Archive for September, 2013
Basketball Bounces South For Adeje International

Someone had their tail up, or something, I couldn’t quite work out what animal the mascot was meant to be at the Las Torres sports centre in Adeje for a pre season basketball friendly between CB Canarias and Frankfurt Skyliners. On reflection I reckon it was a dog, frisky and with a small tail it cavorted around the edge of the court as the teams warmed up, at least it didn’t try to mark out the corners in a unique canine way.

I managed to see a CB Canarias game at their La Laguna home Pabellon Santiago Martin, back in January and was impressed at their winning performance and 4,000 crowd. This rare visit to the south wasn’t officially announced until three days in advance, all tickets were a bargain three euros and around 600 people, they could have fitted another 200 maybe, took their seating above the court. Goodie bags were exchanged pre game and the teams set off at a cracking pace as spare players stretched and thrusted on the sidelines.

This is a good time to confess that my knowledge of the sport is pretty basic but the four quarters are 10 minutes playing time each with stoppages stretching that to around double. The two teams play in the top leagues of Spain and Germany but have a few imports, mainly American to bolster the squad. Half way into the first quarter Fotios Lampropoulos of CB Canarias crashed to the floor after a knock from an opponent, he was clearly in great pain and was carried off for treatment to a badly damaged leg.

One of the unsung jobs surrounding basketball is the sweat moppers, the polished wood floor that makes the trainers squeak as the players move also gets very slippy so two lads at each end were constantly called upon to mop up pools of sweat.

Anyway back to the game, the first two quarters were level 16 and 13 each and CB Canarias nosed in front by three points with the final period to go. During the breaks the local cheer leaders group Tenerife Tigers took to the court to perform their moves, well they have won prizes in international competition. I showed great restraint when they did one turn to the Hawaii Five O theme – an informal anthem of the Armada Sur.

So it was all set up for the final ten minutes, CB Canarias brought out the big guns, Levi Rost was top scorer on the night with 18 points, most of those coming in a late blitz. Luke Sikma is the big summer signing from America, he looked good, but I was very impressed by Mamadou Ndiang by far the tallest on the court, the young Senegal player looks a great prospect.CB Canarias steadily pulled away and a late long basket from Ricardo Uriz underlined their superiority for a 78-60 win. Frankfurt didn’t look too upset, their coach was the coolest man on the court in his grey cord shorts, and thee crowd got top class entertainment with the gate money going to local sports development.


Out, Out, Out Scream Disgruntled CD Tenerife Fans

Coach Alvaro Cervera has more problems to grapple with after this poor 0-1 home defeat to Lugo but it’s President Miguel Concepcion who has become the focal point for the fans anger. Cervera is playing with a weak hand of cards and the latest shuffle failed to produce a winning flush.

 Pre game it seemed to be an either or choice between Aitor Sanz and Quique Rivero in midfield but they both started with Ricardo on the bench and Inigo Ros still not back to sort out our engine room. Lugo were lively starters, Carlos Ruiz showed he was looking to erase the memory of last weeks shocker and made a perfectly timed block on Diaz to deny an early chance.

 The problem midfield was again stuttering for Tenerife, Rivero was playing deep, a waste of his attacking qualities, and even the industrious Cristo seems at half pace lately. Thank goodness for Suso, the man is a burning ball of desire, always looking to take on defenders and making sure that there is at least one source of supply for Aridane and Loro. Aridane had a couple of sniffs at goal but Loro looks a poor reflection of last years player.


Rennella was making the most of the few openings that were on offer from a tight home defence, he broke loose on the half hour but his finish was wide of the post. There was a surprise at the start of the second half with Borja Perez making his second appearance, in place of Loro. Chechu made a good run on the right and tempted Aridane with a cross but hi could only flick the ball wide with his head. Mallo in the Lugo goal looked uncertain and should have been put under more pressure but it wasn’t coming. The young inexperienced ref was no help, are they ever? We can put up with them being generally poor but why do they so blatantly favour the away side?


There was a big blow after 61 minutes, Ricardo had joined the action for Rivero and Sanz had already got a booking when a foul on Sanz was given against him and as he raged at the ref a second yellow card came out and he was off. The hill had just got steeper, Ricardo should have kept his shot down and made the goalie work, hanging on for a draw suddenly seemed the best we could hope for.

 Suso was fuming at the linesman for continued bad calls, thankfully he kept a lid on it and continued to charge at the defence. Maybe the ex Scottish League boys Perez and Suso would swing the game, but it was former Rangers player Sandaza who grabbed the winner a few minutes after coming off the bench. Sergio Aragoneses had to leap to get two hands to a stinging shot but he couldn’t hold it and it fell to Sandaza who fired it into the net.


