Archive for November, 2015
CD Tenerife Come Up Short Against Ten Man Girona

The hard work starts now for CD Tenerife coach Pep Marti, the initial rush of enthusiasm from his appointment is giving way to the realism of a squad short of depth and lacking that killer instinct. After Alamo’s foul on Suso saw him off with a second booking it should have paved the way to turn the eventual 1-1draw into a win but sloppy passing and not enough ammunition for lively sub Choco sealed four points dropped in two home games.

Tommy Martinez was rewarded for his impressive run outs from the bench with a starting slot, Pedro Martin and Alberto returned and Omar kept his starting role with Aitor Sanz nowhere to be seen. Our River Plate loanee showed his pleasure with  a place in the starting 11 by slipping a lovely cross ball to Suso in the opening minute, his hot was saved but it was encouraging. Lejeune managed a flash over the bar but Tenerife had the best of the early play.

Raul Camara were getting in each others way as they tried to overlap down the right, maybe spreading it more often to Omar on the other wing might have given Girona more headaches. Sanchon was the best of a poor bunch from the visitors, he should have done better when dragging his shot wide just before the half hour. Tenerife’s have a very poor first half scoring record this season and it can encourage the visitors to test them out. A Girona break through Alamo on the right came to Pons at the far post, he headed the ball down and Sobrino had plenty of space to slip the ball in the home net. A quick reply was needed, thankfully it came with the break looming. Suso was fouled and the free kick swept into the box where Omar ran in to head the leveller.

It was cut and thrust at the start of the second half, Pedro did well to hold up a through ball but no one came to take advantage of his neat control, Girona managed a rare break which Dani snuffed out with a low save. I’m a big fan of our young defender Jorge but he had one of his weaker games, he lost the ball in a dangerous position in shocking style and was lucky it wasn’t punished by a goal. Jorge is very positive and looks to play the ball forward all the time when sometimes he might be better to lay it off or pass back, but that will come with experience.

The defining moment of the game should have been the sending off after 53 minutes, the man advantage fired Tenerife up briefly, Pedro had a shot ping off the post but it was offside. Choco came on for Pedro and didn’t look rusty after his injury, he always has an instinct for goal, twice he turned with his back to goal and fired in strong shots that tested the keeper. Jairo arrived for Tommy, the youngster has bags of enthusiasm but is another small player, we need a few imposing players who can get stuck in – something for the January transfer window? Pep Marti took the gamble of adding Nano in favour of left back Aurtenetxe but the spark was missing in midfield and the supply line wasn’t good enough. In the final minute Girona could have nicked it, Sanchon was clear through and it took a classy save from Dani to hold onto the point. Three games to go this year and the relegation zone is still snapping at our heels, this is where it all gets serious.


A Warm Glow Of Chestnuts In Valle San Lorenzo

My nose was being tickled and teased by the warm waft of chestnuts roasting in tall metal braziers, and similar smells were drifting out of bars and restaurants as we walked up the main street of San Lorenzo. While rampant commercialism was whipping shoppers into a frenzy elsewhere, there was a traditional Canarian feel to the small town just above Los Cristianos.

It was the Night of Chestnuts, Sweets, and Wine, and Arona council had put on free buses from Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos to encourage more people to get involved. I went with friends Dave and Annie, we had to wait for a second half size coach to ferry us up there as demand was high.The evenings were beginning to get a bit chilly and it was a few degrees cooler as we got off in the busy Carretera General. Armed with the official leaflet we set about trying the chestnut themed tapas that several bars and restaurants were selling.

First stop was the Queseria Tasca Medianito for their cheese and chestnut tapas, it was lovely, bread and rolls of cheese with a little honey inside, and a spoon of chestnut puree. I’m not a big wine drinker but had a sip of my friends white to look willing, on the way out I noticed some bottles of 6% Danza Diablo (Devil Dance) black ale from La Palma, I will be back to try that in the near future. Next up was the Bar Fumero where we tried the chestnut croquetes, these had a very strong and pleasing flavour of the castañas. There was an alternative on offer, chestnuts with onion and tuna but we had more stops to cram in.

