Archive for September, 2016
CD Marino Enjoying The View From The Top

Predictions for the new season held out little joy for CD Marino but they are proving them wrong in style. This 1-0 home win over Arucas was hard fought and the blues enjoyed some good fortune but it pushes them two points clear at the top of their Tercera group and there is a belief and spirit at the club that suggests big things are possible.

Hopefully local Canarians will return in numbers to the stands, at the moment there is always a good sprinkling of British tourists, a credit to the clubs advertising in local hotels. Even the pre match music has a familiar sound, you can’t knock a bit of Nirvana blasting over the speakers. Marino looked confident as they started against the Gran Canarian strugglers, Adan was leading the line well and Kevin Castro was always a threat drifting in from the left. Killiam and Alex tried their luck for the visitors but Mendy showed them how to finish with a strong header when surrounded by defenders.

The pitch was in surprisingly good condition after the Ricky Martin concert two weeks ago, both sides used it well to show their speed, Brad had to race back and make a couple of well timed interventions but Marino were good value for the lead.

My slight hangover told me it was hotter than usual but I realized how much when the teams took a pre arranged water break after 25 minutes, this was repeated in the second half. Arucas put the ball in the net just before half time bit the ref, after a prolonged pause, gave a home free kick, that angered former Marino coach Jose Juan Almeida who got his first warning from the ref. Arucas put some pressure on in the second half, Cicovic was having another good game, he takes everything that comes in the air. It was interesting to see a new back up keeper on the bench, Petar is an experienced player with Granadilla and Las Palmas Atletico.

Even after having their coach, and defender captain Cone sent off, the visitors showed resistance but a little too much fight, there were some shocking tackles and cheap kicks after play stopped. Marino kept cool and with Ammed on as sub they nearly doubled the lead. There was a tense finish, Kiliam was on a breakaway in injury time but couldn’t get his shot in and the whistle sealed the victory.



All Ship Shape In Santa Cruz

Any excuse and I’m off to Santa Cruz, there’s so much going on, that was definitely the case as I called in for two big events and still ended up gazing at the ebb andd flow of the ships at the port. My first visit was for the Seatrade Cruise Med trade show at the Recinto Ferial, with 153 stalls and some interesting forums there was plenty for me to dive into.

There was a real party feel to the hall, Tenerife was pushing its charms and the various world ports and destinations were doing the same right back. I partly resisted the temptation of the flowing wine and beer, well I did have the CD Tenerife evening game to come, but I was distracted by some of the very nice promotions ladies. Cruise Wales drew me in with a free fluffy sheep – I’m so shallow, but my mums family are steeped in Welsh history so I was able to sound a little knowledgeable. Places I had visited in my younger years caught my eye, Hamburg, Cagliari, and Amsterdam in particular.

Back out at the port there was the usual mix of working boats, ferries, and cruise ships. Emerald Princess (top of three) was moored up majestically on the far side, that arrangement will change in a few weeks when the new 19 million euro cruise ship terminal starts to welcome up to 10,000 passengers at time. Other vessels will still co-exist, Transmediterranea’s inter island ferry Albayzin was chugging out a fair bit of smoke as it turned on a sixpence,well maybe a farthing considering it’s a veteran of the fleet. Wandering off to the marina I found the Danish training ship Georg Stage (top of page) taking a breather. It had traveled down from its Copenhagen base and was being cleaned, polished, and repaired by a skeleton crew awaiting new paying recruits for their November voyage.

A few days later I was back for the Plenilunio promotion day in Santa Cruz, the streets and plazas bulged with families enjoying everything from live music and theatre to parades and displays of Carnaval costumes. The latest cruise ship to dock was Ventura, they must have thought all the fuss on shore was especially for them. It was quite breezy down near Plaza de España as the wind blew in from the sea, bouncy castles had extra bounce and up a side street a wedding party was gathering and trying to hang on to their expensive hats. One of the strangest sights was vehicles from the military museum driving around, an old VW painted battleship gray and driven by a sinister looking Nazi made me shudder. The American GI Jeep from WW2 was a bit more jolly, but they were late of course. As I wended my way back to the bus station I detoured under the arch of the Puente General Serrador bridge and spotted a fabulous mural honouring the people of Santa Cruz – it had me smiling all the way back to Los Cristianos

CD Tenerife In Snooze Mode For Mallorca Draw

Raul Camara will look back on his 100 th game for CD Tenerife and think that he might yet get a call as a striker. This was a blunt 0-0 draw, not entirely unexpected as we struggle to put long runs together, four straight wins was beyond the reach of poor creativity in midfield and half hearted finishing in front of goal.

