Archive for May, 2014
Run Jump Throw And Hurdle, It’s Arona Combined Events Athletics

Was the Fosberry Flop a jump in athletics, a punk band, or something I tried to cook once? I’m sure it was athletics and it flicked through my memory as I sat on the grass watching young ladies hurling themselves over an ever rising bar at the Arona Combined Events meeting in Playa de Las Americas. The Estadio Antonio Dominguez is where I normally watch CD Marino so it felt good to be there, especially after enjoying last years event so much.

This years appeal was stronger than ever with athletes drawn from as far away as Qatar, Australia, Estonia, and eight from Great Britain. I arrived on Saturday morning for the sprint races and the stadium was buzzing with activity as the volunteer marshals and stewards ensured the smooth running of the heats. It was nice to grab a quick chat with Grace Clements who I interviewed last year, she is on course to qualify for this years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an event that was on many minds over the two days of competition.

One of the late confirmations was Katarina Johnson Thompson  (above ) from Liverpool, she wasn’t a full competitor, just training, but she still scorched to the front in her heptathlon 100 metres with a personal best. That was another positive step towards Glasgow with a big meeting in Austria hot on its heels. The long jump was going on in between the sprints and Peter Glass and Martin Brockman came thundering down the run up before launching themselves into the sand pit.

Over at the Green Hospital end there was a tense contest between the women in the high jump, including Grace Clements (above red ) and  Jess Taylor (below yellow) .This fascinates me as they have very differing styles of run up, Australian Lauren Foote and Estonian Mari Klaup had a very short sharp run up but most were measuring out big strides before taking off.

At this stage I must give Mari Klaup a special mention in the fashion stakes, her skull and crossbones wrap made me giggle but it kept her warm on a weekend when the sun was playing hide and seek. Arona Athletics Club is the biggest in Tenerife and they were holding a junior open championship in between the main event, it was great for the youngsters to mix with top athletes in front of a very healthy crowd. As I left for the afternoon break I saw the medals and trophies being given out, quite a glittering array.

Back later for the evening session I got to see some shot putt action, lots of grunting and groaning as they threw, but once I stopped that it was nice and quiet for them. More sprints rounded off the day as the sun gave way to the floodlights. I took the chance to interrupt my walk home with a few beers but didn’t go mad and chase my personal best. Sunday morning I was back for CD Marino, the athletics was put back to fit it all in, I was very impressed how quickly after the match they dismantled one of the goals, laid all the cables for the commentary from the various competition points, and put out the banners, hurdles, and measurement marks for the discuss.

As all the activity was going on I grabbed a few words with Richard Reeks from Poole, a decathlete serving with the Royal Navy.
“This is an important time in my season, three decathletes will go to Glasgow and two are already through so I am battling it out with Martin Brockman. A few of the other GB athletes were here last year so I knew it would be a good tournament to push me on, they have been looking after us well and have made the smaller (Anexo) stadium available to us for extra training during the event. I hope to make Glasgow and then look onwards to the Olympics in Brazil, I’m lucky that the Navy let me pursue my sport as a full time athlete (he wore his Royal Navy sweatshirt with pride between events) and they have been very supportive.”

Thankfully I was able to see Richard (white vest), Martin (middle red), and Peter Glass (above red) of Northern Ireland attack the hurdles before I had to sneak off to see CD Tenerife’s away game on TV. The men’s decathlon was won by Florian Geffrouais of France with Martin Brockman second. The women’s heptathlon went to Marisa de Ancieto with Jess Taylor taking third spot. I will be carefully watching the Commonwealth Games this year and hoping that Arona played its part in helping many of the participants to reach the big stage.


Goals, Wins, And Promotion Chances Dry Up For CD Tenerife

Faint promotion play off hopes drifted away in a 1-0 defeat at Sabadell, the fifth on the trot but this was a better performance with Ayoze Perez putting in a all action gutsy display that will have had his new Geordie owners fretting as he was flattened twice by scary pio goalie Nauzet.

