Archive for October, 2019
Abba Mania Fill The Tenerife Stage With Hits

Even 45 years after it kick started a career of non stop chart busters, the strident opening chords of Waterloo signalled the surrender of an audience as Abba Mania hit the stage at the Vulcan Hall in Arona. The complimenting harmonies of “Anni-Frid” and “Agnetha” were as infectious as all those years ago as the tribute show followed up with a breath taking parade of their Swedish heroes 17 biggest singles in a 90 minute musical whirlwind.

Backed by three extra musicians, this was a tightly paced show with no interval and only briefly grabbed adjustments to the girls dazzling outfits. The boys, “Bjorn” (guitar) and “Benny” (piano) were happy to provide their dependable support from the sidelines. One of the strengths of Abba was always their team work in performing and song writing, and here too the songs were allowed to flow with the emotion and enthusiasm that had feet tapping and hands clapping.

The early hits came thick and fast, Knowing Me Knowing You, Mamma Mia, and Take A Chance On Me to name drop just a few. Gold boots, mini toga dresses, and all in one baggy white jump suits for the boys would these days attract a visit from the fashion police but they were the uniform that gave the band their glitzy, fun loving look. So many Abba songs lay siege to the charts in quick succession, a few classics had almost slipped the memories of the audience but the likes of Lay All Your Love On Me, and Does Your Mother Know swaggered their way into the spotlight.

Vulcan Hall near Los Cristianos, was itself a new version of an old favourite. Formerly the Piramide de Arona, the 1,500 seat theatre was home to musical shows taking residence for a season, but now it boast a more varied range of mainly one nighters. Opening out onto the Golden Mile of late bars and restaurants leading off to Playa de Las Americas, it slots in nicely with the local night life. Abba Mania were just starting an 11 night run, and slowing the tempo down for the bitter sweet Winner Takes It All, and Chiquitita gave the girls the chance to wring out their emotions. “Benny” looked a little lost behind his piano, but he was traditionally the quieter member of the group.

There were no such inhibitions from “Bjorn”. As the show built to a rousing finale, he moved more centre stage to add his push to Super Trooper, Dancing Queen, and the fitting farewell of Thank You For The Music. There were a fair few dancers in the aisles, spanning all ages, and hands were high and hearty. It all left a real feel good feeling. There are more Abba Mania shows up to 10th November 2019, and for a full run down of future entertainment, check out the venue web page or call 922 276834.

British Swimmers Find Fitness And Friends In Arona

Half term holiday brought full dedication from the swimmers of four British swimming clubs as they ploughed their way through the 7 lane, 50 metre long Olympic sized outdoor pool in Los Cristianos, Arona. All were regular annual visitors to Tenerife and the Complejo Deportivo Jesus Dominguez Grillo in Avenida Chayofita for early morning training.

Southport Swimming Club had the 7.30 to 9.30 am shift under the watchful eyes of their Head Coach, Mark Patrickson and his three coaches. “We’ve brought 30 male and female swimmers, over the 10 years we have been coming over it’s changed a little from mainly 9 to 13 year olds to 12 to 18 years old. The programme works well, we do 11 two hour sessions during our week stay. In all we have 80 people in our party, as most swimmers come with parents on a mix of flights. There’s a well worn tradition of meeting up early on the first training morning on the steps of the Apolo Centre, handy as we stay at apartments in San Marino, Tenerife Sur, and Cristian Sur. We always get made welcome in the area, The Shires in the Apolo Centre does two big sittings for us to have breakfast on the way back from the pool. The junior and national championships are coming up early next year so the Tenerife training gives them all a boost to improve their performances.”