The response was instant “Concepcion Dimision’ (resign) rang out from a large section of the 7,770 crowd. There is still a belief that coach Cervera can turn things around on the pitch but a lack of leadership off the pitch is seen as the long term problem and there’s a hunger for change. The game was beyond Tenerife’s reach, Lugo held firm and Perez withdrew deeper, he doesn’t inspire confidence that even with full match fitness he can produce goals. Bottom side Real Madrid B are the visitors next Sunday, we can only hope for better things before we get pulled into a relegation dogfight.


Z List CD Tenerife Sunk At Zaragoza

When people gather to chill each others blood with tales of horror and carnage, this game will be talked about in hushed tones. How awful was this display, well Real Zaragoza were in a mess on and off the pitch but Tenerife made them look good.

Take a bow Carlos Ruiz, the central defender had a mare and was involved in all the goals as the home side won 3-0. The first came after 48 minutes, Ruiz gave away a free kick with both knees in an opponents chest – just after the Cabildo advert against violence and for fair play had appeared on the TV coverage. The defending wall jumped but Victor’s shot sailed over them and gave Sergio Aragoneses no chance in goal. Then after 62 minutes Ruiz got his boot to a shot from Mantanas but it just helped it into the net. The final nail in the Tenerife coffin came within three minutes as Victor skipped by Ruiz who didn’t offer a tackle – oh the shame, the shame.

Good points were hard to find, Aridane was a passenger but the service to him was poor, Inigo Ros wasn’t even on the bench – I assume he got a reaction to his mid week run out, the midfield is like a dessert without him. The first half offered up a good few chances for Tenerife, Aridane had a header deflected away, Aday Benitez powered through and unleashed a strong shot that wasn’t far off the mark, and home goalie Del Franco was dead lucky to see a Suso shot bounce away off his shoulder after he totally miss judged it.

Then the second half arrived and the wheels really fell off, the first goal rejuvenated Zaragoza and they showed a killer instinct that Tenerife are lacking this season. Even a double sub just before the second goal didn’t gee up Tenerife, Rivero  and Rigo replaced Suso and Loro but nothing changed. Victor could have completed his hat trick if Sergio hadn’t tipped over his 75th minute shot and saved at his feet as the game ebbed away. Let’s not hit the panic button yet, two home games on the trot can put us back on track but will they?

On The Edge Of Our Rocks For Worlds Best Waterskiers

No widescreen TV could compete with such a sporting view, the World Waterski Racing Championships were played out on a panoramic course in front of Puerto Colon marina wall with a crystal clear La Gomera looming large in the distance. Mind you the seating was a bit tough on the bottom, after several hours perched on the rough edge of a large rock I seem to now have three buttocks, if I break wind it’s in stereo.

I was impressed that no one slipped down the gaps between the rocks, my new notepad (paper not electronic) did elude my grasp and slip to a watery end but people of all ages were clambering to get the best vantage points. The racing was fantastic, there must be a collective term for water skiers, maybe a balance of. As the midweek action hotted up I got to meet more skiers, drivers, observers, and the barmy families and friends who had paid a fortune to follow their heroes from far flung homes in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. They were a great bunch, the harbour wall had evolved into groups, GB being one of the largest and noisiest, some with awnings to protect them and their merchandise, the costs of this sport are in the tens of thousands so they need all the help they can get.

Australia led the charge from the start and by the third day were ready to clinch some of the titles. Jack Harrison won the Junior Boys title, Rachel Stapleton took the Junior Girls and in the seniors Trudi Stout was a stylish champion of the Open Women while double World Champion Wayne Mawer oozed class as he stormed ahead of the field. The racing was brilliant to watch, up to 30 boats in action at a time and passing close enough to appreciate the power of the engines and the control and skill of the skiers. It’s not just a matter of hanging on to the tow rope, the skier has a harness around their lower back to take the strain and steers with the feet and one hand, easier said than done with the water being churned up by all around them. The unseen heroes are the boat driver and the observer who sits facing the skier to relay instructions.


A few boats suffered technical problems and had to pull out but thankfully rider accidents were few. GB were in the wars, Harvey Robinson came adrift and needed an overnight stay in hospital as bruised vertebrae ended his tournament, Marisa Alongi ended up in a leg brace after falling with her knee extended, she was hoping it was just a bone fracture rather than ligament damage but the final verdict will have to wait until she is back in Edinburgh. Even one of the GB supporters picked up a broken leg after a fall at the hotel, I’m assured that no drink was involved.