Now is the time to look to next season to see who should stay and who should be released, the out of contract players Bruno and Suso had storming games but bit part striker Juanjo was awful and goalie Roberto had a couple of big wobbles that wont help his chances of holding on to the first choice gloves. Alberto had a rare start in midfield, he nearly left in January but injuries got him a reprieve, this performance showed he hasn’t improved on his early promise. Raul Camara struggled in the left back slot and even Carlos Ruiz was below par.
Tenerife had to survive an early siege, Collantes was always a threat from his first chip over the bar, and former blanquiazul Hidalgo put a long range shot just wide. Sanz and Ricardo were comfortable in midfield and a pass to Ayoze put him through but his footwork let him down as Suso waited for the lay off. Juanjo looked weak, he clashed with Nauzet and cowered on the floor as the monster showered him with abuse, not a good sign. A defensive slip on the half hour let Ayoze in but Nauzet floored him on the edge of the box, the ref gave nothing.

At the other end Roberto rushed out to clear and missed thee ball completely, Bruno cleared that one up, but a few minutes later a Collantes corner was nudged on by Longas, another ex CDT man, and Roberto and Ruiz got in each others way as the ball went in off Ruiz for the ominous 1-0 scoreline. Just before the break Ayoze was bearing down on goal and Nauzet ran outside his area and pole axed him again, this time the ref saw it and gave a free kick but only booked the keeper. Ricardo could only put the kick over the bar.

Ayoze and Suso tried to demolish the home defence in the second half, Suso just rounded their defenders at will but too often there was not a pink shirt to convert the ball. Ayoze showed his skills when dragging the ball back in front of three defenders and passing to Suso but his shot missed the target. Tenerife started to fade, even a double sub with Rivero and Cristo coming on for Alberto and Ricardo didn’t holt the slide. Roberto made a couple of good stops and the arrival of Aridane for Juanjo gave brief hope, he powered through for a goal chance but Cristian cleared the danger. Ayoze managed a couple more half chances but Sabadell didn’t have any real worries, the final whistle made it 461 minutes without a Tenerife goal, that’s not promotion form.

Stop Press – I was just thinking at least we have got through the season without any internal bust ups. Just heard that Quique Medina the Director of Football is leaving the club with coach Alvaaro Cervera taking on his role, that is more of an over manager dealing with signings etc. Not sure how that leaves things for the last home game against Murcia.



A Leap Too Far For CD Marino

Even without the 1-0 away promotion play off loss CD Marino were second best to San Sebastian de Los Reyes in a 0-2 home defeat. In the end a gap in experience and limited depth of quality told but there are so many pluses to be taken from a winning season with a totally rebuilt squad.

A band was playing in the stands, an arch of blue and white balloons greeted the teams, and a bumper crowd of 500 came to hope for a dream ending but reality was cruel. The visitors were strong and confident and to their credit came to attack rather than sit on their home leg lead. On the left side full back Lluch and forward Vicente interchanged to cause havoc. Aaron Darias was the key for Marino, he was getting around the visiting defence on the right flank and forced an early corner that the defence half cleared before Josito fired in a long range shot that the goalie gathered.

The break through came down Sanse’s favourite channel with a speedy break that caught out Pulido and Lluch was able to slip the ball past Alberto. Marino fought back, Murci did well to control a chest high ball and hook a shot in but the keeper was ready for it. Sanse picked their moments to break, Mendy came to the rescue with a sturdy blocking tackle and Alberto made an important save from Vicente. It was a big blow when Aaron had to go off injured after 30 minutes, Fran came on and has shown glimpses of class this season but he found it hard going with the pressure on. Balduino dropped a little deeper to help create a few openings but that left the attack a bit short.

Coach Sosa Espinel made a bold half time swap by adding Juanmi in place of Pulido and he put a shot just wide of the Reyes post. A long ball to Fran was too ambitious even for his young legs and the frustration began to tell. Murci thought he was in only to see the keeper claim the ball, the last throw of the dice was Sergio on for Josito. Reyes made sure of their next play off round, this time down the right leaving Carlos stranded and Vicente to make it 0-2. Murci and Balduino both saw their shots whiz past the post but when a glancing header from Murci flew by it was all but over. Marino were drained and couldn’t claw their way back but they can be proud of a campaign that has seen them camped in the top four right from the start.


