Archive for April, 2016
Polished Cup And Polished Image With Nandu Rugby Youth

Lifting the trophy for the Canarian League with a 36-19 win over Las Palmas was the latest milestone for Nandu Under 18’s but their journey started two seasons ago with grueling two game weekends in the Catalan League.

The skill, dedication, and spirit of the squad shone through at T3 in La Caleta but even in their finest hour they showed enormous respect to their beaten opponents, forming a guard of honour and clapping them off the field. It’s not just about winning for Nandu, they like to uphold the spirit of sport and set high personal standards. It was a pleasure for me not to endure the theatricals and moaning that blights much of the football I watch – and these youngsters certainly play tough.

My knowledge of Rugby Union is sketchy at best, this was only the second live game I have seen, The strong Welsh accent of coach Jamie Whelan was constantly encouraging his multi national players, one described them as a “Tutti Frutti” team. Las Palmas were a bigger side, they had some very big built players and Nandu included several 14 year old players on their roster. Despite that the home side tore into their opponents and pinned them down for much of the first half while racking up the tries and conversions. Captain Jacob Oakenfold led from the front, the fly half was always on hand to win and convert tries made by Nandu’s fast breaking game. The whole squad looked well drilled at line outs and rucks and everyone played their part in a very entertaining game.

The under 18’s have grown together into a winning unit despite the lack of money at this grass roots level, seeking testing opponents they joined the 10 tem Catalan League last year which meant tight schedules to get two games in on the mainland without cutting into school and college time. The costs for that season were 44,000 euros, only partly offset by sponsorship and advertising the club committee had to work hard to find. This season they had to give up the Catalan League for the more affordable 4 team Canarian League, the sport is building a stronghold in the islands with Las Palmas joined by El Medano, and CR Mahoh of Fuerteventura.

Around 100 spectators shared the feeling of pride when a late Las Palmas rally was cut short to ensure the trophy. Monster Travel, keen supporters of the club, supplied the winners cup and a trophy for the gallant losers. The champagne flowed, and gave the coach and his staff a refreshing splash, progress is always on the players minds, they now have to train hard for new challenges. On 7 and 8 May they travel to near Alicante (Villasoyosa) to play in a tournament featuring the best under 18’s from across Spain. All this takes money, the club are keen to welcome more sponsors and advertisers, volunteers to help on match days and with admin are always welcome. It’s like a big family at Nandu, the players are a real credit to the club and the sense of pride and sportsmanship instilled into players speaks volumes for the values of the club. If you want to get involved call Paul Oakenfold on 664361058, if you want to catch a game you can keep in touch at Nandu on Facebook. Games are free to watch, they have a quality 2 euro match programme,  and they will make yyou feel very welcome.

Nano Roars In As Dani Limps Off But CD Tenerife Win Again

Not a half wit referee, an injury to our goalkeeping goliath Dani Hernandez, or a soaring sense of expectancy could derail CD Tenerife as they saw of Albacte 1-0 in Santa Cruz. It was another confident, all round display, this isn’t the best set of players we have ever seen in the blue and white but the old saying about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts seems pretty appropriate this season.

The crowds are steadily growing, 11, 769 fans in fine voice got an early boost when Choco set up Nano with a delicate pass, Juan Carlos in the away goal slid out to block. A first half goal is a rarity these days, we are used to a patient approach, it can bring its nervous moments, Suso had to back track to intercept Paredes, and German robbed Samu when danger threatened. Dani has the March player of the month award safely stashed in his cabinet at home but has carried his sharpness into April, Fede Vico floated in a free kick that was heading for the far corner of the home net, Dani flung himself across the goal and flicked it aside.

