Archive for November, 2018
Scottish Golfers Flag Up Cancer Contribution

They love their golf and they love helping others. A keen field of 50 locally based golfers took on the challenging and visually pleasing Amarilla Golf Course for their annual Scottish Tenerife Open competition on 6th and 7th November. They doubled up on the previous year with a further 8,000 euros for FACT – Fighting Against Cancer Tenerife.

Starting each day just after 10 am with a shotgun start, they started at different holes to converge on the clubhouse for a well deserved cool off. After the score cards had all been tallied up, the winner was Alex McMullan, followed by Peter Hipkiss, with Mark Ross picking up third place, and Dean Adams clinching fourth position.
It wasn´t just down to the on green action. The money started rolling in with a Ladies Button competiton on the Monday at Bad Bobs Bar, netting 736 euros. On the Wednesday night, the presentations were made at The Crystal Palace on The Patch in Playa de Las Americas. Events on the night, and also at The Star Bar in San Eugenio swelled the funds to the new record return.

There were plenty of tales of shots just missed and luck deserting players on their crucial putts. There´s already a hunger to improve on personal performances next year, and a desire to push the fund raising total even higher. The cause is special to all the players and they can´t wait to take up the challenge again next year.

Tenerife Remembers

Even more poignant on the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, there were millions of reasons to reflect and give thanks to those who gave their lives for a better world. Tenerife may be a far flung holiday fun spot but ex pats and tourists joined together on Sunday 11th November for the annual remembrance day services.

I ventured to Costa del Silencio for their outdoor service around the swimming pool of the Westhaven Bay complex. Medals shone in the bright sun but many of the faces echoed the dark memories of loss and suffering within their families. The comforting and financially supportive arm of the Royal British Legion embraces all outposts, and offers support and nurture to servicemen, servicewomen, and their families affected by all conflicts. Church services took place at six other venues across the south west of Tenerife but Costa del Silencio offers a unique setting, its view out to sea acting as a window to a wider and more turbulent world. Many people wore not just medals relating to their own service in recent conflicts, but also inherited medals from family no longer with us.

Wreaths were laid at the table and makeshift altar as several hundred people rose to sing the first of the hymns, lessons were read out by veterans, it was an emotional and testing time for them but there was no shortage of friends to encourage them along. It was noticeable that many younger people and a few children were in attendance, warnings unheeded and lessons learnt need to be shared with the next generation. I consider myself so lucky not to have been called upon to defend my privileged life, my grandad told me about a few of the horrors of WW1 but I wish I had asked him about more of his memories.

In keeping with the Tenerife setting, the British Vice Consul, Helen Diaz de Arcaya Keating, read the act of commitment in Spanish. More prayers and hymns, including Abide With Me, followed, and the act of remembrance reached down into many memories and many souls. “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”
This was followed by the last post, and an immaculate silence. One of the beauties of the setting is the closeness to the sea. A small pathway led down the cliff to a ledge where a wreath of poppies was cast onto the sea and joined by small wooden crosses thrown into the tide. It was a wonderful service to mark a special day, however the good work of the Royal British Legion goes on throughout the year. We have a lot to be grateful for.

Granadilla’s Big Win On The Big Stage

Emerging up the dressing room steps of the Heliodoro stadium, Egatesa Granadilla Tenerife soaked up the adoration of 2,374 fans. CD Tenerife’s home ground in Santa Cruz may have been a bit bigger than their usual San Isidro setting but the ladies rose to the challenge with a confident and well deserved 2-1 league win over Sevilla.

Early exchanges were cautious but Maria Jose Perez showed her usual flair with a daring long range lob that beat former Granadilla goalie Noelia Ramos, and the bar. There was plenty of commitment from both sides, with 10 minutes gone Eva Llamas and Sevilla captain Ali clashed heads when leaping for a loose ball. Both needed treatment, and Ali returned to the pitch with her head swathed in bandages. Pinel of Sevilla made some speedy wide runs but the Granadilla defence coped well with her. Ivory Coast forward Ange Koko on the right for Granadilla posed plenty of problems for the visiting back line, and Martin-Prieto was unlucky to see her skewed shot rise over the bar.

