Archive for February, 2016
Dog Day Afternoon With A Frantic Wagging Tail For CD Tenerife

We should have known better, leading 2-0 at home to lowly Llagostera after 16 minutes the words landslide and goal feast were perched on our lips but CD Tenerife still made us endure injury time jitters before winning 3-1.

The visitors are a beacon in the money hungry fog of modern football, from a town of 8,000 people they have risen through six divisions in 10 seasons but sat in the penultimate position with just one away point, this was seen as a chance for CDT to break from four games without a win. Choco Lozano was revealed to be nursing a muscle injury since joining from Honduras pre season and he was left on the bench whilst Nano grabbed his chance with an explosive start. Just two minutes after kick off the young local striker pounced on a ball from Moutinho to make it 1-0. Returning forward Juanjo headed wide soon after but losing the ball in a further raid unleashed Nano for a speedy break and deadly finish to stretch the lead.

Feeling like travelers in a strange land we hoped for more but the killer instinct was missing and Llagostera clawed their way back into contention. Querol got into a good position and slipped the ball to Imaz and suddenly it was a little rockier at 2-1. The hat trick eluded Nano, two defenders squeezed him out before he could fire and the resulting corner came to nothing. Cristian Garcia nearly gifted an own goal as his clearance went painfully close to the post and German, preferred to Jorge again, picked up a booking to gain entry to the popular one game suspension club.

Juanjo tested Dani between the sticks and pantomime villain Natalio lived up to his billing with a cynical dive after Carlos Ruiz had robbed him of the ball. Garcia was replaced at half time by Raul Camara and Tenerife made a bright start, Nano got into some space but found no support. Suso skinned Herrero only to shave his shot wide and twice Nano got borderline call backs for offside. Juanjo went off to generous applause and was replaced by Fofo, a striker rumoured to be a possible Tenerife target in the January window. Ricardo should have at least tested the away goalie but was let down by his poor touch.

Attacking midfielder Javi Lara took over from Ricardo and showed plenty of promise on the left, he soon formed an productive understanding with Moutinho. The first corner from Javi was scrambled away and another inswinger was cleared out to Moutinho whose long shot wasn’t far off target. There was a bit of head scratching when coach Pep Marti replaced Nano with Choco Lozano, especially as it was with a corner pending.

Plucky Llagostera had their own chances, Benja chipped over the bar and an anxious finish loomed for the 7,286 crowd. Choco missed a sitter and as the game moved into injury time Fofo thought he had scored, Dani smothered his shot as the Llagostera players screamed that the ball was over, it was a real close call, it’s a good job our groundsman marked out an extra chunky white line. Sighs of relief were still hanging in the air as the ball broke to Suso, the keeper raced out and Suso timed it perfectly to bury the ball and ensure the victory.



Arona Builds For The Future With Lego

Back in the age of Stickle Bricks and jigsaws, Lego was king, kids could knock up an impressive house complete with a vaulted roof before you could say planning permission. My efforts would have been a source of amusement to the little pig that thought straw was a sturdy basis for a construction project. The First Lego League, now an annual fixture in Arona makes me feel like a dinosaur but the enthusiasm, imagination, and skill of the budding builders augers well for the future of the Canary Islands.

The event is basically a huge science project, this year 43 teams from across the Canary Islands converged on Los Cristianos cultural centre to battle against each other in an ecological robot wars. Lego these days is mobile, it comes with engines and wheels, inside the Auditorio Infanta Leonor, the stage held a series of big table arenas with different tasks, like Trash Trek, assigned for each team. It all looked rather complicated to an old brain like mine but judges armed with clipboards were marking the teams efforts. There were some very young contestants, if they could hold a small spanner they were deemed ready.

Outside the cultural centre there were marquees for related interest games and displays. Despite being the day after heavy rain, snow, and hail, the usual hot Tenerife weather was back with the sun belting it out in a clear blue sky. I was able to get a clear look at the sun displayed on a paper surface, and then through a special telescope that filtered out the harmful rays. In both cases I could see a prominent sun spot and was suitably impressed. This was just one way that young minds were being opened up to the wonders of science, an impressive list of colleges and business sponsors showed how important the Lego League has become. When I was at school were lucky if we were let loose on a bunsen burner or a hair raising moment on a mini Van der Graph generator. Full marks to Arona Ayuntamiento (council) for putting itself at the centre of the learning universe.


More Learning And Teaching For FA Coach Dave Peacock At CD Marino

A passion for grass roots football and a commitment to share his knowledge with others has taken Dave Peacock from Northern League and police representative football to the St George’s Park National Football Centre in Burton Upon Trent, the 330 acre FA facility. The latest stop is a four week Tenerife holiday combined with an exchange of ideas and training techniques at CD Marino on the Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas border.