La Laguna And Santa Cruz With Food And Drink For Company

Dorada, Mahou, ice cream and sausages, what a lucky stomach I have, my day out to La Laguna and Santa Cruz wasn’t meant to end in such a delightful mix of food and drink but I was overwhelmed with hospitality at the Salon Gastronomico in the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz. It was just as well I had already enjoyed a lovely meal at the Rakaposhi Himalayan tapas bar in La Laguna otherwise I would have been considerably more squiffy than I was.

Let’s rewind to an early sober start, thanks to the Titsa bus and the tram I was in La Laguna for mid day, my first target was the Mercado de San Pablo but it was still shut so I put my art head on and visited a couple of local exhibitions. The La Caixa hall had an interesting display of paintings by Horacio Vidaurre called Cuerpo de Papel – Espiritu de Tore. They had three rooms of works highlighting violence to women, powerful stuff in striking images. My next stop was the old Convento Santa Domingo where Oscar Oramas had an exhibition in two halls, this was more abstract takes on landscapes but I wasn’t too taken with his sketches of his own meat and two veg, keep it to yourself mate.

On my wanderings I had spotted the Rakaposhi tapas bar and headed back there for a smashing meal and a lengthy chat with the owner Ali who told me about his village in the Himalayas, look out for the review soon. Catching the tram back to Santa Cruz I visited my usual stop offs like the port and Parque Garcia Sanabria before heading to the Salon Gastronomico food fair. It was 5 euros to get in but as it was a new venture I wanted to have a good nose around, one of the first things I spotted was a stand giving our Dorada Especial, don’t mind if I do, the staff on the stand were very chatty and interested that I had done the Dorada brewery tour. The ladies on the Mahou stand tempted me away with their lovely smiles and large range of bottled beers, the 6.2 Selecta hit the spot. Beautiful women handing out beer – had I died and gone to heaven?

Before you think it was just beer, there were lots of other stands including a cake competition, pastries, ice cream – I tried about five of the flavours, and the Egatesa meat company (they advertise on the back of our CD Tenerife season tickets) were serving up sausages and burgers. La Gomera had a large selection of cheeses and there was even a stand doing coffees with cocktail flavours. But back to the beer, and believe me I went back to it often, I explained to one of the Mahou girls all about snake bites, she seemed impressed but didn’t have any cider to hand so I could make a practical demonstration. I tried a couple of mojitos at another stand but resisted the alcohol free beer at the Heineken stand. It’s a good job I don’t drink wine, there was plenty of that on offer and at the far end of the hall there were around 80 Tenerife wines for tasting but I couldn’t see any pint glasses.

I made an effort to get into the show cooking, a large stage and tiered seating was the place for the against the clock cook off. It was a bit like Ready Steady Cook or when I do it Ready Steady Incinerate. The eventual winner was Jorge Penate but can he make a decent crisp butty. The whole point of the exhibition was for business’s to sell to new clients, many of the visitors were in the food and drink trade, the chap on the cocktail teas stand gave me the full sales pitch but I was only hanging around to get a photo of his delicious lady helpers. I’m sure a few deals were struck and as it becomes an established event it will no doubt grow in importance, the Recinto Ferial has lots of good fairs on and is a nice versatile venue, I always enjoy my trips there.

It got to 8,30 pm and they started to wind down and clear things away, I think I was one of the things they probably were keen to clear away so I wobbled off to catch my bus back to the south. Of course a few more beers followed at the Los Cristianos end but I somehow managed to get myself and my pocket full of leaflets home without wobbling too far off course.