Next in the pool were Ulster Schools Swimming Association, they have been coming to Tenerife for 30 years, in the early days they trained in Puerto de la Cruz but are keen converts to the south. Head Coach Katherine Wiley outlined their own particular needs. “We have 26 swimmers, two coaches, and three managers with us. It has all come together fairly quickly for our under 14s as they had to qualify for the trip via galas in the province. They are pretty much strangers to each other so that makes it slightly more difficult but they soon make new friends, we are have a 30 year reunion soon, many of those attending will have become friends through trips with us. The immediate aim is the Irish championships in December. Our regular base here is the Bitacora Hotel just up the road, they look after our needs and we fly in with Jet2, their easy check in service for the luggage means all their gear is waiting for us at the hotel.”
Team Manager Heather Henderson was also struck by the welcome that Ulster receive. “ We walk to the pool from the hotel and they buy water and bits and pieces at the Papelaria Raquel shop on the way. Raquel is a real character, on the last day she treats them all to pastries and lollies.”

The pool is also well used by local groups, schools, and for public swimming sessions. It was noticeable how attentive the staff were to the teams needs. Susanah Garcia, who manages the pool for the Arona Council smoothes the way for all the visitors, it all makes for a relaxed atmosphere of encouragement and support from the coaches and managers at pool side. During the week the teams became a regular sight at Los Cristianos beach, and took time out at Siam Park. Their distinctive kit bags, team shirts, and joyful enthusiasm were their constant companions.

Pooling their talents were the combined Ards, and Banbridge Swimming Clubs, also from Northern Ireland, who come over as one party. Team manager Michael Angus, one of four team managers, put them through their paces. “This is our third year over, this time with 24 swimmers, slightly younger with a 12 to 16 age range. It´s all about building them up with the short course national and European trials next on the horizon, they need to hit peak form at the right time.”

Talking of choices, the party made the right flight choice. “There are two airlines that cover our trip, when we booked we went for Jet 2, the other choice would have been Thomas Cook. Our base is Paradise Park Hotel, it´s up the hill from the pool but the walk to and from the pool for the two daily sessions is all part of the experience, and they look after us very well up there.”

15 Years Of Hope And Help From Walk For Life

Once an idea but now a flourishing support network and one of the biggest events in the Tenerife calendar. The Walk For Life, Carrera Por La Vida, was founded, by their President Brigitte Gypen who has been the driving force as it has grown to be a pink beacon in the fight against breast cancer.

Something special was called for to mark the 15th year so nearly two months ahead of the Sunday 15 December walk, a large crowd gathered at the CC El Mirador on the seafront in Costa Adeje. I knew it was going to be a grand night as a lady dressed as a huge illuminated peacock directed us up onto the terrace. Over the years the multi national nature of the charity has grown, and that was reflected in the guests. Cancer has no respect for nationality, language, or culture, that’s why the walk always attracts such a mixture of supporters. In 2018, there were 5,000 walkers on the route through Arona and Adeje, raising 35,500 euros for help and to raise awareness, particularly of the importance of early diagnosis.

There was plenty of pride and emotion as Brigitte thanked all who had contributed to the last 15 years. It was a time to reflect on milestones like the opening of the Pink Room (Sala Rosa) in Las Nieves, Adeje, a place where people can come for advice and support. The Swim For Life has become a regular curtain raiser for the walk, and new initiatives like Art For Life, help to push the cause forward. A cascade of photos and videos from across the years played out on two large screens, and Chago Melian captured the mood with his haunting but uplifting singing. From a personal point of view, the Armada Sur (CD Tenerife fan group) are always looking for ways to support the cause, the pink t shirts have always been popular with our members, this year the our football calendar will lead our contribution.

There was a very upbeat mood, Walk For Life is a celebration of life, a cherishing of memories of those who have died, and a determination to keep on reducing the shadow that breast cancer throws across so many families. The wine and beer flowed, the paellas went down a treat, and the pink cakes were delicious. It´s going to be another cracker of a walk, everyone is very welcome,wear a little pink if possible or go all the way with one of the amazing outfits that always catch the eye. Here´s to the next 15 years.