A youthful 60 year old, Dave has been a regular visitor to Tenerife but watching an August 2015 CD Marino game opened up new opportunities. “I got talking to Steven Gillespie from the club, his two sons have come through the youth set up and he surprised me by pointing out the seniors had just signed Bradley Mills from the Academy of my home town club Middlesborough. I remembered Bradley from regional coaching schools but he knew me as PC Peacock then, I had 30 years in the force.”

Goalkeeper Dave played for Southam and Whitby Town and also represented the police at England and GB level before taking up the flag to officiate at football league games. “I covered games within a two hour radius mainly in the lower divisions but worked some bigger FA Cup games at Manchester City’s Maine Road and a Sky pre season tournament at Middlesborough’s Riverside featuring Benfica, Newcastle, Middlesborough, and Atletico Madrid.”

Coaching his 8 year old sons team led him on another path and he is now and FA Coach Educator and Tutor, helping to guide people through their badges, he is also a mentor and assessor of referees. Dave is well qualified to give a view on the current state of goalkeeping. “These days it’s more 60% feet and 40% hands, they have much more to do in terms of starting off team moves and distributing the ball.” Although he has only seen a few games in Tenerife he has already spotted a few differences in referees. “They don’t seem to interact as much with players, I was always a talker and liked a bit of banter with the players.” CD Marino has a huge youth development programme and Dave is keen to pass on some of his experience to the young players while he is here. “Marino have made me welcome and it’s a great chance to swap ideas, I still feel I am always learning and I love all aspects of the game.” It may be the start of further links with UK football, several clubs have shown an interest in sending youth teams to enrich their growth with that special Tenerife contribution.

Fancy Dress Doesn’t Disguise Poor CD Tenerife Draw

A few months ago we would have welcomed mid table mediocrity but now it’s a reality CD Tenerife fans are yearning for more. Carnaval was swinging into action down in the centre of Santa Cruz but despite promotions and freebies the 1-1 home draw with Huesca only pulled in an 11,241 crowd. Some of the sparkle was missing, especially in a poor second half.

Quick out of the traps, Tenerife’s Omar carved out an early opening but it didn’t find a ready finisher. There was a strong penalty claim when Alberto was roughly brushed aside by Bambock in the box, the ref was lenient to put it mildly and said no. The big surprise this week was the dropping of Raul Camara, Cristian Garcia took his right back place and played well. Saul enjoyed another stand out performance at left back and German was reliable cover for suspended Jorge.

Choco is the man who can excite the fans, he was busy as always, good in the air and always sniffing for a half chance on the ground. Huesca didn’t have a lot to offer but when they threatened the home goal Dani cleared with a powerful two handed punch clear. Cristian Garcia prompted a lesser penalty claim when his cross was stopped by Christian but it was more ball to hands than a genuine call. Just after the half hour a well taken set piece goal put Tenerife ahead, Saul’s corner was nudged on by Alberto and Choco dived in among the flying boots to head it into the net. There were more close efforts to come before the break, Choco missed with a weak shot and Saul put a free kick wide.

It should have been a springboard for a glorious second half but what we got was more like a belly flop. The cautious side of Pep Marti took over and Tenerife went into their shell, this always flags up the visitors to take more chances, Christian floated in a hanging cross that Dani took with ease but it was a warning. Suso replaced Jairo with little impact and new signing Moutinho made his bow in place of Omar, another negative signal.

Machis fancied his chances for Huesca, a weak prod at Dani should have been more testing and he followed a few minutes later by flashing a shot wide, his bright spell also set up a header for Tyronne that wasn’t far away. Tenerife needed another goal but Pep left it until six minutes from the end to bring on Nano, and that was at the expense of Choco. The inevitable happened with a couple of minutes left, a deep right cross found Inigo Lopez and he pooped the ball past Dani for a 1-1 scoreline. Let’s hope that free agent arrival Javi Lara can provide that missing spark, it will certainly give Pep a few tough decisions to make to turn the midfield from a slumbering kitten to a roaring tiger.

Anything Goes When Santa Cruz Carnaval Meets CD Tenerife

With the 1980’s theme as a vague guide a 11,241 crowd converged on the Heliodoro stadium for CD Tenerife v Huesca game on the first big weekend of Santa Cruz Carnaval. As always it was a blast of colour and saucy giggles.

I’ve posted my match report separately, this is to pay homage to the hundreds who plastered on the make up, hitched up their skirts, and slipped into their dancing shoes. There were quite a few fans looking part tired, part dazed, and part sozzled but it’s all good fun.

Frustration As CD Marino Drop More Home Points

February is not a good time to be in the relegation zone, it becomes a bit of a scrap and points are like gold dust. Cruz Santa from Los Realejos near Puerto de la Cruz arrived below Marino and with just two wins to their name and they left with a vital 1-1 draw that looked unlikely for much of the game.

