Archive for March, 2014
Ayoze Shows What Porto Are Missing

A lesser man might have been peeved by the blocking off a big money move to Champions League football with Porto but Ayoze Perez was at his brilliant best as CD Tenerife got a well earned 1-1 draw at Deportivo.


Tenerife hardly touched the ball in the first 15 minutes and their hosts took advantage of some hesitant goal keeping by Roberto for a 3rd minute lead by Lopo from a free kick. Ayoze Diaz had a let off when he failed to clear a danger ball, Bergantinos blasted his shot wide. Gradually Tenerife warmed to their task and Ayoze Perez was a real handful for Deportivo, he laid off an inviting pass to Edgar who shot wide. Deportivo looked like a side worthy of their second spot in the table, Roberto did well to palm away a hard shot. Coach Alvaro Cervera broke from his usual cautious away formation by playing Edgar on the left and Suso on the right wing but it left the midfield a bit weak and after 38 minutes the coach replaced Edgar with Rivero.


The second half opened with Roberto tipping away a dipping shot and then making a low stop at the post. Ayoze switched to a wider position on the left and Deportivo were reduced to hacking him down when he set off on one of his tricky moves. Marchena gave away with his lunge on Ayoze and Ricardo coolly dispatched the penalty to equalize. There were a few tense late moments, Cristo made a well timed clearance at the post to ensure the point that kept Tenerife 7th place and on course for a promotion play off position.


Poptastic Carnaval Day In Los Cristianos

I used to be young and hip but now I’m more like hip replacement, well I felt a bit like that at the daytime Carnaval celebrations in Los Cristianos. There was a definite shift away from the old guard of crooners and spangly jacket singers, the main stage featured international artists from the 40 Principales hit parade. Most of the artists were DJ’s like Marien Baker from Valencia, the first act I saw. She had the crowd pumping up the jam and jamming up the pump but it seemed a bit of a waste of the massive stage to have one person basically operating a lap top, but I am an old fogey.


The sun was playing hide and seek and the wind was whipping up a bit, the large suspended speakers were swaying as well as the crowd. This years Carnaval theme of Africa was just a loose guide, most people had their own idea of fancy dress and there were some great outfits. In the supermarket earlier in the day I noticed the booze section was taking a hammering, around every little corner and in the midst of little huddles in the dance zone interesting mixes were going on in 5 litre water bottles. As the afternoon wore on the crowd grew bigger and more boisterous, Yanella Brooks was one of the more animated acts, she strode the stage like a prowling tiger and belted out some top tunes.


Further down by the old beach the comparsas dance groups were doing their stuff in the Plaza del Pescadora with stunning outfits and close harmonies. I was going to get up and dance myself but I twinged a muscle carrying the gramaphone into the parlour the night before. There was to be a fancy dress competition later, tough one to call as so many had made an effort, it was nice to see whole families adopting themed looks. For some reason my camera seemed drawn to the rather attractive ladies in the most flimsy of costumes – Ding Dong! All through Los Cristianos music was thumping, glasses were clinking, and bodies were bopping. I left at quite an early stage but could still hear the bass lines from my apartment.


After popping over to Parque de la Reina to see CD Tenerife get a great 1-1 draw at Deportivo I returned for a few cheeky beers. The fair was packed and the music was louder than ever, I was thinking about going on the Viking long ship but after a few more Dorada’s standing up was my biggest challenge and anyway it would have been very messy.


Oh Baby Santa Cruz Is Hard To Ignore

Come on how many capital cities can you go to and be confronted by a huge babies head at the entrance of a public park. Take a bow Santa Cruz, this bronze sculpture Carmen Dormida (Carmen Sleeping) by Antonio Lopez and it is rather haunting and worrying in equal measures.

The sculpture at Parque Garcia Sanabria is on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until 30 May and if everyone who had their photo taken with it put a euro in a bucket the city would be rich in money but suffering a bucket drought. I couldn’t help wondering if there is another sculpture somewhere of a mother with a very pained cross eyed expression on her face.

I always pop into Parque Garcia Sanabria anyway as it is very beautiful and often contains some unusual activity. The floral clock is always another popular focal point but it is away for repairs at the moment, the replacement flower display was marking time in fine fashion. It wasn’t meant to be an artistic visit, just a bit of mooching around but all the statues and sculptures seemed to catch my eye. The lions on the General Serrador bridge over Barranco de Santos normally purr away in peace but I felt the need to snap them today.