There was plenty of entertainment going on in the street and at key points there were stalls selling hot chestnuts, wine, and sweet pastries. We were a couple of days short of the big celebration of San Andres (St Andrew) and a few of those traditions were being honoured, children dragged strings of old cans along and opposite our food stop a mini version of las tables was taking place. San Andres is a celebration of wine and the breaking open of the wooden barrels, the wood is made into rough karts to ride down the steep streets, most notably in Icod. For us it was time to sample the full glory of chestnuts, the braziers were stoked up and burning with salted water boiling just below a pan of our delicious round friends. A two euro bag was plenty for me and they tasted so good, I’m sure they must have some very healthy properties as well. The 50 cent glasses of wine were going well too and a mountain of 50 cent pastries was being steadily reduced.

Another bar was calling, this time the Gipsy King, the walls were adorned with Real Betis posters and for once I didn’t have my CD Tenerife shirt on. I fancied the lasagne with chestnuts and was duly rewarded with the best tapas of the night. It was getting very busy and the poor barman was struggling to keep up with the till, hopefully all the local business’s will have made some good income from the night. As Dave left us for football, San Lorenzo v San Isidro in the Preferente League, we made our way to the free bus pick up point. A large group of traditionally clad musicians were tuning up, I noticed one had a small flashing electronic device attached to the neck of his timple guitar. I had to ask what it was for, it’s a tuning device for the strings, what a nice blend of tradition and technology. It was a good night and as always a pleasure to share in the rituals and celebrations of Tenerife.

Nano Keeps CD Tenerife Revival On Track

It seems that neither injuries, suspensions, or bang in form visitors can deflate the new confident spirit that coach Pep Marti has instilled in his first three games in charge. Cordoba were expected to be a stern test but showed little threat and were fortunate to lead after 60 minutes, CD Tenerife kept their faith and their determination and a Nano leveler after 84 minutes for a 1-1 draw was no more than the home team deserved.


The ever changing defence held up well with German and Jorge partnered in the centre as Carlos Ruiz sat out his suspension. Aitor nearly opened up Cordoba after 7 minutes when he found Omar who forced a save from former Santa Cruz favourite Razak. Jorge had a near miss a few minutes later as his header shaved the bar. Cordoba seemed content to sit back and wait for their chances but the Tenerife defence severely restricted them and it as one way traffic as rain showers swept over the pitch.

Jorge gets better every game, he looks a class player, reads the game well, and is assured on the ground and in the air. The visitors struggled to muster any chances, the best in the first 45 minutes was a late free kick that they casually wasted. Razak was almost caught out just after the break and had to scramble the ball aside to concede a corner. Cristo Gonzalez was a bit off the pace and was replaced by Tommy Martinez after 56 minutes, the Argentine player is now showing his worth whenever he comes on and links well with his teammates.

It was a classic sucker punch that gave Cordoba the lead after 61 minutes, Tenerife launched another attack but when they lost the ball they were a little slow to cover and Florin nipped in to grab the lead. Back came Tenerife, lifted by the 8,967 crowd, Tommy threatened only to see Razak react well to push the ball wide. Jairo came on for Omar and Nano relieved Ricardo, the changes freshened up the attack and another wave of pressure brought its reward. A Suso corner came out to Tommy and he fed the ball through to Nano who held himself just onside before slotting the ball in the net. Despite a last big push a winner never came but it was a good point against a fancied side and another boost to the growing confidence of the squad.

The players look to be enjoying their football again and the coach has been like a breath of fresh air in picking up 7 points from a possible 9. Let’s not forget he hasn’t yet had a full squad to pick from, our star striker Choco has yet to play for him and Pedro also sat out this latest game. The bubble, unlike our coach tyre, wasn’t ready to burst, even that had a silver lining for the Armada Sur on the way home as it bought us extra drinking time at a motorway café. I’ll drink to that!

Dire Straits Experience Do The Walk And The Talk At Magma Tenerife

Just two guitar riffs, that’s all it took to dispel any doubts and reservations. Would The Dire Straits Experience re-capture that old magic from the 1980’s when they ruled the musical world? The opening bars of Telegraph Road cut a channel back through the years and when Terence Reis broke in with his vocals the 2,000 crowd knew this was the real deal.