Biographies That Bulge Nets, Ring Chords, And Are A Great Catch

How To Be A Footballer by Peter Crouch (with Tom Fordyce) Ebury Press (2018)

At last a kindred spirit for all football fanatics. Peter Crouch gatecrashed football at its highest levels (Tottenham, Liverpool, England) changed many perceptions along the way, and delivered goals galore. Like a bewildered intruder he has witnessed the bizarre rituals, superstitions, and vanity traps that have seduced even the best professional players. Now armed with a wicked sense of humour, Peter is naming names and throwing open the doors of the dressing rooms, training grounds, and elite hotels.
Starting out over 20 years ago as an apprentice, our guide has seen the passing of communal baths, card schools, and fish and chips after match meals. This isn´t your usual autobiography, but our guide still gives telling insights into what drove him to become so much more than the tall, ungainly, novelty painted by the media and mocked by some fans. The Robot goal celebration, fashion disasters, and houses and cars he lived to regret, all get an airing. They all seem quite mild compared to other star struck stars. You wouldn´t expect managers he served under like Harry Redknapp, Rafa Benitez, and Fabio Capello to escape his mischievous gaze, they all get the same close inspection from our Peter.
What has always endeared Peter Crouch to supporters has been his honesty, effort, and child like awe at being let into the world of his heroes. Even a VAR machine would struggle not to giggle at pages that aim high and deliver the trophies.

Life by Keith Richards (with James Fox) – Published by Phoenix Paperback (2011)

Neither rule book or guitar manual are big enough to contain the most extraordinary rocker the world has seen and heard. Keith Richards has always yearned for more, from diverse musical influences, company, and natures cocktail of highs. Yet in his enthralling autobiography he also reveals the smaller, subtle influences of family, good friends, and musical icons. His cover assurance that “I haven´t forgotten any of it” is backed up by his thoughts and reasoning behind the screaming headlines that shocked several generations. Accomplished journalist James Fox, a friend since the 1970´s, teases out the details of Keith´s rows, riots, raids, and relationships with those closest to him, including his love and sometimes loathing for Mick Jagger.
There was plenty of friction through the decades from Keith´s Dartford birth in 1943, and the pearls that dripped from his guitar at a frantic pace as he taught himself to feel and think the chords and riffs, and to become a valued song writer. It´s all written in Keith´s non PC voice, and he is always generous in his praise for his contemporaries, and that willingness to share and teach from the strummers union. This far removed from those heady days when The Rolling Stones were seen as the devils spawn, it´s easy to forget how their exploits tore through the very fabric of society. Drugs played a big part in the revolution, Keith doesn´t shy away from his fascination and hunger for them, and recalls those who fell by the wayside.
The biggest addiction of all for Keith has always been the music. This book worships it, celebrates it, and gives an insight into its power. You don’t need to like rock, or the anti hero Keith Richards, just enjoy the ride through a who’s who of music, all witnessed via the child like awe of a true legend.

A Clear Blue Sky by Jonny Bairstow (& Duncan Hamilton) Harper Collins Publishers (2018)

Getting behind the man behind the stumps, this book reveals a clarity of ambition, dedication, and loyalty. England and Yorkshire´s record breaking wicket keeper and batsman tells how he was inspired by his fathers illustrious playing career, challenged by his fathers suicide and mothers fight with cancer, and did his family and country proud with bat, ball, and a refusal to be beaten.
Poised a run short of his first test century, Jonny recalls the highs and lows of life and sport that gave him purpose to prove himself again and again. Bitterness has no place in Jonny´s outlook, cruel fate and setbacks are taken as lessons to be learned from and fuel for the next push onwards. There´s plenty for cricket purists to enjoy, duels with great names, stories of Yorkshire pride that borders on beligerence, and a grudging, bat dragging journey into the modern commercial rebirth of cricket.
Even if you can’t tell your silly mid on from your deep gulley, Jonny explains the technical challenges with facing a myriad of bowling styles and speeds. Most were met with a firm bat or a safe pair of hands, even when struck by the fiercest of balls, Jonny took all the knocks and bounced back. The immense pleasure of facing the world’s greatest players, experiencing distant cultures and making new friends is shared with the reader. As a sports book it excels, and as a revealing account of growing up in the shadow of adversity, it’s inspiring and entertaining.