The blue and whites were building the pressure on their mainland opponents. Martin-Prieto opened Sevilla up with a quick raid, Noelia couldn´t hold her shot, and Maria Jose buried it in the open net. The ref whistled for a harsh offside. Five minutes later their was a similar call when the same two players combined to bulge the net again. The lineswomans flag went up and despite captain Pisco pleading her case, the goal wasn´t given. Sevilla must have sensed a dip in the Granadilla morale, Amparito nipped past the Granadilla defence for a shot that Aline Reis couldn´t hold onto, leaving Pinel with an easy tap in lead. That brought an immediate response from the home side, a well measured ball from Joyce found Maria Jose in a good position but Lucia robbed the ball from her. Ange changed wings and found room on the left, Bores stopped her progress with an arm in the face, and a Pisco free kick just before the break came to nothing. They carried on their assault on goal in the second half, Joyce went close with an effort just the wrong side of the post. Within minutes Granadilla were level, a surge forward was partially repelled as far as Estella who stretched to poke the ball over the line. Sevilla were keen to restore their advantage, a hard shot was tipped over by the alert Aline Reis to keep them at bay. Martin-Prieto was close at the other end, beating Lara before putting her shot a little too high.

Ana Gonzalez and Sara Tui added new blood from the bench for Granadilla but it was Ange who made Noelia work hard to snuff out another opportunity. Estella thought she had got a second home goal, it was destined for the back of the net before Noelia produced a classy full stretch save. Jackie Simpson pushed up to add her power in the air to the Granadilla cause but going for the same high ball as Sevilla´s Lucia meant both players needed attention.Twice Paloma unleashed long shots to try to break the stale mate, neither brought their reward. Sevilla started to show more urgency, Morilla tried a delicate lob to let her fellow sub Olga through, the final shot missed the target.

With time running out, Noelia parried a shot from Ange and saved at the second attempt. Four minutes of injury time were signalled, Ange took off for another mazy run and picked out Paloma who’s finish was lethal to make it 2-1.The action switched to the other end where Olga floated in a hanging cross. Before a team mate could get to it, Brazilian Aline Reis plucked the ball down safely. That was the last chance, Granadilla just had enough seconds to take off Maria Jose, giving sub Natalia Ramos a brief moment to share the pitch with her sister Noelia. The final whistle brought joy to the crowd, the players, and recently appointed coach Pier Cherubino, on the ground he graced as a CD Tenerife player. Most important of all were the three league points that put Granadilla in fourth place, in Spain´s premier league.

CD Marino Pupils Shake The Masters

From their promotion wave to their top of the table start to life in the Tercera Division, UD Tamaraceite have caused quite a stir as they swept long established teams before them. In the first half at CD Marino it was easy to see they had height, power, strength, and bags of confidence to fire them into a 0-2 lead. The home side had more youth team blues in their line up, and they learnt quickly to forge their raw talent into a formidable force, and ultimately were unlucky not to go one better than an impressive 2-2 draw.

A mix of injuries, suspensions, and absentees left gaps to be filled and positional changes to be made. Coach Zeben Hernandez had confidence in his young guns who have come up through the youth ranks together. Connor moved into central defence and inspired those around him, especially Niki at right back. Jony Cabrera again flew down the right wing, and Antonio Samuel still made his lightning breaks of the previous game but this time was overlapping from the left back role. Jonathan Sesma enjoyed more freedom as the lead striker with Gaizka tucked in just behind him.

In some ways, Tamaraceite´s hot form instilled some wariness in the home side. Zizu tested David in the opening minutes, but the keeper was equal to the shot. It took just 7 minutes for Eros to find the back of the home net from a Jose Maria pass. Big left back Jordan of the Gran Canarian side pushed forward and imposed himself at first on Niki but it didn´t last long. Making his own pitch long run, Niki got a great cross in that the goalie, Jonay, had to cut out. Gaizka won a midfield ball and passed on to Jony who found Antonio galloping in, his shot was a little wild but it showed that the visitors were vulnerable to pace.

Tamaraceite made their breaks in numbers with plenty of width and support from their defence, it paid off again after 25 minutes when Jordan picked out Borja for a clear shot to make it 0-2. They should have added a third a minute later, Jordan beat Jony and Niki before setting up Borja who made a mess of his shot. Niki showed his defensive coolness when he tidied up a dangerous loose ball back to David whilst under pressure. Jony made room for Ahmed to run at the away goalie, he scrambled the ball to safety. A third goal conceded before half time would have buried the game, Tamaraceite put more pressure on but the Marino defence stood firm despite Lopez Silva going down in search of a penalty.

Marino were more adventurous in the second half, after Niki had headed clear a Tamaraceite chance, Ahmed´s chipped into the box just eluding Sesma, both in the opening minutes. Jony felt hard done by after being hacked down in the penalty area, the ref didn’t want to know. Pace always worries defenders, Marino had already shown that they were full of running, bringing on another youth player, Djavan for Gaizka just added to the attacking threat. Quickness of reaction was also serving Marino well in defence, Alvarez and Borja combined well for the visitors but Niki nipped in and cut out the danger.

