Archive for February 4th, 2013
Filling My Basket With Sport In La Laguna

So there I was in my little orange press bib realizing that the pretty young cheerleaders were the only others in the cold arena exposing their legs. There are still big gaps in my Tenerife tapestry of sport but I hope to eventually fill them and writing for The Tenerife Weekly gives me a push to sample new delights. CB Canarias basketball team are having a great season back in Spain’s elite ACB League and with a Sunday morning game not clashing with football I was pleased to be able to check them out with friends Barnet Dave and Annie.

My flimsy knowledge of the sport is based on a few trips to see Oxford Devils when their Brookes University sports centre distracted me with subsidised student priced Hobgoblin real ale, and one game at Thames Valley Tigers in Bracknell. The Pabellon Santiago Martin stands high and proud in the coldest part of La Laguna, the nearby north airport seems to be always shrouded in cloud. Known locally as the hamburguesa the stadium also houses concerts and the basketball has been pulling in 4,000 plus crowds. My friends sorted out their tickets while I took the press entrance and despite the chill in the high domed interior I was given a warm welcome and was led down to courtside. I was bobbing between mobile tv cameras, photographers, and assorted stewards and even a few police. A large cashew nut in a yellow cap was walking around giving out bags of his or her offspring and it posed with the cheerleaders, how depressing to know that even a cashew nut is getting more female attention than I am. The atmosphere in the stadium was strong and passionate, one of several peñas (fan clubs) filled a section behind me and the chanting and singing were fan led without too much prompting by the announcer or scoreboard.

It did feel strange being among so many yellow fans, thankfully not pios, but many of the songs were familiar from football although without the insults. The game was fast and skilful, CB Canarias looked a lot better than their opponents Cajasol from Seville and soon built a lead that they maintained through all four of the 10 minute quarters. Like ice hockey the clock only runs when there is action, it stops as soon as a basket is scored or there is a foul, so the 10 minutes become around 20 with a 15 minute half way break to change ends. Not all the players were giants, Nicolas Richotti is one of the best defensive players at 1.84 metres while at the other extreme Serbian Blagota Sekulic is 2.10 and built like a brick shithouse.

The final few minutes were tense as Cajasol tried to break back into the game but CB Canarias defended well and broke forward to steal a few late baskets to ensure a 77-68 win. I enjoyed the game and the crowd, in my later days of following ice hockey in the UK the big arenas coming into the sport put me off by being too corporate, too controlling, and impersonal. CB Canarias had a nice friendly atmosphere, more like the family feel I love so much at CD Tenerife. It was another bumper crowd of 4,209 and the team now stands in 13th place and should comfortably avoid relegation, the club and fans fought hard to afford the promotion place their consistent play had earned. I shall be back for more – but maybe I will cover my scrawny little legs next time.





Aridane Unchained In Epic Blockbuster

Massive, that’s how big this 2-3 win at Caudal was, it was needed and after Real Oviedo slipped up earlier in the day it was also timely and restored a five point lead at the head of the table. Big thumbs up to coach Alvaro Cervera for starting with such an attacking line up, Guillem Marti alongside Aridane instead of replacing him, and a lot of credit to our under fire striker who broke his drought with two determined and well taken goals.

Chechu and Medina were out injured so Fran Ochoa started and Loro returned from suspension while Suso was surprisingly dropped to the bench. Both sides had good chances early on and both keepers showed they were ready for a busy afternoon. Aridane saw the home keeper paw away his close up effort and Richard blasted a shot straight through the Tenerife defence. With 12 minutes gone a half clearance saw the ball break to Invernon who drilled it into the net past a nest of Tenerife defenders and the diving Sergio Aragoneses – the first goal conceded in 591 minutes.

Another gift for Aridane squandered, Prosi shot over the visitors bar and Sergio had a let off when he failed to collect a ball he came for on the edge of his area.Tarantino went off with a knock and Yeray came on to fill his central defensive role and the half ended with Aridane finding the keeper from a great Bruno long pass and Guillem slipping the ball wide from an acute angle.

Loro was having a quiet game but he more than made up for it when the home goalie made a mess of a save and he delicately hooked the loose ball into the net to level. Then it was Caudal’s turn to go close with a shot that hit the join of post and bar. Suso came on for Guillem and sliced his way down the right time and time again. The home keeper made a brilliant close reaction save from Ros but Suso charged again causing confusion in the home rear guard. Aridane was in there and when a defender blocked his kicked shot he pounced as the ball popped up and smashed it into the net with his head – I bet that felt so good after his recent dry spell.

Sergio played a big part in the game, his point blank save from Lopez in the 69th minute was vital. Meanwhile Aridane was scampering around like a young gazelle – well certainly with more confidence than in recent weeks, he even managed a neat little back kick to Suso, the goalie blocked the shot and was well placed again when Suso crossed for an Aridane header. It wasn’t all smooth progress, a long ball in was handled by Suso and Prosi converted the penalty to tie it at 2-2. Injury time arrived and a draw seemed scant reward for Tenerife’s hard work but when the ball broke to Aridane he hit a crisply measured shot into the home net. Luckily the vicar had just gone from taking tea with me so he didn’t hear my loud and very crude cries of celebration. The game had one last drop of drama to offer as Prosi fired in a pin point free kick, Sergio arched his back and diverted the ball over the bar with his finger tips. What a game.


Look Who Pitched Up In Los Cristianos Port

Kicking my heels waiting for the fishermen’s protest to start, I wandered out to the ferry port to tickle a few fish and tease a few crabs – you know the sort of thing “didn’t I see your uncle in a jar of Princess Spread? Normally there is a pretty steady diet of ships around Los Cristianos but lately there has been more variety and a few bigger cruise liners to come.

Moored up across from the ferry terminal was a two mast elegant visitor called Tecla, moving in for a closer nosey I could see it had a Dutch flag and a banner advert for potential crew on the gangplank. I have been on several of the tall ships that call in Santa Cruz, they do a nice line in adventure trips where you can get hands on experience of climbing the rigging, scrubbing decks, steering, and navigating – for a fee.

The route for the next voyage was displayed on the banner and looked full of promise including Cape Verde, Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, Australia and Bermuda. One of the three permanent crew explained they were taking on up to 16 trainees of Dutch, German, and Belgium origin for the vast voyage that would stretch to well over a year.

I know you are longing for the lowdown, the schooner was built in 1915 in Vlaardingen to gather herring from the north sea but had to retire to Holland in 1935. Sold to a Danish buyer thee current name replaced the original Graaf van Limburg Stirum and off she popped to haul grain, stone and turf along the Denmark coast. Eventually in 1979 the ship had a re-fit in Holland and started a new life as a charter ship. It was a nice little extra for me on my early evening stroll, especially as it was a short stop with an early morning next day departure for new liquid challenges. Fair winds to you Tecla and may thee barnacles never bother your bottom.