It’s understandable that Pep Marti went with an unchanged team after the 0-1 win at Almeria, even if it did take an own goal to move the scoreboard. There were just too many holding players in midfield, Vitolo and Aitor Sanz are so similar and Crosas was about as deep as he could get without forming a double act with Dani in goal. There would have been room for both on the goal line, Mallorca were very negative and it took them 30 minutes to even test him.

Amath was again our best chance of cutting through Mallorca down the left, on the other side Suso was also deep leaving Choco with only rare chances to shoot. The forward missed from a headed attempt and was unlucky not to get a penalty after being forced over in the box. I blame the fixture planners, Thursday night at 9pm is hardly traditional, some players seemed to be playing in their slippers.

The second half couldn’t have got worse and to its credit it improved a little. Amath lit the fuse for Choco again with the same result, another miss and from the other flank Suso set him up again with a header to the keepers hands the end result. Subs were needed, Aaron took over for Crosas and made some impact, Jouni was again a late sub, he must be close to getting a longer run, he is awkward to mark and gives defenders problems. Omar was another late addition as Raul went off, he nearly let Mallorca in for a late winner after failing to close down an attacker. Even five minutes injury time for play acting from Raillo couldn’t change the outcome, that’s just four goals from six games.


Iffley Lock Is the Key To A Relaxing Oxford River Walk

Enough feathers to stuff a warehouse clearance of MFI beds and more quacks than a dodgy doctors convention. There we were surrounded by hungry ducks waddling towards us demanding their daily bread. That’s probably how it would look in a cheap horror film but they were quite cute and more like an eager welcoming committee as we crossed over the Thames at Iffley Lock half way through a sunny September stroll.

Iffley is a delightful village about 2 miles outside Oxford city centre, walking off the busy main road I met my former work friend Christine in the shade of the tree lined Iffley Turn. Other small feeder road names like Stone Quarry Lane were clues to the history and sheer beauty around us. Old stone cottages with thatched roofs were joined by new dream home developments that padded out the village. Walking further into the village we passed a few horses in a paddock and a couple of tempting pubs before reaching the old church.

A large twisted oak tree stood guard and reminded me of an infant school trip so many years ago when a thunder storm raged as we sheltered briefly under the then larger spread of branches before common sense and a church warden ushered us into a nearby dry barn. On this modern visit the graveyard looked a little neglected with the long grass lapping at the memorial stones. As we walked around I noticed a figure huddled in a hedgerow and thought it was someone sleeping rough, closer inspection showed it was a chap sketching away on a large pad of paper. The church and its setting is certainly an inspiring sight and the serene feel must get the creative juices flowing.

Moving on we took the tight turn further down the lane over the old weir and across the first part of the lock. Several narrow boats were negotiating their way through the gates and we waited for them to pass before crossing over to get the full splendour of the lock keepers lodge, and the river stretching ahead in either direction. Once on the other bank the ducks came calling, no wonder they were keen, Christine confessed she had fed them generous amounts of bread on previous visits. With as much grace as I could muster I walked down a few stone steps until just above the water line to get a photo of an old mooring point disguised as an Oxon’s head, the ring to tie up to was long gone. The plan was a food and drink stop at The Isis (the name given to the Thames as it passes through Oxford), a lovely riverside pub a bit further downstream towards Donnington Bridge.

Our timing wasn’t good, the pub wasn’t going to open until later in the afternoon, so it was an about turn to follow the footpath the other way along the bank as it headed off to Sandford and eventually Abingdon. Some older, less loved narrow boats were moored along the way and horse chestnut trees provided a carpet of conkers bursting out of their prickly green jackets. Quite a few cyclists were also using the path as we veered off to take the bridge over the railway track and into Kennington. I had mixed memories of my time living there and The Tandem pub stirred a few flashbacks as we popped in and ordered some food. We sat out the back on the decking in the garden and soon realized how frequent the trains were on the main line to London. Suitably refreshed we retraced our steps back over the railway line, stopping to admire the fish design on the gate. We were soon back in Iffley village again, a nice gentle walk and a lovely way to revive thoughts of long hot Oxford summers from years ago.