Racing Santander Rain On CD Tenerife Goal Parade

Attacking flair and great finishing built a 3-1 home lead for CD Tenerife but Racing Santander snatched a 3-3 draw as basic defensive errors undid all their good work. Wearing their pink away kit at home to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Day was a nice gesture from the Santa Cruz club and it matched their blushes as they tormented their fans with their big throwaway.

A big statement of intent was needed to lift the home fans, an early shot from former Tenerife midfielder Kitoko was a warning to not underestimate the third from bottom visitors. Just 12 minutes into the action, a fast, slick build up saw Alex Bermejo drop a well flighted ball over the Racing defence for Malbasic to slip it under goalie Luca Zidane. The 21 year old loanee from his famous fathers club had plenty to worry about as Nahuel showed he was equally at home on the right as on his normal left wing, and Bermejo always looked threatening on the other flank. A long free kick from the Racing full back was taken comfortably by Ortola but Tenerife were enjoying themselves as the heavy rain poured down.

Luis Perez was having another superb game from right back, he had the vision and the speed to reach a lay off from Nahuel and cut it back for Bermejo to give Zidane no chancewith a sweet strike. This was more like it, the 8,525 crowd sensed the chance to kick start the slumping season. Then came the first big lapse, Alberto only had to do kick the ball out of play to stop Lomardo near the post, but he tried to over think it and the striker made him look like a novice as he buried the ball in the net. That gave the half time break a whole different complexion. At least Tenerife regained their superiority five minutes after the restart when Luis Perez was outstanding again, this time scooping a lost ball back from the byline into the path of Borjs Lasso for a bullet header.

Just six minutes later a slack kick out from Ortola was fumbled by Alberto and Lombardo pounced to march through and reduce the arrears. Borja was ploughed down by a Racing player and after a few minutes of discomfort, was replaced by Aitor Sanz. Suso came on for Nahuel, those moves robbed the team of two of the main play makers, and the arrival of striker Mierez for Malbasic weakened the goal threat. Tenerife should have pressed harder, Zidane kept wandering far out of his goal, he needed to be pressured more. It all made for a nervous last 30 minutes. Suso charged inside but was fouled by Olaortua, and that was about the best chance Tenerife had of putting more distance between the two sides. Racing had six players booked, all that card flashing added up to four extra minutes, and it wasn´t pretty.

Luis Milla broke on the left with two players coming up in support, he tried to do too much on his own and lost the ball after running it on too far. Then in the last 30 seconds a gifted Racing free kick sailed over and was headed past a slow Ortola by Yoda. Home fans trudged out with the whiff of a defeat in their nostrils – that´s how it felt. Slipping down to 19th spot, after match talk was of coaching responsibilities, and out of form players like Milla and Alberto.

Zeben Hat Trick Heaven Fires CD Marino

An inspired switch by coach Kiko de Diego gave Zeben Buades a more central attacking role and he exploited it to the full to plunder a hat trick that blew apart UD San Fernando 4-2 to keep CD Marino two points clear at the top of their Tercera Division group.

Nami, the usual main striker revelled in more of a roaming role and the two forwards complimented each other. Within the first ten minutes Zeben had curled a shot over the bar, and Nami had forced a low save at the post. Fermin, in goal for the Gran Canaria side, looked unsure when racing out wide to clear another Nami threat. San Fernando, tucked in the chasing pack behind Marino, had their moments, Abraham was dangerous down the left but Saavedra was on top form in the blues rear guard and cleared the danger. Abraham was soon back for another go, this time his shot was repelled by home keeper David.

Saavedra was having an influence on both ends of the pitch, a well timed tackle stopped Fran in his tracks, and his long ball picked out Zeben, forcing Fermin to make a sliding interception. Nikki had a couple of good chances, the best one was just wide of the yellows post. A home goal was inevitable, after the 30 minute water break, a right cross bobbled along the San Fernando goal line before being crashed in by Zeben. The yellows ended the half with a strong attacking spell and carried it on after the break to level the game as Alejo made good progress down the right to set up Quintero for their goal. It was vital that Marino closed the door on their opponents, Samuel´s break down the left found Zeben eager and waiting to restore the home lead. The killer blow came when Nami stretched the yellows defence and passed to Zeben who skipped past the outstretched hand of the goalie for an easy tap in to complete his treble.

