Archive for February, 2013
CD Tenerife Steer A Smooth Course With Youth At The Helm

Not even one of the Armada Sur coaches breaking down at the southern end of our football pilgrimage could put a dampener on a 2-0 home win over Real Madrid C. A replacement was found swiftly and delivered us with the minimum of fuss. That’s so like the squad this season, injuries and suspensions are taken in our stride and there is always a quality replacement revving up on the sidelines.

Alberto Jimenez made a surprise debut in the centre of defence away last week so this was our first chance to see him up close and he didn’t disappoint. Big and imposing, the 20 year old looked a natural alongside Bruno, himself a new recruit from the B side this season. Strong on the ball and good in the air, Alberto was able to push up with everyone confident that Bruno would stay back and look after the shop. Loro was back to his best, hassling up front he forced an early corner and a few minutes later tried to dig out the ball from the Madrid defence to create an opening.

Much of Tenerife’s play was veering over to the right side leaving Llorente begging for service on the other flank but with Inigo Ros breaking up any budding Madrid moves in midfield and Suso cutting their defence to shreds the chances continued to come. After 28 minutes Loro floated in a perfect corner and Alberto rose high to head a home lead. Loro followed up with a good chance but was caught between a shot and a cross. Suso had his determined head on and after breaking down the right he charged in on the keeper but he just won the race to the loose ball.

Aridane was battling away and when Derick fouled him Loro curled a sweet free kick into the bottom corner of the visitors net, so much for the usual dogged first half. Yeray was on after the break replacing the booked Fran Ochoa, he’s another young gun that has fired himself into the reckoning. Cristo was unlucky to be pulled up by the ref when through on goal and a Suso cross and Aridane’s head forced a one handed save out of Sobrino. The young visitors have been climbing the table rapidly oveer the last few weeks but Tenerife restricted them and it was only the arrival of forward Mariano that finally gave Madrid a player that could threaten Tenerife.

Aridane gets through a lot of work, he fell awkwardly when covering back and jumping to defend, he carried on briefly but had to give way to Guillem Marti. Ayoze Perez got another run out as well, fresh from his two goal heroics for the B team in thee Federation Cup. Yeray tested the Madrid keeper and Alberto tightened his grip on Mariano to snuff out his enthusiasm. Guillem shot high late on and Alvaro resorted to fouling him to clip his wings and got sent off in injury time. Tenerife were never really troubled, the 8,651 crowd went home stress free and with the top of the table gap extended to eight points.


Oh The Times They Are A Changing

Blimey I only have to take my eye off the ball for a few minutes and subtle changes take place all around me. With a couple of clouds (yep we do get them in Tenerife) hovering I took an afternoon stroll around Los Cristianos to check out my turf, no I don’t mark it like a cat does.

People have been asking me what the new building work is all about between the main roundabout and the swimming pool and sports centre. Suggesttions have included a new mega supermarket possibly including a unit for Marks and Spencers. Pressing my face against the chain mail fencing I could only see giant concrete blocks but the builders sign post made it all fall into place.

The harbour wall is getting a facelift to strengthen it after years of battering from the sea, and these concrete sugar lumps will replace and augment the vast expanse of them already used as precarious vantage points for keen anglers. It’s daft really but I always imagined the blocks were a side product of some of the bigger building projects around the island.

The next call had to be the harbour wall itself, normally I walk along it most days to see what’s floating and bobbing but I have missed it for a few days – well what could possibly change that quickly. I soon found that some enterprising souls, probably the port authority has installed three gleaming new blue telescopes that bring the horizon into sharp focus for a mere 50 cents. My schoolboy sense of humour kept daring me to smear ink around the eye pieces – well it was always hilarious in The Beano. That’s my lesson for the day – in future I will try to keep em peeled as Shaw Taylor (ask your gran) would say.


Defiant CD Marino Turn That Frown Upside Down

Sometimes it feels really good to be wrong, CD Marino fans arrived with more hope than expectancy as second placed Real Oviedo came to town but an inspired performance of determination, high drama and plenty of skill produced a memorable 2-1 home win.

Xavi Moore should have put Oviedo in front in the second minute but spooned his shot over the target. Alberto made some timely saves and I thought the first goal would open the floodgates but Marino had other ideas. Sandro looked offside when through on keeper Barrios but the stopper ran out and made a half clearance that fell to Balduino a good 30 yards from goal. Measuring his lob perfectly the striker sent the ball majestically into the net.

That stung Oviedo and they tried to hit back but found Alberto in dazzling form in the Marino goal, his handling was assured and he pulled off a series of energetic dives and a point blank stop. Sandro was dangerous wide on the right and was unlucky to be pulled up for a foul with the goal beckoning. Balduino was buzzing and when the ball broke loose in the penalty area he jumped in and was brought down for a penalty which he scored after sending the keeper the wrong way. Real were reeling 2-0 down after just 34 minutes and Balduino could have wrapped up a hat trick just before the break, he looked to pass when he should have buried his shot in front of goal.