Oxford – City Of Dreaming Cranes

Arm wrestling for supremacy, summer and autumn reached a good natured stand off for my latest return to Oxford. My Tenerife flight landed at Birmingham on the hottest day of the year, 34 degrees, with blue skies, but dew laden morning grass and a carpet of brown leaves hinted at impending colder weather. That first evening found me with friends enjoying a decent real ale at The Angel And Greyhound, and even the 4.25 price tag couldn’t temper my pleasure at being back in Cowley.

The blue skies of the city centre were not as clear as usual, crane towers criss crossed the skyline above the fast emerging Westgate shopping centre. This goliath of a project had me scurrying around to find my relocated bus stops and has caused hope and consternation in equal measures among traders. I climbed the 99 steps of Carfax Tower the next day to get a birds eye view of the site and the city centre. The good weather ensured the main streets were packed with shoppers, tourists, and novelty entertainers like the man playing a violin on a tightrope.

One of the pleasures of this trip was getting to see my beloved Oxford City FC at home to Maidenhead United. The hoops are in a financial mess at the moment, a better than usual crowd of around 400 will have helped a little but the 1-3 defeat showed that City will struggle this season in the Bananarama Conference South. Maybe a cup run or a home grown nugget could help to balance the books but City have survived worse in the past, they built up from park football after loosing the Old White House Ground to their college landlords. I still have faith in them and will watch with interest from afar.

Real Ale was also on my agenda and although I was a bit early for the dark, brooding winter ales I prefer, I did find some nice brews and several pubs fighting back against the lure of cheap supermarket beer at home. Full marks to The Cape Of Good Hope, how rough was that in my youth, since then it has changed its face more times than Doctor Who. I sat with my friends in one of the wooden cabins out in the back yard, a nice drinking experience, or put another way, I spent the evening in a garden shed with some mates – like some drunken gnomes. Very impressed by The White Rabbit, formerly The Gloucester Arms, no longer a rock pub but a great beer range and nice barmaids. The Royal Blenheim may be partially hidden behind the Westgate building site but with ten hand pump ales it was another welcome stop.

The hot weather ended just before m trip did, heavy rain and lower temperatures but it was still great to see Oxford again, expensive, full of clueless cyclists, and almost impossible to access via the jammed up roads, but I love the quirky nature and diverse mix of people. It’s always home to me.



Suso, Dani, And A Rare Ref Secure CD Tenerife Win

That Suso Santana has a lovely pair of heels, ask the Valladolid defence, they had fleeting glimpses of them in CD Tenerife’s home 1-0 win. While I’m dishing out admiration, how about Dani Hernandez hands, the home goalie defied the visitors with a series of classy saves. But special mention must go to referee Monesellio and his benevolent eyes, it was a clear sending off tackle for accident prone CDT defender Jorge after 20 minutes but the ref only showed a yellow card. His generous spirit not only saved us from surviving 70 minutes a man short but also restored some belief that we do sometimes get a lucky break.

From that pivotal moment, Tenerife grew beyond a poor first half to offer some encouraging play, especially from the transfer window young pups, Amath N’Diaye and Haythem Jouni. It was another changed starting line up, Inaki and Omar out injured, German dropped in place of Jorge, and Cristo Gonzalez confined to the dog house after more public petulance. Valladolid had the better of early play, Carlos Ruiz had to put in a winning tackle to stop a goal run from Mata. Dani rose majestically to snuff out a dangerous corner, and tipped aside another shot after a defensive mix up, and with that Jorge moment the storm seemed to have been weathered.

Camille did well at left back, not as adventurous going forward as Inaki he did a job, Marc Crosas sat in front of the central defence and broke up several moves. Senegal born Amath, on loan from Atletico Madrid, showed some genuine pace from the left of midfield but in the first half there was never quite the ball needed for Choco and Suso up front. We were resigned to a goal less break but in the final minute Suso picked out Carlos Ruiz from an in swinging corner to make the break through. Suso was back in the groove and at his inspiring, tireless best in the second half, two fine moves opened up the Valladolid defence, the second a free kick that stung the opposition goalies hands. Amath showed he could cut inside as well as romp down the wing, he was crudely blocked when at full steam, just before departing to a generous round of applause.