Mark Knopfler is a tough act to follow but the new lead singer reveled in the responsibility and with original members Chris White on sax and flute and Chris Whitten on drums in cracking form. One of their biggest hits, Walk Of Life, was next and people were already up and dancing. The Magma Arts & Congress Centre in Costa Adeje is finally starting to get the amount of concerts it deserves, the cavernous layout with banked seating at both sides offers loads of space and with low key unobtrusive stewarding the party atmosphere was allowed to grow as the concert unfolded.

I knew it was going to be a packed crowd, getting a few cheeky Doradas’s beforehand at El Gomero and Las Rosas was a slow process and I recognized a lot of friends of a similar certain age as myself. Romeo and Juliet was another hit greeted like an old friend, Chris White was able to show of his mastery of the saxaphone and there was sparkling support from Richard Cottle on piano and keyboards, Tim Walters guitar and vocals, Paddy Milner also on piano and keyboards, and Michael Feat on bass guitar and vocals.

Some of the ladies in the audience were flowing with the music and dancing like demons. It wasn’t just us mature Brits enjoying the show, there was a good mix of locals and a few more far flung visitors. Tunnel Of Love was plucked out of their greatest hits catalogue and really hit the spot before Your Latest Trick,and The Man’s Too Strong followed on in style with Chris White switching to his flute to add another musical dimension. Private Investigations was more atmospheric and lingering and Down To The Waterline blended in nicely. The band were very much at ease and their enthusiasm was echoed by the fans, Lady Writer was one of their hits that I had almost forgotten about but I was glad to hear it again in all its glory.

Brothers In Arms was always a goose pimple song and it was more poignant than ever set against recent world events, Dire Straits Experience wrung out every ounce of emotion and for me it was one of the stand out songs of the night. Sultans Of Swing took us back to the earliest days of the band, it really got people pumped up and their were even a few air guitarists who were living every note. That was the final song, or was it? The clamour for an encore was met by the opening strains of Money For Nothing, the boys milked the audience on that one and the hall was a mass of waving arms and ancing bodies, while everyone pleaded for their MTV. Going Home was a fitting finale for two hours of pulsating pop, it was quite an experience.


Two Points Lost By Blunt CD Marino

How CD Marino didn’t win this game is mystery worthy of Agatha Christie. One goal ahead against a woefully poor San Fernando side who had a very uncertain goalkeeper, it just had to be a home win but in the end CD Marino were hanging on and in debt to Marco Cicovic for some terrific saves.

With a spate of injuries a reshuffle was needed, Josito took over at full back for Bradley Mills who broke his hand in the midweek Copa Heliodoro game. Vitaka replaced Javi Marchena and Kevin Castro was also missing. On the plus side Kiliam made his home debut in the heart of defence and looked a good solid signing. It was a good start for the blues, a well worked attack after four minutes found the Gran Canarian keeper fumbling the ball, it came out to Gaizka and he fired it in the net.

San Fernando relied heavily on a kick and rush style that wasn’t good to watch, Claudio put a free kick wide and with a terrific tackle from Mendy in the box and a sliding save from Marco Civovic the visitors threats came to nothing. Marino were missing the players that could take defenders on and slipped into playing a similar game to San Fernando. With the home initiative lost, the yellows fancied their chances and Javi looped a perfect shot inside the top corner of the Marino net to level five minutes before half time.

San Fernando continued to press at the start of the second half and Marco had to be at this best with two close range stops. Coly came close for Marino with a high header and Airam caught the keeper when he tried to head his team back in front. The Maspalomas bench made a double substitution with an eye to holding onto the point and when Kevin Sanchez replaced Vitaka he relayed instructions to try to spread the play wide. There was encouragement for the home crowd when the San Fernando goalie spilled a cross but it only brought a scrambled corner that was wasted. Suso came on for Gaizka, and would have given the width and speed that was needed but playing a more central role didn’t suit him.

Full back Josua became more of a playmaker for the visitors and he was getting more joy than their big kicks up field had produced. Marco came to the rescue again with a sharp low save and a clean take from the bulky sub Quintero. Coly laid the ball off to Suso and he got a tempting cross into the box but there was no player there to finish off the move. In the end Marino ran out of ideas and two vital points slipped away.