Time stood still as the second half kicked off and Marino were caught on the hop as Hector Simon showed that he too could lob a ball, his target was closer and Alberto nearer his line but his accuracy reduced the arrears. Balduino had another good chance after 63 minutes when he turned and fired near the goal but Barrios made a strong stop. Oviedo thought they were back in the game when the ref harshly ruled that Dorta had fouled their goalie, Xavi More took the spot kick. Alberto read it brilliantly and dived to turn it onto the post, it pinged back along the goal line before being scrambled away.

Marino with Noah joining the attack, pushed for another goal as Mantovan continued to nibble at Sandro’s legs, eventually getting the booking he deserved. Four minutes of added time went slowly, Alberto again defied the visitors and eventually the whistle blew signaling jubilant scenes around the Marino team bench.

The result should have meant an increased lead at the top of the table for CD Tenerife but over in Zamora they drew 1-1 to reduce their advantage to 6 points. There was a surprise call up for reserve defender Alberto in place of Tarantino and he did well – another for the future. Yeray grabbed a Tenerife lead in the second half just after comingg on for Ochoa. A corner was glanced on by Aridane and Yeray had a clear header for his first senior strike. Zamora shared the points with a carefully curled shot from Sergio Garcia after 71 minutes.

It’s Party Time For CD Tenerife

Even beating Leganés with 16 minutes left I was thinking it’s not over until the fat lady sings but when the final whistle blew for a 2-1 win the big lass was joined by a human banana, several clowns, superheroes, and blokes in frocks, all belting their lungs out. What a great Carnaval game and a well deserved win built on strong defensive foundations.

Leganés had charged up the table to sit five points behind leaders CD Tenerife and were expected to be a tough test but Tenerife restricted them to few chances especially in the first half when Bruno and late fitness pass Tarantino were superb at the heart of the defence. Cristo Martin miss hit a 9th minute shot to fire wide just after some tenacious tackling by Tarantino had broken up the visitors attack and just before Bruno made a perfect interception on Leganes hot shot Dioni.

Ruiz saw sight of the home goal but put his effort high and wide and Aridane was causing plenty of problems at the other end. Nico came on for Chechu after 25 minutes and Suso had a running battle with Vega who got booked for his clumsy assault on the Tenerife forward. Aridane had his own little friend Victor Gomez who just about managed to keep our man in check.

With the groundwork done Tenerife pressed more in the second half, Suso put an easy chance high and wide and Cristo Martin cut in from the right to put along shot over the goal. Corona made a good tackle to rob goal bound Aridane but Victor Gomez didn´t share his touch and was sent off after fouling Aridane for a penalty. The striker was denied when Falcon dived the right way and saved. A few minutes later Dioni finally got a clean chance after an error by Tarantino and he showed clinical finishing to take the lead.

Tenerife stepped up a gear and Mora fouled Aridane for a free kick on the edge of the box but it came to nothing. Cristo Martin was alert and plundered a crisp shot past Falcon after 70 minutes and the chase was on. Marti replaced Tarantino as Tenerife looked for a winner and from a break down the right Aridane belted in his 14th goal of the season. Guillem should have made it 3-1 with just the goalie to beat but missed the sitter. The four minutes of injury time was agonizing as even goalie Falcon joined the attack but nothing was going to spoil the Carnaval party and the final whistle was met with an almighty roar of delight. Santa Cruz will be rocking tonight.




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.

Fishermen Battered By Economy In Los Cristianos

The beach front restaurants were doing a brisk early evening trade with fish as always a popular choice but generations of Los Cristianos as a fishing community may soon be lost. The crisis is biting deep and the local association of fishermen owes 140,000 euros to the port authority in ever rising fees for mooring and landing the catch.

The evening diners may have found the demonstration of workers, marching to a vibrant drum beat, a pleasant distraction but it was the latest protest in a desperate fight for help and understanding. Several generations took part in the short walk from the church plaza to Plaza de la Pescadora and as they emerged in view of the harbour the fishing boats that had moved to the edge of the beach saluted them with a fanfare of horns.

The fishermen feel they are being squeezed out, the new pontoons installed last year near the ferry port may look nice and modern but are aimed at pleasure boats and smaller fishing craft leaving a cramped open area for the traditional landing of the catch to be packed in ice for transport. There are also more restrictions now on what they can catch and how much, red tuna is one of the more valuable captures but quotas are very limited.

There is also anger at a lack of protection for local waters, the fishermen feel that other unlicensed boats are nipping in and scooping up some of their bounty. All in all it’s a pretty depressing picture. Los Cristianos has a proud tradition and it would be terrible to see it slip through the net, let’s hope that the council and port can find a way to save and nurture this important industry.