Dog Tired End Of The Season As CD Tenerife Tail Stops Wagging

Being a tight so and so I always give the sauce bottle a good slapping to get all the sauce out but eventually I have to admit it’s drained. Unless CD Tenerife coach Alvaro Cervera can add some late season vinegar the promotion play off hopes are in the same situation after a fourth straight 0-1 defeat, this time at home to Cordoba.
The jolt of pain from the defeat at Las Palmas should have fired up the engines again but it was a poor performance, sloppy and slow to cover in defence, blunt up front, and a midfield engine room desperate for the return of Cristo Martin. Cordoba looked sharp, former Newcastle player Xisco put an early chance wide from a Davila pass and thought he might have another pop after beating Ruiz but was offside. Davila’s control let him down when another chance came calling but he pounced after 17 minutes when Silva had plenty of time to set him up for the goal.

Xisco was at it again just clearing the bar with his shot and although Suso was testing the visitors defence Aridane was grazing again and Ayoze looked off the pace. Davila was gifted another shot just before the break but did the decent thing and popped it wide. The signs were worrying despite Suso opening the second half with a typically determined raid down the line, he squeezed it across but the keeper just managed to scramble it away. Ayoze was getting heavy marking, Bernardo and Cruz pressed him in a sandwich and even when he made some room and bore down on the keeper his shot rebounded away off the post. Like all our recent opponents, Cordoba had done their homework and enforced their plan cynically, holding player Garai took over from forward Davila as they looked to keep their lead. Aridane finally got a sniff but fired into the side netting. Nano replaced Loro and again looked promising but was isolated out on the left.

Suso was still squeezing his bottle, he turned a defender but was thwarted by the goalie and then took out two defenders with a clever lob but there was no one waiting to finish it off. Juanjo couldn’t spark a late fight back when replacing full back Moyano and late efforts from Ayoze and Aridane came to nothing. The 13,702 crowd didn’t show dissent at the final whistle, their support had been intense all through the game but most of us felt resigned to reluctantly letting the dream go. There are three more games to end with a flourish but realistically we should be grateful for an uplifting season that should be a springboard for a more solid assault on promotion next season.

Underground, Overground Wandering Three In Icod

What a contrast, from the majestic pine trees, vibrant flowers, and bird song, to the cool, dark, silent world of Cueva del Viento below Icod in the north west of Tenerife. I had visited the volcanic lava tubes before but it was nice to share the experience with Andy and Jim from the Armada Sur as well as the others on the full mini bus from the visitors centre where the tour started.

The first hint of the contrast came when we peered through the metal grid of a 17 metre chasm. Surrounded by greenery and vegetation it has swallowed up a curious local lady many years ago, luckily she survived and it led to the full exploration of the 17 kilometers of tunnels on four levels. Our trip was in a 180 metre downward plunging section with a guide and plenty of informative information. We learnt at the visitors centre about the different types of lava, this Tenerife natural wonder is of the layered type where lava has cooled and solidified to sculpt bizarre shapes and textures. Cueva del Viento (cave of the wind) is the biggest set of volcanic tubes in Europe and the fifth longest in the world.

The day started at Playa de Las Americas bus station, originally there were to be 8 of us on the outing but only myself and Andy Van Man boarded the 460 bus for Icod. Jim phoned to say he was at the wrong bus station but a frantic car catch up saw him hop on at Tejina. As we drove up through Chio and Santiago del Teide the cloud was hovering low to mask the scorching sun. We arrived in Icod a couple of hours ahead of our booked tour time so after a stroll through the historic back streets we settled outside Bar Hesperides for a few Dorada’s as we watched the world go by. For our delight and entertainment we were treated to a Mrs Merton look alike, a female Jabba the Hut impersonator – who turned out to be English, and a scattering of pretty young ladies also caught our roaming eyes.

A taxi whizzed us up the steep winding roads to the tiny village of Cueva del Viento and the visitors centre. We paid our 10 euros and collected our helmets with mounted spot lights and listened to the introduction talk and video. Suitably clued up, we piled into the minibus for another steep climb to a clearing were we set off across natures garden. Several expanses of lava rock gave us a better understanding of how the lava had poured down from Pico Viejo, next to Mount Teide, and created a 300 metre wide lava field. Part of the ancient Camino Real track, that linked remote parts of Tenerife, became our path as we neared the entrance to the tubes. Before putting the helmets on we had to pull a cloth protector over our heads, some of us got yellow ones, not a good colour for CD Tenerife fans. With the helmets tightened and the lights turned on we descended one by one down the entrance stairs.