A Good Day At The Office For Pep Marti And CD Tenerife

It wasn’t sexy, it wasn’t flashy, and it wasn’t thrilling, but this 2-0 home win over Alaves was just what CD Tenerife needed and new coach Pep Marti has a hard working, solid platform to build on. The home players had to grind the result out but when you are at the bottom end of the table that is often what makes the difference.

With just a couple of training sessions and a collection of video nasties, the former captain was playing catch up after he replaced the sacked Raul Agne. German was axed after his disastrous game last week and in his place Jorge put in an immense performance in the centre of defence. The Spain under 19 prospect was majestic and commanding, Alaves must have been cursing him on the long trek home. The pick of the crop was 17 year old striker Cristo Gonzalez, his work rate was incredible and he showed mature awareness to go with his undoubted talent.

Alaves are one of the fancied sides for promotion but they looked very average, Toquero carried their main threat and despite some tricky little runs Jorge had him in his pocket. It took nearly 30 minutes before the visitors tickled Dani Hernandez gloves, his response was quick and decisive. Pedro Martin was trying hard to climb out of his dip in form and came close with a wide effort, a free kick went the same way but at least Tenerife were making chances. Alaves had their best spell just before the break, Femenia tried his luck but Dani saw it off with his finger tips, and just before the whistle Toquero had a half chance that Jorge cleared with an outstretched leg.

It was a nervous half time break, the 7,907 crowd could sense that Alaves were there for the taking and Tenerife seemed of the same opinion, they came out fired up, Jorge going close with a header. The 59th minute opener was a delight, Cristo laid on a top notch pass that  eased Pedro between two defenders before burying his shot in the net. That didn’t stop the new coach from replacing him a few minutes later with Omar and he also looked hungry for the victory. Alberto nearly increased the lead before Tomas Martinez came on for Suso and slotted into his right wing position. The Argentinian showed a liking for that wider role, hopefully he can now start to live up to his River Plate reputation.

Marti was doing a thorough stock take, he added Abel for Cristo in the final minutes and he only had a short wait to sample some celebrations. In injury time Aitor Sanz picked out Omar and he hit a stylish second goal pulling his shot just wide of the keeper. It meant a lot to everyone and fans spilled onto the pitch to embrace players who had leapt the hoardings, an arrest and a booking was a cruel response. On the day the win was more important than showboat football, it will take a while for Pep Marti to impose his own style. The bulging inbox on his desk and the niggling injuries on the training pitch will awaken him to the size of his task but the Heliodoro was a good place to be again after this win.

Looking Up And Down, To The Past, And To The Future In Santa Cruz

Sometimes you have to act on impulse, I had a plan for my latest visit to Santa Cruz but stepping out of the bus station the sheer sunny beauty of the day yanked at my arm to do something different. I’ve always intended to go up to the Mirador de Ifara to get some panoramic views of the Tenerife capital, and when better.

Subtle improvements were taking place at the Intercambiador, new bays were being created on the top floor and as I waited for the 912 Los Campitos bus opposite the tram terminus I noticed the indoor café had now spread beyond the glass with a few scattered tables complete with waiter service. My 20 minute frequency ride was a freebie on my bono ticket as I had recently got off another of their buses. After threading through the back streets the route rose steeply and a 30 minute ride overshot to the old, rural destination. I was looking for a formal mirador with a viewing platform but it’s much more casual than that. The driver dropped me on the main road back down and I found my own gaps in walls and fencing to admire the living map below me. There’s a lot of posh new housing in this area, the views and closeness to the big city must make it very expensive.

Taking the short walk down the winding road I was soon at Parque Garcia Sanabria, it had looked like a hemmed in square from up above but up close it charmed me as always with its mix of trees, flowers, and modern sculpture. Nearby was another long forgotten friend I needed to look up, Plaza de Los Patos has more ceramic tiles than your average DIY store, these are the type pieced together on walls for advertising but here they adorn 20 concrete benches and the central pond. It’s a pity the duck in the centre of the pond no longer squirts water and it’s hardly a puddle deep but the ornate frogs sit proud on the circular wall. I half expected a burst of Rupert and the Frog Chorus.


The port area always figures on my jaunts, there were no cruise ships in this time but a few heavy laden tankers lurked at the far end of the old loading area. Santa Cruz is still undergoing a big facelift, the Via Litoral coast road has been diverted through an underground tunnel and the bright modern design on the side wall caught my eye. Maybe it was a secret code or a mathematical formula, either way it cheers up what could be just dull concrete slabs. The marina was also getting a makeover, it’s startling how much difference some new tarmac paths and young palm trees can add a fresh feel.