Sesma was enjoying being back in the initial eleven and cut in from the right only to see his shot go out of play after clipping the post. Marino deserved a goal for a slick move involving Niki and Jony that ended with Juanmi heading wide. Tamaraceite were pinned down, goalie Jonay rescued them by snatching the ball off Jony as he bore down on goal. A home goal was overdue, Antonio powered down the left and crossed the ball, Juanmi used his strength to drive the ball into the visitors net with 15 minutes left. Djavan got in on the act, turning Jordan easily and aiming at goal, a defender managed to get the loose ball back to his goalie but it was just a temporary reprieve.

Ahmed picked up a loose ball and picked his way through the Tamaraceite defence before burying the ball in the back of the net to level the scores. There was a frantic end to the game as Marino queued up to try to find a winner. Djavan had another chance that was stopped when the keeper rushed out to claim the ball. Prince easily beat Borja but he went over a little easily and got the free kick call. The final chance came in injury time, a Sesma cross was destined for the head of Djavan but he couldn’t get the direction he needed and it passed outside the post. The point kept Tamaraceite top of the pile, and Marino in 13th place, a gallant draw and another boost for the future growing confidence of the home squad.

Arona Pool Laps On Many Shores

Even the sandy beaches of Los Cristianos have a rival when it comes to attracting competitive swimmers to the Tenerife municipality of Arona. There’s hardly a week goes by when an international swimming club doesn’t immerse itself in the eight lane, 50 metre Olympic sized pool at the Complejo Deportivo Jesus Dominguez Grillo in Avenida Chayofita. I caught up with some old friends from the Aards, and Banbridge Swimming Clubs from Northern Ireland, and found many newer, and older converts to the outdoor sports centre.

Team managers Michael Angus, and Fiona Cleland were two of the four coaches with a party of 30 male and female swimmers aged between 13 and 18 years old. “It’s half term so a good chance to get them together for some intensive warm weather training” explained Michael, a long term holiday visitor to Los Cristianos as well as an annual coaching swallow. “We have 230 swimmers just at Aards club, we have long term links with Banbridge and many of the swimmers know each other so there´s a good competitive but friendly edge to training.”

Fiona outlined the schedule for the week long visit. “We have two pool sessions a day, one early morning after a light breakfast, and one late afternoon. Fitness and technique are worked on but we like to have a different focus each session. Paradise Park hotel is our base, a short walk up and down the hill each work out, which helps to limber everyone up. It´s a comfortable base for us and they look after us well.” It isn´t just work, the swimmers had a few beach fun excercise sessions, and visited Siam Park water kingdom to enjoy some adventure rides. There are always targets to aim for as Michael outlined. “Next up are the Ulster short course, and Irish short course championships, the girls have the Ladies Junior championships ahead, and there around four or five swimmers who have realistic hopes of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympic squads.” It might seem a logistical nightmare to bring a large party of youngsters to Tenerife but Michael isn´t phased. “We fly in and out of Belfast International airport, we have a block of seats together, and everyone looks after their own kit.” Pointing to the distinctive orange, and lime green kit bags Michael chuckles. “The colour scheme makes it easier to pick out everyone as we spread through the airports.”

On the training camps, there are often other groups using some of the other lanes so they soon make new friends. Fiona pointed out a Swedish mother and her daughter who was over to sharpen up her own competitive skills. “We got chatting and invited her to join in our routines, its all good practice for mixing in international events.” There was a strong Northern Ireland influence as a separate Ulster Schools party (in blue) were also over with a break that overlapped the Aards and Banbridge schedule. They had an even longer history of Tenerife swimming as teacher Heather Henderson explained. “Ulster Schools used to pop over to train in Puerto de la Cruz 22 years ago, before moving down south a little later. We are slightly different to the other party, we have 25 swimmers, they have to qualify for the trip through school galas. During the week here we will put in 13 sessions of two hours each as we prepare for the All Ulster championships which include three areas in the south of Ireland as well. Our long term base has always ben the Bitacora Hotel on the edge of Playa de Las Americas, they always make us welcome and it’s a short walk from the pool.”


I have visited several other UK swimming clubs in Los Cristianos over the years, such as Southport, Camden, and Swansea, they all impressed with their dedication, good humour, and devotion to their chosen sport. Arona makes a big commitment to youth sport in the municipality, through football, athletics, and swimming and welcomes overseas parties to hire the facilities and enjoy the delightful weather. Commercial use of facilities at off peak times helps to balance the books, and it´s a pretty impressive way to show off the charms of Tenerife. A major refurb is on the way for the swimming complex but in the meantime it is of course open to the public, check out their Facebook page. You might not become a future medal winner but if it makes you as healthy and happy as the dedicated overseas visitors, that´s a golden reward in itself.