In the first large cave we perched on the ledges as our guide explained more about our surroundings, a mummified body of a Guanche king had been found on a high ledge, and a small metal door in the distant rocks was a crawl space into the main tunnels where most of the tiny species of creatures live. Our journey led the other way through a tight, twisting, plunging tunnel with an uneven rocky floor. Our lights cast flickering shadows on the walls and ceiling to show the many small offshoots and the tree and plant roots that poked through. The air was chilled and drops of moisture plopped now and then as we explored some of the collapsed rocks. At the end of our stretch of tunnel we were just under the grid covering the chasm the old lady dropped down, and just to the side was a tight lava pipe leading down to the lower level, there are plans to offer that as an extra option for braver explorers.

Retracing our steps we stopped to look at some spiders on the ceiling of the passage and also to have our brief exposure to total darkness. The warmth of the late emerging sun caressed us as we climbed back to ground level, on the walk back to the minibus we were able to check out some obsidian rock and learn how it was used by the Guanches to make rough tools. By the time we got back to the visitors centre the whole experience had taken two hours so feeling educated and thirsty we rewarded ourselves with Dorada’s at the nearby bar and ordered our taxi back to Icod. As luck would have it we had well over an hour until our bus back south so we put the time to good use with more beer outside a large bar near the bus station. There was still time to pack more into the day, breaking the journey in Tejina we were able to meet the General in Bar Achimaye and enjoy some food and drink while watching the first half of the Europa League final before the last leg into Playa de Las Americas.

I jumped out in Torviscas to meet a couple of friends over from Bournemouth at The Wigan Pier, the second half of the football, extra time, and penalties allowed me to force a few more beers down and we even won their quiz. That was it for me – oh apart from a few nightcaps at The Merry Monk in Los Cristianos. It was a great day in good company, our next lads trip out is shark wrestling or hang gliding – as long as it includes beer I’m up for it.


The Mother Of All Setbacks For CD Tenerife

Full marks for originality to referee Lopez, we thought we had seen every aspect of bad officiating in Santa Cruz but he sunk even lower. A phantom penalty at the start of the second half handed a 0-1 victory to Girona and it wasn’t even his finest moment. CD Tenerife were again below par, giving a rare start to Aday was intended to warm up an extra player with the hoped for play off campaign ahead but he was a passenger and with Rigo in for the suspended Bruno there were big cracks to be exploited.

Rock bottom Girona deserved their win for sheer determination, it was ugly and disturbing to watch but how we would have loved that spirit when we dropped two divisions. The referee should have kept their worst qualities in check but he was at best not up to the job, maybe he got stung by a jellyfish on a former Tenerife holiday, now he was stinging us.

Juanlu on his return to Santa Cruz gave Roberto an early tickle with a slow curling shot but Isaac eclipsed him in the other goal by turning aside an Ayoze strike after he had controlled the ball and turned to fire. Timor went down easily after a tackle in the home box, after some hesitation the ref booked him for the dive. It had the makings of a decent game, Timor had another go, this time from the edge of the box, it brought another assured gather from Roberto.

The 13,035 crowd were pumped up after arriving early, and singing homage to former hero Rommel Fernandez after nine minutes to match his old shirt number. Aridane had his controls set to snooze leaving Ayoze to work extra hard and Suso was well marked and kept under control. On the half hour Ayoze Perez took the ball deep and with a determined run beat the defence only to shoot wide. Girona were a strong side but couldn’t resist the urge to hit the deck anytime a Tenerife player was near them, the ref seemed blind to this. Maybe a rethink was needed at half time in the home dressing room, Tato could have burst through if not for the excellent work of Ayoze Diaz and Timor tried again but even with a crowd of players part shielding his shot, Roberto was there to greet it.