Suso had the best chance of the half, he was forced wide by the keeper and tried to head it past him from the post but Carlos stood tall and diverted the ball away from danger. There was a worrying end to the opening half, Dani went up for a high ball and Pulido flattened him, Dani’s fall was partly responsible for his lower back injury but the foul was worth a yellow and Pulido had already been booked. The ref bottled it and gave a free kick but no booking. Dani emerged for the second half but looked in considerable discomfort, Roberto started warming up and our worst fears were confirmed. Dani took his time to trudge off, daring the ref to take his name, the ref was reeled in like a prize trout and waved the card, that ensures a points suspension next week, handy when you know you wont be fit.

Suso tested the Albacete stopper, Moutinho replaced Javi Lara and Tenerife pushed for the goal. Choco was having a fairly quiet game, he was alert though and threaded a telling ball through to Nano who timed his run perfectly to bury the ball for his 11th goal of the season. Tenerife were purring again, Roberto had little to do except two routine takes and Cristo came on for the last 18 minutes as Nano departed to a deserved ovation. Eager to stake his claim, Cristo peppered the Albacete goal, a wide shot from a Moutinho pass and another close thing from a link up with Choco were not far off. Once again the cries of “Si Se Puede” (yes we can) blasted out around the stadium as the whistle blew.

A first half booking for Raul Camara means he will miss the game at Cordoba, and Roberto will wear the gloves nest week. Two consecutive away games will put the pressure on but confidence is high and the play off spot is still beckoning. It’s a great time to be a CD Tenerife fan.



Feeling At Home In El Puertito

Here’s a confession, I’ve never been to El Puertito before, I’ve been in the sea from a boat in the cove of this Adeje beauty spot but not ashore. It was high time to put that right so I caught the Titsa bus to La Caleta to walk along the coast.

The track at the western end of the fish restaurants is clear, fairly steep, and with shifting sand that can be a bit tricky but the view back to Fañabe and Torviscas is a fitting reward. The land beyond is a protected natural space with several paths ready to tempt you astray, basically keep the cliff tops close and press on. Advance information will make you expect hordes of hippies and nudists, well there are a few of both but they value their solitude and have got more sense than to exert themselves on such a baking hot afternoon as the one I chose.

There are a lot of people living in and around the two main coves, the first with rock slabs and dark shingle, and the next a glorious sandy beach. The term living doesn’t do justice to the elaborate and carefully weaved dwellings that blend in with nature. Another misconception is that these wild spirits live in an untidy splurge of leftovers. I’ve seen lots of domestic and industrial rubbish strewn on many of the bigger walking trails and I saw very little here. There are home made signs reminding of the protected status and asking visitors not to use the route as a tip.


I did spot a few collecting tins along the path, at a discreet distance from the homes and several had amusing ornaments nearby. The two bays are reached by craggy dips down and up but there are plenty of well used paths to choose from. Quite a few other people were taking the coastal stroll in both directions, it was a rather wonderful April afternoon and I was still just on the supporting act. It took me an hour before I rounded the crumbling plantation walls to see El Puertito spread out below with a selection of pleasure boats bobbing in the water. It’s like an identikit for everything you need to make a top tucked away treat, a small strip of sandy beach, a little corner of shingle, a ramp into the sea for fishing boats, and a dainty church nestling just inland.

Taking the sturdy, stone steps down into the small settlement the bar restaurant had a busy terrace and the tiny parking area behind was being tested with some creative shuffling to try and squeeze another eager visitor in. It wasn’t as packed as I expected for a Saturday but I’m told that Sundays and holidays are when it’s mobbed. The crystal clear water of the bay attracts pleasure boats for the ideal snorkel and scuba conditions, it was nice to see beach notices alerting visitors to the conservation needs of the large, placid, green turtles that are so plentiful.

After a suitable rest and wallow in the surroundings I took the single road up the other side of the bay, I was going to follow the coast to nearby Playa Paraiso but curious to see how far it was to the Armeñime roundabout. The leads straight up past the Bahia Principe Hotel and with a rare bit of geographical success I found the Centro Socio Cultural Asturiano. The metalwork Tower of Pizza and Eiffel Tower had always fascinated me, close up it looked even better, inside a few of the Asturias exiles were at the bar so I had a look around, football flags of Sporting Gijon, and Real Oviedo adorned the walls, and a statue of the Virgen was surrounded by a arch of suspended green wine bottles. Apparently the social club has over 1,000 members.