There was a chilly wind blowing across Tenerife but the sun was out and away from the shade it was good, hardly any reason to wrap the trees up. Just behind the Plaza de España a recent art project saw local ladies crochet decorative sleeves for the saplings, this too was getting plenty of passing interest from the cruise liner passengers spilling into the city. The main harbour, or airport as our friends from Gran Canaria might call it, was fairly quiet today but the huge Mein Schiff liner made a colourful addition to the skyline.

There was a little sprinkling of rain at one point so I adjourned to a few central spots, the Parque Bulevar commercial centre has housed the Carnaval museum for the last two years but the costumes were nowhere to be seen and instead of wild Carnaval dance music it was The Communards song Small Town Boy entertaining the sparse trickling of shoppers. Further on past the Plaza del Patriotismo the balustrades of the Circulo de Amistad building made me cast my gaze upwards. Museums are great in Santa Cruz, I popped into the Museo de Bellas Artes (museum of fine arts), a strange mix of traditional and experimental.

The first floor had PSJM – A Cultural Decade 2003 to 2013, it was commercial images like cynical variations on corporate advertising and some video displays. The upper floor has several halls of Royal Academy portraits and huge religious scenes covering whole walls. These works are a permanent display, I recognized many of them from my last visit to the museum a few years ago. All good stuff and free entry, don’t go on a Monday as most of the big museums have that as their closed day. By now it was time to head back south but I will return soon and see what other surprises the city can offer me.



High Five And Hands On A Play Off Spot For CD Tenerife

Someone was going to get a spanking, and Ponferradina were the lucky recipients as CD Tenerife blitzed them 5-0 with Ayoze grabbing a glittering hat trick. It has to be said that the visitors were poor but the power, speed, and lethal finishing of the Tenerife attack would have carved up anyone on this form.

With a near full squad to pick from, Carlos Ruiz edged out Alberto from the heart of defence, Ayoze Diaz held off Raul Camara at left back, and Ricardo and Aitor Sanz returned to fire up the midfield. Tenerife were a little slow out of the blocks but soon found their rhythm. Suso had borrowed Usain Bolts trainers again and streaked down the right to pick out Ayoze after 11 minutes, the youngster flicked the ball to the side of his marker and tucked it in the net. It was going to be a tough afternoon for Ponferradina, especially Pio born Yuri who got plenty of crowd stick. Lara tried to be flash with a couple of practice strokes at a free kick before connecting and wasting their first chance of the half. Tenerife carried on pummeling them, a ball in from Suso passed across their goalmouth as their goalie made a despairing dive.

The second goal arrived from a Cristo corner, Ayoze showed his skills are not just ground based as he scored from a sharp header. It was one way traffic, even some wild tackles and harsh referee calls couldn’t stem the flow. Moyano and Suso linked up well and set up Aridane to add the third. The big man doesn’t always get credit for his contributions, when the ball came to him he had two defenders breathing down his neck but his strength allowed him to hold them off, drag the ball aside and flick it past the keeper – just call him twinkle toes.

Tenerife dozed off a little towards the end of the half, Juande had loads of space as the defence stood still but his shot was feeble. Dare we hope for more in the second half, we certainly did, Aitor Sanz missed a chance to make it 4-0 with a soaring shot, Ayoze was hungry for his triple, two defenders squeezed him and he stumbled but instead of taking a dive he used his momentum to turn and fire the ball in the net. It was richly deserved and he rushed to share the moment with a surge of fans, that’s 16 goals now.

Juanjo replaced Aridane and Edgar swapped with Ayoze Perez and had an impressive 10 minute cameo, he put a pass onto Juanjo’s head, and his nod was a close effort. Then in injury time Edgar cut into the edge of the box, picked his spot and stroked the ball into the top corner to make it 5-0. All five markers would have graced any game, next stop second placed Deportivo. Aitor Sanz will be out after completing another group of five bookings but Diego Rivas will return as back up goalie, a big sigh of relief as we got through his suspension without untried Carlos being exposed to senior action.


Oxford, Change Here For Rabbits, Chimney Cakes, and Traveling Cats

Wednesday is a good day in Oxford as the outdoor market is on at Gloucester Green. It has evolved out of the old cattle market further out at Oxpens but the sheep, pigs, and hens of my youth are long gone and it’s more of a food, bric a brac, and general tat market but always produces some interesting sights, sounds, and smells.