The scorching seats had only just been re-filled when the ref produced his trump card. Juanlu fired in a cross from the left byline and the ref pointed to the spot claiming a deliberate hand ball by Moyano. The touch if any was slight and Moyano was unable to avoid it, Jandro scored and that’s when Girona’s tactics got really ugly. A routine tackle by Carlos Ruiz on Tato saw the Girona player squirming on the ground  and calling for a stretcher, it arrived, he got up, and Ruiz got booked. From then on that became the norm, I saw the stretcher so many times I thought I was watching Casualty, and of course every time the stretcher went back unused. After the first few times I thought the ref would warn them but the farce just continued.

Changes were needed to try to get some home rhythm going, Juanjo replaced Aday and Rivero took over from Sanz but it didn’t work, only Ricardo was doing any good in midfield. Rivero did manage a low shot that hardly troubled the Girona keeper but the cutting edge wasn’t there especially after the ref booked Ayoze. Richy got close to Ayoze and took the dive, out came the yellow card and the distraught striker was in disbelief as he realized he would miss the Las Palmas game for totting up a fifth card. It could have got quite nasty, Suso was getting more and more frustrated, he hit out at a corner flag after his goal was ruled out for offside, and then squared up to Richy when he turned his attention to the flying winger. 

Edgar was the last throw of the dice, replacing Ayoze Diaz but he couldn’t turn the game around. Suso sent a late shot just past the post as we braced ourselves for a long period of injury time from the stretcher parade. Somehow the ref could only find four minutes of extra time and even cut that a little short. With Las Palmas winning at Zaragoza it turns next Saturday’s derby game on its head. Maybe a second appeal will get Ayoze’s booking cancelled but it’s going to be a tough 9pm game in Pio land.  

CD Marino Keep Title Hopes Alive

There was a bit of an end of term feel to CD Marino’s 1-0 home win over Estrella CF, the visitors couldn’t improve on their fifth place and Marino, secure in the top four play off spots, experimented with their line up. There was even a change of command, Lorenzo Morales was calling the shots from the bench with coach Sosa Espinel suspended for two games.

For a team playing down the days Estrella looked well organized and fired up, their early raids tested the new centre back pairing of Richard and Eslava with Richard looking the more comfortable. Murci has found goals harder to come by in the last few months, he was through after seven minutes but Acoidan hooked the ball back from under his nose.

Pedro was sniffing for goals at the other end and it took a strong intervention from Richard to deny him. Marino were adjusting to their team changes, Pulido was coming more into the game on the left wing and Lamine started to push up more. Balduino made a good opening from the right but shot wide, and Murci went one on one with the visiting keeper who spread himself well to snuff out the danger.

Pulido set the Estrella defence flapping, Murci got in among them and tried a back header flick that went just wide. Just before half time Marino took off Lamine for the fast emerging Valiente, he was soon hustling for loose balls and getting into good attacking positions. An onslaught after the break brought the reward, Baldunio opened up the defence for a Pablo tap in but it went the wrong side of the post. The next wave brought better, Balduino again made the space and Aaron Darias was on hand to crack in the goal.

Maybe it didn’t open the floodgates but it did dampen the enthusiasm of Estrella. There was another near miss from Balduino, this one a header that landed on the top netting, closely followed by a Murci head over from a free kick. The play offs could be long and drawn out so it was wise to give fringe players a run out, Sergio came on for Murci just after the visiting goalie had parried a fierce shot from Pablo. That was Pablo’s final contribution, he made way for Josito amid a little shuffle round for Marino.

Estrella were still a danger on the break, Jordi cut loose and should have done better than a high and wide blast. Alberto got a bit of the action, racing out to defuse a break with a strong block from his boot. Mendy did the hard work of dribbling through the away defence but his shot wasn’t of the same quality. The victory means Marino must win at Yaiza Sur in Lanzarote and hope that section leaders Granadilla drop points in their final game. No matter what happens they can go into the play offs with confidence and fearing no team.