Despite a double substitution,San Fernando struggled to find a way back as Marino tightened the screw. Samuel made Fermin work hard to flick away a free kick, Nami was close to tucking in the loose ball. Marino made their own changes with Santi Ramirez and Bamba both getting late run outs. Diego played a key role in the final home goal, he found space on the right and sent an inviting ball in to Nami, his finish was deserved reward for his hard work all game. There was just pride for San Fernando to play for, in the closing minutes, sub Ojeda tried his luck with a curling shot into the roof of the home goal for a consolation. Marino were convincing winners, everyone is pulling together and playing a full part in the overall strength of the team

Sunday Feast From The Head Of The Table

With a second consecutive 3-0 win, CD Marino served notice that they are top of their Tercera Division group on merit and ready to repel all challengers. Last weeks triple came at Union Puerto, this week Villa Santa Brigida from Gran Canaria felt the full force of well organised, confident, and hard working team display.

Santa Brigida may have been at the foot of the table but they were a big, strong side willing to attack from the off. Their direct style caused a few early problems and just 10 minutes into the game Rodo slipped the home defence and fired at the open goal. David flew across the line and tipped the shot aside. Marino took the warning on board and clicked into top gear, Diego picked out Samuel on the left and the visitors defence had to make a swift clearance. Charni carved out an opening, a pass to Zeben in space might have produced the blues opener, instead a shot went straight to Jonay in goal. Samuel had too much pace for the Brigida defence, he ran onto a well measured floated ball from Roy but could only crash it into the side netting.

Nami was purposeful and mobile up front, he left three defenders in his wake as he headed for goal before setting Roy up for a free header. Brigida were already floundering, Uday tried a quick break only to find Nikki waiting to win the ball from him at right back. Even marking Marino players was proving tough, Samuel continually sped down the left to beat their offside trap, a clever chip nearly broke the deadlock. Staying alert is helping Marino to close out opponents, when captain Santo tried to break free, David was equal to his shot and cleared it with his finger tips. A home goal was long overdue as half time approached, a short corner found Samuel and he showed he´s not just about speed, he swept the ball under the crossbar and into the net with a powerful strike for a 1-0 lead at the break.

Samuel couldn´t wait to get back on the pitch, two more of his close efforts opened the second half. Brigida were under siege, a series of corners brought their reward when Uday turned the ball into his own net after 51 minutes. There should have been a third goal soon after, Jonay got his whole body behind a shot to keep the score down. Alberto was the first home change when Zeben went off, the visitors managed a brief spell on the attack, it was little more than a breather as Marino stormed back. There are plenty more young players eager to break into the Tenerife south team, when Samuel went off, Brigida might have hoped to catch their breath, that was not an option as Sergio, brother of Nikki, added his sprints to the right flank. Stephane took over from Roy and bolstered the left wing, his first touch was a corner for Charni to head wide.

A clean sheet and a couple of goals would have done most teams, Marino weren´t about to ease off early. A slick move from the right produced a great combination as Nikki fed his brother Sergio to round the defence and supply a perfect set up for Nami to reflect his teams superiority with a final goal just before the whistle. Marino are now two points clear of second spot, and two more ahead of third.

Champagne Charlies And A Barrel Of Woes For CD Tenerife

Home is where the heartache is after two poor defeats at the Heliodoro Stadium in four days for CD Tenerife. It highlighted their worrying Santa Cruz form, especially when compared to a rich vein of wins on their travels. Real Oviedo and Extremadura both made a nonsense of their lowly positions to plunder six points and leave Tenerife’s aspirations in tatters.