In between meeting a few old work friends I had a wander around the stalls  and noticed how international the flavour is these days. I could have feasted on Japanese Gyoza dumplings or Hungarian Chimney Cakes and there are still plenty of old school traders with their cries and banter. Back in Cornmarket Street the entertainers were serving up a range of diversions from the ever popular cycling white rabbit churning out bubbles to a pretty good rock guitarist doing a cracking version of Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues For You. I also met a traveling gentleman with his bundle of possessions and his white and ginger traveling cat Mr Pinky. This guy gets around the country and showed me an album of photos of Mr Pinky at various stops – there was a nice one taken in The Mall with the Queen playing a distant supporting role to the Michael Palin of the feline world.


I was good and kept off the beer until the evenings, otherwise I wouldn’t have got any of my ongoing paper chase done. Wednesday I popped down to the Rose and Crown in North Parade to see landlord and owner Andrew Hall, a good friend from the ice hockey days. Mine host was in good form and the beer and memories flowed. Thursday evening I met some former work friends at The Evenlode in Eynsham, a posh food place, we weren’t eating, the food prices were quite high but the drinks were amazingly low and they had a couple of decent ales. Friday was my last night and brought the richest harvest of strolling players. Starting at the Far From The Madding Crowd, the side alley pub was invaded by Morris dancers complete with face make up and woodland outfits – they looked like they might even have a badger or two hidden about their persons.  This group of around 15 dancers were the Armaleggan Border mob, lured out by the previous days arrival of spring or the vernal equinox as it’s called. Sadly there wasn’t room for them to do their full routine but they downed a few pints before moving on to their next pub stop.

It was a difficult night weather wise to parade the streets, some pubs were doing Sport Relief fund raisers, and then there are always the weekend nutters milling around, bouncers were on the doors and shouting up a beer was a long process at the main bars. I adjourned to Headington, as the bus passed Bonn Square the morris dancers were performing in the teaming rain to a small crowd of half interested tourists. The Britannia Inn in London Road was re-opening after a weeks intense makeover and as they were boasting 8 cask ales I had to give it a go. The slightly intimidating attitude of town was missing, instead it was a warm bright pub with some great ales, the food menu looked good too, I will test that on another visit. At some stage a free round was bought for most of the people in the main bar, I never did find out who the benefactor was but it was a nice bonus.


Saturday morning arrived too quickly, my train to Birmingham airport wasn’t as full as I feared, Reading away to the Blues but either their fans went up early or not at all. Fairwell Oxford, hello Tenerife, back just in time for a CD Tenerife Sunday game. 


Back In Oxford And Backing Oxford

Technology hates me so it should have come as no surprise when the ticket machine at Bournemouth station wouldn’t let me in to get my advance ticket that I had bought on Paypal. Never mind, I had arrived in plenty of time partly due to my Ryanair flight shaving 45 minutes off its landing time. With my ticket rescued I arrived in Oxford mid afternoon to glorious sunshine tempered by a chilly breeze. The daffodils were bursting forth and the old canal and backwaters of the mill stream looked rather splendid.

It was St Patricks Day so the Oxford pubs were pushing the usual merchandise. An American student in The Chequers wearing a large Guiness hat was wishing everyone a great day but she then bought a bottle of San Miguel – mixed messages or what. It seeems the local council are still as bad as ever, the Covered market is a popular historic part of the city centre with loads of charm and character but the council are trying to hike their rents up by an extortionate amount. As a young spotty youth still at school I used to work weekends and holiday on a fruit and veg stall in the market, hard work but a good way to earn a few quid.Later I found some nice real ales and bumped into some old friends, a good, if long, first day back.

The British weather played a blinder for me, Oxford City had several home games rained off and had re-arranged Histon Town at home on Tuesday evening. The Cambridge area opponents were just above City in the relegation zone of the Conference North so a real six pointer. The league is now called Skrill North, I finally found out what they are, Skrill are another form of Paypal, but whatever you call it the Conference North is the highest level I have ever seen City compete in.

