn’t get his shot in and the whistle sealed the victory.



All Ship Shape In Santa Cruz

Any excuse and I’m off to Santa Cruz, there’s so much going on, that was definitely the case as I called in for two big events and still ended up gazing at the ebb andd flow of the ships at the port. My first visit was for the Seatrade Cruise Med trade show at the Recinto Ferial, with 153 stalls and some interesting forums there was plenty for me to dive into.

There was a real party feel to the hall, Tenerife was pushing its charms and the various world ports and destinations were doing the same right back. I partly resisted the temptation of the flowing wine and beer, well I did have the CD Tenerife evening game to come, but I was distracted by some of the very nice promotions ladies. Cruise Wales drew me in with a free fluffy sheep – I’m so shallow, but my mums family are steeped in Welsh history so I was able to sound a little knowledgeable. Places I had visited in my younger years caught my eye, Hamburg, Cagliari, and Amsterdam in particular.

Back out at the port there was the usual mix of working boats, ferries, and cruise ships. Emerald Princess (top of three) was moored up majestically on the far side, that arrangement will change in a few weeks when the new 19 million euro cruise ship terminal starts to welcome up to 10,000 passengers at time. Other vessels will still co-exist, Transmediterranea’s inter island ferry Albayzin was chugging out a fair bit of smoke as it turned on a sixpence,well maybe a farthing considering it’s a veteran of the fleet. Wandering off to the marina I found the Danish training ship Georg Stage (top of page) taking a breather. It had traveled down from its Copenhagen base and was being cleaned, polished, and repaired by a skeleton crew awaiting new paying recruits for their November voyage.

A few days later I was back for the Plenilunio promotion day in Santa Cruz, the streets and plazas bulged with families enjoying everything from live music and theatre to parades and displays of Carnaval costumes. The latest cruise ship to dock was Ventura, they must have thought all the fuss on shore was especially for them. It was quite breezy down near Plaza de España as the wind blew in from the sea, bouncy castles had extra bounce and up a side street a wedding party was gathering and trying to hang on to their expensive hats. One of the strangest sights was vehicles from the military museum driving around, an old VW painted battleship gray and driven by a sinister looking Nazi made me shudder. The American GI Jeep from WW2 was a bit more jolly, but they were late of course. As I wended my way back to the bus station I detoured under the arch of the Puente General Serrador bridge and spotted a fabulous mural honouring the people of Santa Cruz – it had me smiling all the way back to Los Cristianos

CD Tenerife In Snooze Mode For Mallorca Draw

Raul Camara will look back on his 100 th game for CD Tenerife and think that he might yet get a call as a striker. This was a blunt 0-0 draw, not entirely unexpected as we struggle to put long runs together, four straight wins was beyond the reach of poor creativity in midfield and half hearted finishing in front of goal.

It’s understandable that Pep Marti went with an unchanged team after the 0-1 win at Almeria, even if it did take an own goal to move the scoreboard. There were just too many holding players in midfield, Vitolo and Aitor Sanz are so similar and Crosas was about as deep as he could get without forming a double act with Dani in goal. There would have been room for both on the goal line, Mallorca were very negative and it took them 30 minutes to even test him.

Amath was again our best chance of cutting through Mallorca down the left, on the other side Suso was also deep leaving Choco with only rare chances to shoot. The forward missed from a headed attempt and was unlucky not to get a penalty after being forced over in the box. I blame the fixture planners, Thursday night at 9pm is hardly traditional, some players seemed to be playing in their slippers.

The second half couldn’t have got worse and to its credit it improved a little. Amath lit the fuse for Choco again with the same result, another miss and from the other flank Suso set him up again with a header to the keepers hands the end result. Subs were needed, Aaron took over for Crosas and made some impact, Jouni was again a late sub, he must be close to getting a longer run, he is awkward to mark and gives defenders problems. Omar was another late addition as Raul went off, he nearly let Mallorca in for a late winner after failing to close down an attacker. Even five minutes injury time for play acting from Raillo couldn’t change the outcome, that’s just four goals from six games.


Iffley Lock Is the Key To A Relaxing Oxford River Walk

Enough feathers to stuff a warehouse clearance of MFI beds and more quacks than a dodgy doctors convention. There we were surrounded by hungry ducks waddling towards us demanding their daily bread. That’s probably how it would look in a cheap horror film but they were quite cute and more like an eager welcoming committee as we crossed over the Thames at Iffley Lock half way through a sunny September stroll.