The main purpose of my day out was to review the new touring exhibition from the Prado Museum in Madrid. More of that at a later date. The venue is the Caja Canarias bank HQ, they have held a series of high profile art shows, this one is free and on until 16 January 2016. While I was checking out the paintings I could hear music wafting through from their small theatre next door, it was an Afro Cuban Jazz Quartet, never let it be said that Tenerife lacks variety.

It was the opening day of the Exposaldo bargain sale at the Recinto Ferial hall so I had to pop in and see if anything tickled my wallet. With 180 stands the good people of Santa Cruz were keen to get in and entry was just one euro but what a crazy system. Visitors had to queue at the box office to pay their nugget and get a ticket before moving a few yards around the building to the entrance to have it checked on the way in. The queues at the box office were stretching back, I reckon quite a few people gave up. Once inside it was very busy laid out in blocks of rows with a large side section selling former hire cars. Goods included books, clothes, sports gear, toys, and even a sex boutique. The busiest of all seemed to be the Conforama home furnishings and electrical, the café area was doing a steady trade as well. If you read this in time the Exposaldo’s last day is Sunday 8 November and they are open 11 am to 9 pm.

That was about it for me, as always I still had more on my tick list but that’s just another excuse for a return visit. Even on my bus back to the south there were plenty of the distinctive orange and black bags from the Exposaldo. After a busy day I was looking forward to checking out the stock at The Victory and Zizzi’s Bar in Los Cristianos.


Green Flag Beats Yellow Alert For Water Ski Racers

How dare the weather try to rob us of the return of waterski racing to Puerto Colon, thankfully the expertise and hunger of some of Europe’s top racers ensured half of the planned Tenerife Open International went ahead. Queues lined the pontoons of Puerto Colon marina as holiday makers waited to board pleasure boats, the sun sparkled off the sea, and the island of La Gomera was crystal clear. Sounds perfect but a yellow weather alert and strong waves rolling onto the beaches of Playa de Las Americas meant that Saturday’s action was postponed but it merely sharpened appetites for Sunday’s racing in improved conditions.

At least the cautious waiting on the opening day gave me a chance to catch up with competitors and families that I met at the World Championships at the same venue two years ago. This was a smaller field but 11 boats were assembled in the pits area with skiers, drivers, and in boat observers from Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, France, and Austria. The camaraderie of the enthusiasts overcame the need to ship boats in at great expense, some have a semi permanent home in the large boatyard, well Tenerife is growing as a centre for the sport. Skier Nadia Jay Mersey, driver Barry Clapson, and observer Simon Smith from Essex were pleased to get their hands on Kraken, their loaned boat.

It’s a sport for all ages, 15 year old Sarah Bennett, a GB skier from Norfolk couldn’t believe her luck when a pre planned Tenerife holiday coincided with the tournament. Part of her plan was to take part in Sunday’s twin skiers exhibition races but moving the main competition back a day stopped that. The pits were busy with fine tuning, not all of it high tech, washing up liquid was one of the most sought after commodities – good for easing the ski straps around the legs so I’m told. Safety always comes first for these daring participants so the news of Saturdays call off was accepted as a sensible move. A few of the boats did get to test the waters around a limited version of the long oval race course.

An early Sunday start found the waters in much more agreeable mood and they whizzed through the main competition before the big waves reared up again. Sarah Bennett got a third spot in the Euro Kids B category with Laura Fuentes winning. Euro Kids A went to Jorge Garcia, and Adrian Martin took the Junior crown with the Under 21 race going to Sergio Gutierez. Sabine Ortlieb of Austria took the ladies title before the mens final, trimmed from 45 to 35 minutes plus one lap. Belgium’s Robin Marien added the F2 title to his trophy win in last year’s Tenerife Open. The F3 champion was Marcos Llanos behind Crabzy. The weather may have conspired against them but waterski racing again proved that it can offer another exciting dimension to Tenerife’s sporting calendar. Even as they went through their paces news was breaking that Puerto Colon is in pole position to stage the 2016 European Championships.