Yomping on up the hill in the heat it took me another 20 minutes to pass the Camel Park and reach the main road. Los Cristianos was a short bus ride home, Adeje had just added some more new favourites to my collection and El Puertito is definitely worth making a detour by car, or better still take the long route and work up a thirst.


CD Marino Outgunned By Northern Raiders

Football can change so quickly, at half time this clash between CD Marino and CD Tenerife B had 0-0 stamped all over it but a three minute blitz just after the break gave the visitors an edge they never lost in a 1-3 victory.

It’s been a few weeks since I last saw Marino and their line up has undergone some key changes. Kevin Castro has settled well into the right back slot, he still has the pace from his days on the wing but looked solid in the tackle. Ubeda, in his protective face mask, was strong at the back and Adan led the line well up front. Tenerife goalie Angel Galvan was also looking through head gear, one of his first sights was the ball bobbling along his goal line after a scrambled attempt at a save.

Adrian Garcia tried a few raids down his left but got little change out of Kevin, the two Ale’s up front were lively, Gonzalez a recent senior call up for CDT fed Pipo but his shot was wide of the target. Gopar was a little terrier in midfield with some crunching tackles on Marino. Adan turned his defender well on the break for the blues only to be blocked by Adrian Plaza.


Bolaños was the creative energy in the CDT midfield, he won the ball and pushed forward but his half chance didn’t test Marko in the home goal. The half closed with a Cristo run into the box that was stopped by a solid challenge, and a Adrian Garcia break at the other end snuffed out by Marko. Connor got in a strong header after the break that just cleared the crossbar. Then came the double blow, Bolaños surged forward and finished well for a 0-1 lead. Marino made a change, replacing Cristo with Pablo but he hardly had time to settle before Brian Martin rounded off a neat inside pass by Ale Gonzalez.

Marino were struggling to make an impact and brought on Levi for Alberto, the big sub gave them more punch up front and put pressure on Galvan who had made a couple of fumbles. The Tenerife keeper found his best form when Levi laid the ball of the Ameth, his shot looked goal bound, it took a fine low save to deny him. The increased home pressure brought a reward with the minutes running down, Levi powered in and buried the ball in the net with his head. Marino pushed for a late winner and Tenerife exploited that by breaking for sub Hector to make it 1-3 deep in injury time with the last kick of the game.



For A Different Masca Experience Just Add Water

Refreshed and vibrant, Masca barranco (ravine) welcomed ice cold mountain water that added a new dimension to my latest trek down the north west Tenerife hikers delight. The streaky remains of snow on Mount Teide were a clue as I arrived in Santiago del Teide with football friends Gordon and Martin from the Armada Sur. The mid morning April temperature was just 14 degrees as we changed from the 460 Titsa bus from Los Cristianos but the air was crisp and the sky was clear blue with just a few whisps of cloud.

This initial view never fails to deliver, our 355 mini Titsa chugged up the twisting road before we got the full on majesty of Masca village deep in the clasp of the rocks down below. As always the tight hairpin road was busy in both directions as cars, coaches, and a few cyclists bobbed, weaved, and slowly squeezed past each other. The tingle of anticipation was undeniable as we swapped the tarmac road for the shifting stones and dirt as we started our walk into the valley.

Just a few minutes down the first steep incline and I could hear the trickle of water through the greenery and a small dribble underfoot was a caution that this trip might be more challenging than usual. There was a good flow going under the wooden bridge a bit further on and small pools reflected the sun. The thawing snow from an unusually heavy coating on Teide’s peak was making its long journey down to the sea and leaving a grateful bounty in its wake. Trees and plants were showing off their fresh green foliage and bird song was competing with the water’s tune for top billing.