Iffley is a delightful village about 2 miles outside Oxford city centre, walking off the busy main road I met my former work friend Christine in the shade of the tree lined Iffley Turn. Other small feeder road names like Stone Quarry Lane were clues to the history and sheer beauty around us. Old stone cottages with thatched roofs were joined by new dream home developments that padded out the village. Walking further into the village we passed a few horses in a paddock and a couple of tempting pubs before reaching the old church.

A large twisted oak tree stood guard and reminded me of an infant school trip so many years ago when a thunder storm raged as we sheltered briefly under the then larger spread of branches before common sense and a church warden ushered us into a nearby dry barn. On this modern visit the graveyard looked a little neglected with the long grass lapping at the memorial stones. As we walked around I noticed a figure huddled in a hedgerow and thought it was someone sleeping rough, closer inspection showed it was a chap sketching away on a large pad of paper. The church and its setting is certainly an inspiring sight and the serene feel must get the creative juices flowing.

Moving on we took the tight turn further down the lane over the old weir and across the first part of the lock. Several narrow boats were negotiating their way through the gates and we waited for them to pass before crossing over to get the full splendour of the lock keepers lodge, and the river stretching ahead in either direction. Once on the other bank the ducks came calling, no wonder they were keen, Christine confessed she had fed them generous amounts of bread on previous visits. With as much grace as I could muster I walked down a few stone steps until just above the water line to get a photo of an old mooring point disguised as an Oxon’s head, the ring to tie up to was long gone. The plan was a food and drink stop at The Isis (the name given to the Thames as it passes through Oxford), a lovely riverside pub a bit further downstream towards Donnington Bridge.

Our timing wasn’t good, the pub wasn’t going to open until later in the afternoon, so it was an about turn to follow the footpath the other way along the bank as it headed off to Sandford and eventually Abingdon. Some older, less loved narrow boats were moored along the way and horse chestnut trees provided a carpet of conkers bursting out of their prickly green jackets. Quite a few cyclists were also using the path as we veered off to take the bridge over the railway track and into Kennington. I had mixed memories of my time living there and The Tandem pub stirred a few flashbacks as we popped in and ordered some food. We sat out the back on the decking in the garden and soon realized how frequent the trains were on the main line to London. Suitably refreshed we retraced our steps back over the railway line, stopping to admire the fish design on the gate. We were soon back in Iffley village again, a nice gentle walk and a lovely way to revive thoughts of long hot Oxford summers from years ago.

Oxford – City Of Dreaming Cranes

Arm wrestling for supremacy, summer and autumn reached a good natured stand off for my latest return to Oxford. My Tenerife flight landed at Birmingham on the hottest day of the year, 34 degrees, with blue skies, but dew laden morning grass and a carpet of brown leaves hinted at impending colder weather. That first evening found me with friends enjoying a decent real ale at The Angel And Greyhound, and even the 4.25 price tag couldn’t temper my pleasure at being back in Cowley.

The blue skies of the city centre were not as clear as usual, crane towers criss crossed the skyline above the fast emerging Westgate shopping centre. This goliath of a project had me scurrying around to find my relocated bus stops and has caused hope and consternation in equal measures among traders. I climbed the 99 steps of Carfax Tower the next day to get a birds eye view of the site and the city centre. The good weather ensured the main streets were packed with shoppers, tourists, and novelty entertainers like the man playing a violin on a tightrope.

One of the pleasures of this trip was getting to see my beloved Oxford City FC at home to Maidenhead United. The hoops are in a financial mess at the moment, a better than usual crowd of around 400 will have helped a little but the 1-3 defeat showed that City will struggle this season in the Bananarama Conference South. Maybe a cup run or a home grown nugget could help to balance the books but City have survived worse in the past, they built up from park football after loosing the Old White House Ground to their college landlords. I still have faith in them and will watch with interest from afar.

Real Ale was also on my agenda and although I was a bit early for the dark, brooding winter ales I prefer, I did find some nice brews and several pubs fighting back against the lure of cheap supermarket beer at home. Full marks to The Cape Of Good Hope, how rough was that in my youth, since then it has changed its face more times than Doctor Who. I sat with my friends in one of the wooden cabins out in the back yard, a nice drinking experience, or put another way, I spent the evening in a garden shed with some mates – like some drunken gnomes. Very impressed by The White Rabbit, formerly The Gloucester Arms, no longer a rock pub but a great beer range and nice barmaids. The Royal Blenheim may be partially hidden behind the Westgate building site but with ten hand pump ales it was another welcome stop.

The hot weather ended just before m trip did, heavy rain and lower temperatures but it was still great to see Oxford again, expensive, full of clueless cyclists, and almost impossible to access via the jammed up roads, but I love the quirky nature and diverse mix of people. It’s always home to me.