Marino spurned plenty of chances to build a untouchable lead but a mix of rugged defending and bad luck kept them at bay. Josito was fast an d nippy down the left early on and Adan got plenty of close attention from Pablo in the red and white shirt. This was my first sight of Adan, back for a second spell with Marino, he’s big, stubborn, and awkward – a nightmare for defenders, and with two goals from his first two games he was constantly sniffing for more.

Eric produced the first attempt for Cruz Santa with a free kick that was well blocked by the home defence. Marino should have opened the scoring after 16 minutes, a lovely chip from captain Airam fell to Adan but an opposition defender pounced to stop him getting a clean shot. Alexis was a threat on the left for Cruz, he weaved past three Marino players before being intercepted. Airam tried his luck with a high shot but Javi reached up to tip it away from the visitors goal. A ten minute spell of sustained pressure on the Cruz Santa net should have tipped the balance, Adan struck wide and was beaten to a low ball by the goalie while Airam unleashed a strong shot that sailed by the post.

Those let offs seemed to give Cruz Santa a boost, they surged forward and Eric put the ball over Cicovic to make it 0-1. A coach load of away fans with drums and whistles celebrated and cheered the half time call after Mendy had headed a late shot at Javi between the sticks.

It would have been a massive victory for Cruz Santa, sitting below Marino, and they dug in, Javi grabbed the ball from a high duel with Airam and Tato did enough to deter Adan when he got close to scoring. Pacheco nearly made it 0-2 but found Cicovic ready to dent him as Marino stepped up the pressure at the other end. A corner from the left caused chaos in the away defence and Mendy struck the loose ball firmly to level at 1-1. There was a penalty shout from Marino in the final five minutes after a push on Adan and still time for a late charge from Cruz Santa, Cicovic was at his best to ensure the point.


Be The Belle Of The Ball At Cinderella’s

Cinderella’s could hardly be a more appropriate name for the new ladies fashion shop in La Caleta as they are dedicated to making customers of all ages and sizes feel like a Princess. Plaza San Sebastian is just a glass slippers tip toe from the five star hotels of Sheraton La Caleta and Costa Adeje Palace and as I sipped a glass of Cava (their regular welcome) the bells of the church next door added to the spell with their melodic chime.

It’s a dream come true for owner Anne Marie, she has picked the best clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories from France, England, and Germany. Hows this for name dropping, Lipsy, Isabel Garcia, Little Mistress, Sidecar, and from her native Ireland No2moro. Backed by Alice and Lilly they cover a wide range of experience in the fashion and beauty world and speak enough languages to make everyone feel at home. It’s not just somewhere to get that special outfit, Cinderella’s will be offering make up courses, and colour analysis to bring out the best in everyone’s natural beauty.

Cinderella’s arrival is a sign of the changing times in La Caleta, Plaza San Sebastian is a bright modern centre that has tapas and coffee shops. At the front next to the church there’s a new restaurant El Gardinetto with a large open plan garden, and the mountains of Costa Adeje make a great backdrop. There’s easy parking nearby and the recently increased Titsa bus service 467 links direct to Las Americas and Los Cristianos nearly twice an hour including weekends and stops on their doorstep.

You don’t need to wait for a special event to visit Cinderella’s, they are open Monday 10 am to 7 pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 9 pm, and Sunday 3 pm to 9 pm. You can browse the website, send a message to or phone 667659739.

Keep Walking Downhill And You Cant Go Wrong !

I wasn’t lost, I just wasn’t too sure about where I was or where I was heading. You would have thought that after nearly five hours and 9 kms on the almond blossom walk I would have been keen to peel my socks off and soak my toes in some water but it didn’t quite work out that way. Arguayo is only a few miles from Santiago del Teide so there were several easy options to get from the finish to the start, trust me to do it the hard way.

Following a small crowd of clinking sticks and crunching boots through Arguayo I pointed out to a group at the Titsa bus stop that the public bus no longer runs on Saturdays. I should have adjourned to the cultural hall to await the free ferry buses to Santiago del Teide but when a couple of Canarian chaps announced they were going to walk it seemed a reasonable idea. The steep road took us upward past the distinctive rocky slab outcrop and rounding the corner the view showed there was quite a corkscrew road down to the roundabout below Santiago. One of the other walkers pointed out a steep, rough path down the grassy area below the shrine of Ermita del Santo Angel so I followed.

Clicking a few pics on the way down and stopping to water the plants I soon lagged behind and lost sight of the pair. The path briefly touched on a small settlement so I asked an ancient local lady on a bench for directions and she sent me into the little hamlet. A small modern church identified it as Pilar and it was slanting away in the wrong direction for me so I took more advice and was sent downwards. That seemed right as I rejoined the rough path I had started on but I could see now I was well short of my target. A brand new road bridge crossed the ring road near to the tunnels that link the north west of Tenerife to the south but there was just a mud track linked to both sides of the bridge. Even if it was concreted they didn’t really lead anywhere, maybe it’s a ghost bridge leading into another universe.