Saturday arrived with glorious sunshine for the final days racing, we had been threatened with a tickle from the tail of Hurricane Humberto but it veered away. The crowd had grown again, and the boat containers in the pits were taking on an ever more homely feel, some had mini generators, perfect to run a fridge and keep the beer cold. It sent a little shiver through me to see the skiers dipping into wheelie bins full of ice and water, one minute in, one minute out and repeat five times, good for the aching muscles I’m told, maybe it could be a new craze in the clubs of Las Americas?

The Women and Men  F2 titles still needed to be decided. Sarah Teelow fought off her nearest rivals and Ben Gulley made sure the Australian flag dominated with a sixth title. Wayne Mawer was already crowned but he rounded off a superb days racing by winning a thrilling tussle with Todd Haig of the USA. There were still official presentations to be made, just trophies, no money prizes, these are dedicated sportsmen and women. The whole event was a huge success despite patchy advertising, maybe waterski competitions could become a new addition to the Tenerife calendar.

Goals Are Back In Fashion In Santa Cruz

With a sweet stroke of his boot Luismi Loro lifted the pressure building on CD Tenerife, a goal after three games and 37 minutes, and didn’t he take it well. It was already looking a better performance despite the frustration of a cynical Barcelona B side that hit the floor and milked every tackle, brush, or stray breeze. The long awaited goal came from a free kick out on the right, Loro wafted the ball over the defence and goalie for a deserved lead.

Aridane was the architect of this encouraging 2-2 draw, we have missed him so much, holding up the ball, taking the pressure off players, and providing a focal point he was magnificent. Tenerife had most of the first half play, the midfield still looked a bit creaky but with Suso getting stuck in Loro back to something like his best there was cause to feel hopeful. Suso clipped keeper Masip’s fingers and Aridane went close with an opportunist chip that had the goalie scrambling.

Nieto was Barcelona chief tormenter up front but he spent so much time rolling around in mock agony he made a mess of the chances that came his way. It was clear we weren’t going to get anything from the referee, his booking of Aitor Sanz just before the half time whistle was a disgrace brought on by Espinosa making three square meals of minimum contact. At least we had that Loro strike to ease our sense of injustice at half time.

It all came crashing down as the second half opened, the introduction of Denis Suarez gave Barcelona a new dynamic and they were encouraged by loose home defending. Espinosa finished off a good move started by the former Manchester City forward, five white shirts surrounded Espinosa but he still got through with ease to score. Then a few minutes later Roman picked out Nieto unmarked at the far post and he posted the second goal. It was a test of spirit now and Tenerife responded well, Ricardo on for Cristo put in a good shot and Moyano overlapping well found the keeper with his shot.

Ayoze replaced Kike Rivero and provided the key pass to Aridane who brought the ball down with his chest before making a mug of Planas and cracking a lovely goal. The ref compounded his blinkered view of the game by booking Aridane and Ayoze after more play acting by Barcelona. Ayoze had the best late chances but couldn’t quite control a shot on the turn and had his second effort deflected away off a defenders legs. Llorente was the last minute hero getting back to foil a sitter for Barcelona in front of the post – again unmarked. Maybe coach Alvaro Cervera will try some experiments in Wednesday nights Copa del Rey game at Eibar, we have no great expectations in the cup so there’s nothing to lose.


Speed, Power, And Glamour As The World Comes To Puerto Colon

Water skiing always makes me think of the opening sequence for The Persuaders, the 1970’saction series starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis. They were skiing along with nonchalant ease as they waved to each other, they looked like they had time to butter a scone each and make a few wisecracks. Swap Monte Carlo for Tenerife and we had the real thing arrive at Puerto Colon, no gently raised eyebrows and smoothly gelled hair but lots of speedboats like growling beasts and 180 dedicated sports enthusiasts. None of your overpaid pampered stars here, their skis might whiz over the waves at up to 180 km per hour but there feet are firmly on the ground.

A trip down to Puerto Colon a week ahead of the races found few signs of the drama to come, a couple of days before the off and it was a little better but in Los Cristianos there was hardly any awareness of the great event. I met Karen Brooks GB captain (below) and she guided me through the busy but good natured pit area introducing me to skiers, drivers, and observers for the boats. It was clear to see that this was a costly affair to run but they finance themselves with what little sponsorship they can muster.