Jouini arrived from the bench, the young Tunisian striker soon showed what he has to offer. A genuine target man, tall and awkward, he gave the rest of the team a boost. It could have been a dream debut, drifting right with the ball he rushed his shot straight at the keeper. With five minutes to go Aaron Niguez replaced Aitor Sanz and took up a position to the left of midfield. There wasn’t much time to make an impact but the run out will help him to get a feel for the task ahead. Suso produced another half chance, hooking the ball just high of the goal from a tight angle before making way for Alex Garcia. The skipper deserved the ovation of the 7,785 crowd, even if the legs are feeling the years he has so much heart and a stubborn determination. The final word should have belonged to Choco, in injury time a long clearance found him deep, turning on the pace he outstripped two defenders but tried to score himself when a lay off was the better option. Still an important win and it marks Valladolid’s card for the Copa del Rey game at their place.

Adeje Hails The Slam Dunk Derby

Thundering down the court, plundering the baskets, and closing down shooting angles for their opposition, Iberostar Tenerife (black vests) and Herbalife Gran Canaria (yellow) brought a full bloodied pre season basketball friendly to Adeje. Top class basketball in the Canary Islands? Well of course there is, I last went to see Iberostar Tenerife in January 2013 at their La Laguna stadium, they play in Spain’s elite Liga Endesa along with close rivals Herbalife Gran Canaria. Adeje Ayuntamiento promotes its own youth programme and provided the venue in the form of the Complejo Deportivo Las Torres near the heart of Adeje town.

My knowledge of the finer points of basketball could be written on the back of a postage stamp, and anyway they have refined the rules a bit in recent years to sharpen the pace. This was the opening action for both teams, both attract regular 3,000 plus home crowds and are in the European Champions League this coming season. Five new faces graced each roster, the only two familiar Tenerife names from my last match were Nico Richotti from Italy and Mamdou Niang, a Senegal born youngster previously known as Petit Niang, although at 2.10 metres he was one of the tallest on the court.

The intensity was clear from the start of the first 10 minute quarter (the clock stops with all breaks in play) most of the players may have come from outside the Canaries but the importance of bragging rights between the two islands had certainly been taken on board by all concerned. Tenerife raced into a 19-15 lead at the first break, Nico Richotti was buzzing and involved in all the best moves. Gran Canaria came back strongly to take the second quarter 13-26 for a 32-41 half time lead. The changeover of players from the benches was at a furious rate, home coach Txus Vidorreta had recently signed a new contract for Tenerife but was finding it hard to stem the turning tide. Lithuanian signing Marius Grigonis was the pick of the home pack with some clinical shooting, Canadian Aaron Doornekamp, another new arrival wasn’t far behind but missed some crucial penalty shots.

Tenerife drifted in the third quarter with Gran Canaria’s 10-17 superiority stretching the overall lead to 42-58. The final quarter saw a minor fight back from Tenerife by 21-19 but it wasn’t enough to claw their way back into the game and it ended up 63-77. For both teams it was more about loosening up for the new season, the five new additions to the home squad will have learnt a lot about the standard of the Spanish league and the style of play their coaches favour. Ticket pricing was spot on at five euros in the stands or 10 euros for a court side seat, it had the desired effect of packing the hall out with 1,500 people. There was a fair sprinkling of Tenerife vests to show that some regulars had traveled down the motorway but the atmosphere was more subdued than in La Laguna where drums and chanting help to fire up the players. If you want to see a league game check out the clubs website, hopefully Adeje will try to stage an annual game in the south, there’s definately a demand.



Hats The Way We Like It For Virgen Del Carmen

My school cap lasted five minutes before I deliberately lost it, never been keen on hats but the annual Fiesta del Sombrero (hat fiesta) as part of the Los Cristianos Virgen del Carmen celebrations has given me a new admiration for them. This Tenerife variety is much more jolly, inventive, and ingenious.

As the fishermen’s boats draped themselves in bunting ahead of the sea parade, a street party of tables groaning with food was taking shape in a small plaza off the old beach. A DJ was belting out dance inducing music, a mix of Spanish pop and some old Brit 70’s classics, the beer and wine were flowing, and it was only mid afternoon.

On the stage there were several prizes for the best home made head gear but this was no glory hunt, it was all about having fun. The spread of ages is always impressive, families had been united around the sewing machine, scissors, and spray paint, a sort of Blue Peter meets the last day party at a design school. There was a vague theme of the sea and Canarian traditions but basically anything quirky and amusing fitted the bill.

I wouldn’t have wanted to be the judge, all the entries were wonderful, I had severe doubts that they would be able to munch their way through the mountains of food but I knew they would give it a good go, especially washed down with plenty of lively lubrication. Over on the boats, barbecues were sizzling, music was building, and the bunting was bristling in the welcome breeze. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.