With Champions League action on TV and a wet windy pig of a night, only 203 turned up for the game but City came from behind to win 2-1, their first win since Boxing Day – I was well chuffed. A year ago an American businessman with unproven credentials, Thomas Gueniero moved in as President and co owner of the City, he was over from the States shaking hands and looking for babies to kiss like a TV preacher on heat. The bloke talks PR management speak and is trying to get several other Oxford sporting teams under his wing. My bullshit radar was bleeping off the scale and the next days article in The Oxford Mail did nothing to dispel my concerns over just what this chap is up to. The man says he will get City into the football league and the crowds will come – oh really.

Relegation still looks a strong possibility, at least City are leading the fair play table – doesn’t that get you into the Europa League these days? Anyway it couldn’t detract from my pleasure at seeing a win and I celebrated with a few beers in Headington afterwards.



Full Back Stop To Tenerife Run Of Form

The omens weren’t good, Aitor Sanz suspended, Ricardo and Ayoze Perez down with flu, and just before the game Loro pulled out injured. Even with those odds stacked against them, CD Tenerife looked pretty comfortable in the first half. Self inflicted defensive howlers gifted Mallorca a 2-0 home win, full backs Moyano and Raul Camara both had a mare.


The enforced  changes didn’t work, Nano got his first senior start up front and worked hard with little support from the ineffective midfield. Rivero’s only contribution to the game was his corners, from one early in swinger Bruno rose to head just over the bar. Suso was back on the bench after his wonder show last week and Edgar switched sides to cover his right wing hunting ground. Aridane had a blast that went wide but the danger was growing from Mallorca with Nsue and Thomas looking menacing.The Tenerife full backs were too casual, Camara lost his footing when under pressure and Moyano looked like a novice.


The opening goal after 25 minutes came as Mallorca nipped in thee wide open back gate, as the ball sailed across the Tenerife goalmouth Marco Asencio had plenty of time to score. Camara went off after 38 minutes after pulling a muscle and was replaced by Ayoze Diaz on the left. Inigo Ros nearly served up another gift with a silly foul, he owed his team mates a beer or two for their defensive wall that stopped the free kick. Cristo closed the half with a curling shot that wasn’t too far off target. Former Tenerife hero Alfaro hit the post at the start of the second half, Roberto was decisive in charging out of his goal to punch away several chances but he got lucky when he missed completely and Thomas shot past his netting.


Aridane was having a poor game, he was even getting knocked off the ball with ease, he should have gone off when Juanjo came on as sub but Edgar got the call instead. It was all slipping away now for Tenerife and Mallorca exploited the wide open midfield to launch another attack, the ball broke to Thomas and he was lethal with his shot – game over. Finally Suso hit the pitch after 79 minutes, it was too late to make any impact and the game fizzled out. Let’s look on the bright side, no sendings off this week and we should have a full squad to pick from next Sunday at home to Ponferradina.  






CD Tenerife Cats Get The Carnaval Cream

Neither rain, third placed Recreativo, or a lost soul of a ref could stop the charge of CD Tenerife on the closing day of Carnaval in Santa Cruz. The 1-0 score didn’t reflect the superiority of the home team, it could easily have been a landslide.

Nine Canarians lined up for the start of the game, Moyano returned to right back, Ayoze Diaz held the left back spot and Alberto looked at home filling in at the centre of defence for the suspended Carlos Ruiz. Suso had the captains armband and relished the honour, he was at full power all game. It took just 13 minutes for a classy goal to ignite the crowd, a deep ball from Cristo found Suso who interchanged with Aridane to rip open the visiting defence and bulge the back of the net.

The rain made the surface greasy but it was Recreativo who struggled with their footing, their forwards looked poor and were kept shackled by the new look Tenerife back four. Cabrero in the Recreativo goal was a puncher rather than a catcher and worth the odd long range tester, Cristo set his boots a little high and Ricardo had the keeper scrambling to cover his chip over a free kick wall. Aridane had a strong shout for a penalty on the half hour, and Ayoze missed with a shot on the turn. Recreativo were making plenty of errors, Linares slipped in front of goal, of course we didn’t mock him – much, and their goalie skewed a clearance kick that spun wide of his own net.

The referee underwent a personality change at half time, his new outlook on the game was quite bizarre as he started to get simple calls wrong. Cabrero got better and foiled an Aridane header from Suso and then made a low diving stop from the same player. Aitor Sanz got a phantom booking early in the half then after 74 minutes he was brought down but the ref managed to give him another yellow for obstruction so he had to go. Back up goalie Diego Rivas had a go at the ref from the sidelines and got a straight red, his big mistake was getting up from the bench and arguing in the refs face.