An invite to the GB team meeting at the Hotel Isabel in Fanabe impressed me even further, the mood reminded me of my days following GB Ice Hockey, very limited outside finance but a great spirit of camaraderie and lots of hard working organizers making it all tick. The friendly rivalry between countries was also apparent, New Zealand flags hung of a few balconies overlooking the swimming pool, the notice board showed that the USA team meeting was in one of the competitors rooms, GB had reserved the large saloon bar – one nil to the Brits. There was a buffet and a few cheeky beers laid on and with the families and supporters the team of 34 was swelled to well over a hundred.

On to the parade on the eve of the competition, the plan was for all the teams to meet up at the pits in their best coordinated outfits and a boat from each country would travel up to Adeje with two open top buses for a presentation with the mayor. The teams all scrubbed up well and posed for group shots, the Spain team was typically casual in miss matched shorts and t-shirts, the USA team were a bit late getting dressed and were still adjusting themselves on their boat as it pulled out. Australia were very smart and the GB team looked good with the ladies looking stunning in their red dresses.

I got to chat to some more of the competitors, the New Zealand gang underlined the dedication being poured into the competition by telling me about their long trek to Tenerife. The team flew in from Auckland to Hong Kong (11.30 hours), then to Zurich (12.50 hrs) and finally in to Tenerife (4.30 hours). That was nothing compared to the three month journey their boat, The Beast (below) had to make in its container. Their trusty steed came via the Panama canal, Germany, France, and possibly even Narnia and Atlantis.

Cocktails were provided at the El Galeon sports centre but the competitors were very limited by the early morning start the next day and the fact that random drug testing is taking place throughout the competition. I will update you with more from behind the scenes and don’t forget your free copy of The Tenerife Weekly each Friday for more on the racing.


Refreshing Win For CD Marino But Stagnant Defeat For CD Tenerife

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a mainly young and newly recruited CD Marino team but what I got was bags of spirit, hard work and plenty of promise. Relegation was the inevitable end of a disjointed campaign last season so it’s back to basics in the Tercera Division.

Aaron is one of the survivors from the drop and he prompted a lot of the early moves from right back. Marino looked lively from the off against CD El Cotillo, one of the fancied teams of the division. Josito saw his chance after five minutes and burst into the visitors box but Pedro upended him and the ref gave a penalty. Captain Airam struck it true to beat the keeper but the ref made him take it again – no problem, it still hit the back of the net.

Pulido made a strong dash in from the right and crossed the ball to the far post, Roberto Carlos racing in got a boot to it but it flipped up over the bar rather than doubling the lead. Eslava found himself free in front of goal but headed weakly into the hands of keeper Omar. Cotillo started to come into the game more and ended the half the stronger but the home defence was well organized and cqlm and were able to cope. Roberto Carlos nearly opened the second half with a cheeky goal, his lob caught the goalie out but cleared the bar. Cotillo recovered their composure and put pressure on Marino, Pablo showed his strength, battling with Isaac to deny the away forward a chance at goal.

Balduino, last seasons main striker came on and was in amongst the action shooting just wide of the Cotillo post. Aaron did well to get through the visitors defence but couldn’t quite tuck the ball back into the goalmouth for a clear shot. Marino looked comfortable but the ref was getting a bit whistle happy and disrupted their flow, a second yellow for Airam  was a big blow but his sending off just seemed to increase the determination of the gutsy Marino side. Cotillo staged a late charge, Alberto showed the summer hasn’t blunted his goalkeeping reflexes, and weighed in with a series of close saves. The win was well deserved, I’m looking forward to seeing this team grow as the season goes on.


We weren’t that bad, before CD Tenerife fans make me have a check up from the neck up after the 2-0 defeat at Mirandes, let me add …for much of the game. The defence looked solid with Moyano magnificent again and Raul Camara doing a great job at left back instead of Raul Llorente. There were plenty of chances created without any end product and that’s what is proving so costly, eventually it wore the team down. I have never seen despair rip through a team as fast and as deeply as it did after Aridane came on after 60 minutes – once it became painfully obvious that he was nowhere near fit all the heads dropped, there would be no goals on this day.

Mujika scored the home opener after 73 minutes almost in slow motion, a chip over the static defence found him wide and able to slot the ball in the goal. The 91st minute goal from Muniz was even easier as the Mirandes player danced through a clutch of switched off defenders. In between those markers Sergio Aragoneses worked wonders to hold back the tide with continued quality saves.

The elephant in the dressing  room is the lack of a main striker, Aridane at his best will make a big difference but how much harm will be done by then. Ayoze was best out of it today, we don’t want him ground down, and with someone to feed off he still has a glittering future. Guillem Marti was shocking, The Invisible Man he did nothing and once again showed he is only good for a short burst. The fans support will be vital next Sunday at home to Barcelona B – Keep Calm – and pray for a goal.