I wasn’t the only soul wandering free, on the way down to the bridge I met a young British couple walking up and we swapped vague directions to nowhere in particular. Passing over the bridge was surreal, I was waiting for a blast on a horn or a shout to get off but nothing came. The track on the other side curled away from the ring road and down onto the TF 345 which was at least in the right direction and on the bus route for Los Gigantes, my amended destination. There was no real path alongside the road so I walked facing the odd bits of oncoming traffic and ready to hurl myself into the small ditch. It wasn’t very encouraging to see a shrine for a 16 year old that had perished on one of the hairpin bends but I pressed on. A middle aged British couple in a brick bus shelter asked how to get to Tamaimo and they followed me at a distance as I vainly looked for a bus stop going downwards.

A good 30 minutes later I spotted the Vista Guama restaurant near El Retamar with a basic but very welcome bus stop opposite. My two new recruits hobbled around the corner behind me and we settled to wait for the Titsa bus. Amazingly on this descent not one passing car driver beeped or shouted any lifestyle advice, just shows how many rogue walkers are out there. The weather was so lovely it just seemed like an extra adventure to add to a long but very rewarding day, the beer and food at The Bamboo Bar in Los Gigantes revived me and like a Duracell bunny I was good to go again.


In Awe Of The Almond Blossom In Santiago Del Teide

Mother Nature is a right tease and a bit of a flirt, she threw the whole charm offensive at me on the Almendro En Flor, each step brought new delights. This was the fifth year I had strode out on the almond blossom trail from Santiago del Teide to Arguayo but there are subtle differences each time depending on the Tenerife weather.

So there I was just before 10 am cresting the ridge of a hill by the reservoir and accepting a warming swig of home made red wine from a group of Canarian chaps. It was sweet, strong, and tasty, perfect to deter the chilly morning, the temperature had been in single figures when hundreds of walkers set off from the church plaza just after 9 am. This winter has been exceptional with loads of daytime sun and hardly any rain, the reservoir still looked well stocked and the first flush of pink and white blossom was sprouting forth on all sides of the old track.

Showers had been foretold but as the wispy clouds evaporated they left a clear, deep blue sky guaranteed to lift the soul. I had started out in jeans and pullover but soon stuffed the thick top into my rucksack. This special promotional day came with informative guides for those seeking knowledge, there were shorter routes but I went for my usual full 9 km stretch. The routes will be at their best for the whole of February, I could see lots of new buds forming on the trees to replace the fallen blossom that made a colourful carpet along much of the walk. The first burst of sunshine left me with a two tone feel, my face and arms were glowing nicely but I was still glad of my jeans in the shadows from the stone walls that lined the early route. That soon changed as the path rose higher and became more exposed, a large open plain was dotted with blossom laden trees and the shrill cry of birds was joined by the low buzzing of bees feasting on the petals.

It’s not just about the almonds, the edge of the lava field at Chinyero was heralded by the shrine to the 1909 eruption when the statue of the virgin was taken out to stand guard against the flowing lava and it stopped in its tracks. This was nearly half way through the walk and good place to stop for snacks, before attacking my sarnies I consigned my jeans to my rucksack, it felt good to be back in my usual uniform of shorts and t shirt. The atmosphere among the enthusiasts was relaxed and we all found our own pace, I pushed on into the large expanse of lunar like lava so I could make a few small detours from the well worn path to appreciate the strange formations of dark rock. It’s always a striking contrast to see the army of pine trees rising in the distance on the edge of the solidified flow, nature always prevails.

The state of recent weather accounts for most of the variables along the way, previous wetter winters have produced a dazzling white cap of snow on Mount Teide, this time it was almost clear but still majestic. Lack of rain ensured firmer ground underfoot and a crispy sprinkling of fir cones and dried twigs over a dusty base. Santiago del Teide came back into view as the semi circular route almost curled round on itself. The spread of almond trees was relentless, some of the almonds were taking shape but the commercial harvest will have to wait until later in the year. After four hours Arguayo was also looming into view but there was still a steep zig xag pathway down to the small village. It was 20 plus degrees as we started to stream down the final hill, my rucksack was fully stuffed now, maybe I hadn’t needed to pack those snow shoes, distress flares, and inflatable canoe after all.

My senses felt fully loaded as I swapped the rough track for a tarmac road, looking back there was still a strung out procession off more walkers to come down. In the later stages several groups had passed us making the trip in the opposite direction and there was a good mix of nationalities enjoying the challenge of the day. I was looking forward to a short journey back to Santiago del Teide before heading back to Los Cristianos but I didn’t realise I still had a bit more adventure to go…