A man down could have been a big problem if Tenerife had sat back but they were magnificent in keeping the pressure on Recreativo, Ayoze hit the bar and the post in quick succession. Ros replaced Cristo and Edgar took over from Ayoze who had overcome flu to start the game. The final minutes saw some heroic defending with Suso clearing off the goal line and Roberto taking a highball under pressure. Let’s hope the players managed to grab some well deserved fun later that night with the celebrating carnaval crowds.

Los Hermanos Bowled Over By The Carnaval Spirit

All this dressing up and having fun is not just a young persons game. This week the Santa Cruz bus stop has been knee deep in revelers in all manner of costumes but down near Las Tarajales beach in Los Cristianos nations were throwing, or more accurately bowling their own fancy dress party.

Los Hermanos Petanque Club always attracts a crowd with their daily afternoon games and big international tournaments. The flags were fluttering, the bar was lubricating, and the metal balls were rolling, and all in the company of jailbirds, sultans, and even a big stripey bee. If the incoming ferries could have seen the explosion of colour they could have been forgiven for drifting a little off course.

I have had the pleasure of meeting this enthusiastic and well organized group a few times before, they regularly get 100 to 120 people competing on the split level site and are always welcoming new converts, they have just added a Danish section to their numbers. Some 20 years ago it started with Belgians and just one Brit, the waste land was rough and they had to mark it out in lanes etc as best they could.

Times have changed, women are now welcomed, well Los Hermanos means The Brothers, and they have over 600 members. The club is registered with Arona council, a few years ago the council even added concrete borders to measurements supplied by the players. Members pay their regular fees with a levy on top for an annual donation to a local childrens charity. The name petanque comes from the French for “feet anchored” as they have to bowl from a circle of up to 50 cms in diameter, they use rubber mats to mark it out. The scoring is quite similar to green bowls with the nearest to the jack scoring with any balls that are nearer than their opponents best shot, 15 points wins a game.

Despite the keen rivalry, it’s all played in a relaxed spirit, and you couldn’t get much more relaxed than playing in an outrageous costume. There’s a lot of measuring shots and mid lane conferences before they change ends, I love their gadget to save bending to pick up balls, a magnet on a string does the hard work for them. The click of metal was destined to carry on all afternoon as the competition reached its climax, the technique may not have been vastly different from the Winter Olympic curling but the scorching Tenerife sun was a million miles from the snow and ice of Russia.


Vivo Carvery, Now It’s Sunday In The Week

Make sure you have a weekly roast, and change your socks every day, wise words imparted by my mum years ago. With the intention of sticking to at least half of that advice I popped into Vivo in Las Americas, home of The Tenerife Weekly, to try the new weekday carvery.

Music is never far away, I’ve been to see Bitter and Twisted in the Decades cabaret, as I went up to make my selection some 60s soul music was a welcome soundtrack for the sport and news on the large screens. Things have changed a lot since the old days of the wide open indoor event hall, it’s now very intimate and comfy with split level seating areas. The meat choice on my visit was turkey or pork, I opted for generous slices of turkey crown, you don’t have to wait for Christmas.

The vegetable selection looked good so I went for a mix of carrots, broccoli, roast and mashed potatoes and cauliflower cheese, a chunk of toad in the hole and gravy filled my plate nicely. Other diners had gone for the ever changing dish of the day, chicken, leek, and bacon pie or shepherds pie, both tempted me. Salad fans were well catered for and on Fridays the main dish has a fish flavour with the catch of the day.

Through the main doors I could see the mini golf amusing a couple of family groups, no Rupert Bear trousers required.. Live music was wafting in from the front lounge outside and I was feeling ready for my dessert. Double chocolate brownie with cream was my choice, the profiteroles, strawberry jam sponge, and carrot cake made strong claims though.

One of the waitresses offered me a choice of several daily papers as I polished off my cold coke, there is a full bar service as well but I was saving myself for a sea swim after a seafront stroll back to Los Cristianos. The basic Monday to Friday carvery is 5.80 from noon to 4pm.They have free parking and a take away service as well so pop in and give yourself a tick for spotting the double decker bus, the giant pirates, and the play area.