Turning a corner I was delighted to see a brace of Barbary Partridge, they looked plump and happy and were preening for their passing audience. There are many species of birds that call Masca home but they are usually easier to hear than see but the presence of water was given plants and animals a feeding bonanza. A little later on a clump of small trees bristled with activity and some blue tits led me a merry dance as I tried to get a pic. The light and shade deep down in the walk is also fascinating, bizarre rock formations reach up to the sky and large boulders seemed to balance on very tiny ledges, it seemed like a random sneeze might see us all being used as human skittles.

The increased water did call for more dexterity and a few alternative paths, streams that had previously been just been a distraction had now spread across so stone stepping was the order of the day, my toes soon got a wash through my trainers. Others were embracing the liquid, we passed a group who had stripped down and were braving the icy welcome of a bigger pool. Nature is very resourceful, plants were growing in some very precarious spots and thriving with the minimum of soil. It was trial and error in some places, picking out a route around the wetter spots, but that suited us fine. There were plenty of nationalities and ages along the route, Masca’s fame ensures a steady stream of new converts. Towards the end there was a little bottle neck as we negotiated a particularly tricky combination of a thin ledge and some steep rock steps down to a wide pool but we all got through.

With the smell of the sea in our nostrils, the promise of beer in our bellies, and the widening of the cliffs ahead we knew we were close to the large shingle beach and the end of our hike. It had taken us 3.5 hours, a little longer than usual but we were just in time for our water taxi to Los Gigantes. We had pre booked with Flipper Uno, follow this link to book and you can see they offer a range of sea based excursions. Our 20 minute sea trip was a great way to end the adventure as we anticipated a high tide of beer to toast our day.

Play Off Whisper Grows Louder For CD Tenerife

With a defence as tight as a ducks doorway, CD Tenerife have cornered the market in shut outs but we have been gagging for a goal these last few home games. The return of Choco Lozano was the key to this 1-0 home win over Lugo, as soon as he came off the bench after 56 minutes things started to happen, he’s a natural with either foot or head, and that’s with his underlying injury problems.

Lugo were a good test of Tenerife’s progress, they are a tight unit with a great away record this season. Pereira tried to get behind the home defence in the opening minutes but found stiff resistance. Javi Lara had more of a roving role this week with Suso and Omar patrolling the flanks, he set Nano up for an early chance that wasn’t enough to trouble goalie Jose Juan. German and Ruiz make an impressive pairing in the centre of defence and are keeping young prospect Jorge on the sidelines, Pereira got nothing but frustration from German and his half hearted penalty appeal when falling after a clash with Ruiz wasn’t fooling anyone.

Even when Lugo forced a corner it turned into a breakaway for Nano down the left, Suso headed for a central position to pick up the pass but the cross was wayward. Former home favourite Iriome saw an opening from his wing, he couldn’tmake anything of it as Ruiz mopped up the danger with ease. The visitors ended the half with a Campillo shot that Dani Hernandez dealt with easily. It wasn’t the most dynamic 45 minutes from Tenerife, an upward gear change was needed and thankfully it came after the break. Nano shrugged off the fence for two close calls on goal and Iriome popped a shot wide as the game opened up.

The 10,369 crowd gave a hearty cheer for the arrival of Choco for Omar ten minutes into the restart, he’s always looking for the half chance and getting into good positions for his team mates. Suso sensed the new urgency and unlocked the visitors defence but Javi Lara couldn’t quite get the ball under control when the captain’s pass came to him. Lugo produced a couple of half chances only to find Dani Hernandez in commanding form with two class saves. The goal finally came when Choco spotted Suso running into space and slipped the ball through to him, there may have been a hint of offside but Suso stroked the ball past the keeper to spark the celebrations.

Moutinho came on for Javi Lara and Ricardo got a rare outing replacing Nano, we could even have had a goal glut, Choco forced an impressive tip over from Jose Juan and Suso struck his shot at the keeper when he looked odds on to score. In the end it was a convincing victory with the team spirit shining through and the rising tide of optimism among the crowd reaching new levels. A play off spot is in our sights and it’s all to play for.