Embraced and escorted off the pitch by jubilant team mates, Real Oviedo goalie Champagne had the last laugh for again playing the clown on a visit to CD Tenerife. Home fans would also point to a delayed and disputed VAR penalty denial that played a part in the 0-1 Wednesday night defeat to the win less, bottom placed visitors. Even the long established inability to beat “inferior” teams, and failure to establish winning streaks were mentioned but Tenerife were sloppy, negative, shot shy, and so easy for their orange shirted visitors to wind up.

Coming off a wonderful 1-4 win at Lugo, confidence should have been overflowing but Oviedo had the first decent chance. Barcenas drifted in from the right to slice a shot wide of the home goal. Malbasic and Mieroz were getting in each others way up front for Tenerife and Bermejo was not at his scintillating best of previous weeks. Ortuño was looking dangerous and wasn´t too far off target with his free kick. After 24 minutes there was a near copy of the lone goal in the previous home defeat. A well measured ball from Sangall outstripped Carlos Ruiz and found Barcenas who shrugged off Luis Perez and fired the ball under the diving Ortola.

A quick break and Borja Lasso headed a shot at the Oviedo goal, a defender blocked it with his hand, his reaction and the refs instant point to the spot signalled a penalty. VAR had other ideas, and highlighted a Tenerife offside pass way back in the build up, and after the usual drawn out wait, the spot kick was cancelled. The half time feeling in the stands was still that Tenerife had the fire power (9 goals in the last 3 away games) to stick the form book back together. A sniff of a win was all Oviedo needed, out came the diving, delaying, and disrupting tactics. Nahuel came on for Bermejo, and Suso for Mierez to change the home front line. Nahuel gave a much better account of himself after his dismal debut in the last home game. The Argentinian left winger teased the away defence and opened them up but there were no finishers waiting. Suso worked the ball in from the right and passed it across to Malbasic, his neat back heel was a bright idea but couldn´t find a team mate.

Champagne was having problems with gravity, after several theatrical falls he got booked, it didn´t stop him from gathering the ball from the pending header of Aitor Sanz. The keeper followed that with some early pantomime as he fell to the ground in the shadow of his diving defender, maybe he was just showing solidarity. Dani Gomez was a late replacement for Sanz, Champagne snatched a half chance from Malbasic but even the added VAR time couldn´t yield a home goal, for the third time on the trot.

It was an attack minded line up a few nights later against Extremadura. Naranjo was the surprise recall in a more central role, with Mieroz benched, and Nahuel holding his left wing spot as Bermejo slotted in just slightly deeper. Hope hardly had time to get comfortable before an Alex Diaz high ball into the box, Carlos Ruiz, one of three close defenders, missed a tackle on Zarfino who gratefully tucked the ball into the home net. Luis Perez tried for a quick reply, setting up Bermejo for a wayward header, Naranjo was also wasteful, turning an easy nod in, into a glaring miss. Extremadura were basking in their lead and tested Ortola who produced a late punch clear of his goal. It was VAR time at the other end as Munoz squeezed a Naranjo pass in at the post, as the keeper scrabbled in vain to stop it crossing the line. There was just time to bake a cake or write a novel before technology told the ref to give the thumbs up for the equaliser.

There was no time to relax for Tenerife, Willy was bearing down on the home goal, Munoz showed his quality with a snappy interception to clear the danger. Pastrana was denied by another diving save by Ortola, and Rocha exposed Carlos Ruiz and was grateful to Perez for mopping up. Second half nerves were jangling as Ortola spilled a shot just after the restart but a counter attack saw Bermejo clear the bar from a Naranjo pass. Malbasic was getting involved more even if his shot was too weak to trouble the goalie. On the hour Borja Lasso came on for the subdued Luis Milla, it added some urgency and woke up Nahuel whose pass to Mazan forced some stern defending. Dani Gomez was a straight swap for Malbasic when maybe an extra striker would have been a risk worth taking. Naranjo never fails to depress, he wasted good build up work from Munoz with a weak finish, even his recent weeks of obscurity hadn’t sharpened his appetite.

Disaster followed as Extremadura sub Nono dispatched a penalty, after Carlos Ruiz had held him back with 15 minutes left. The final home change brought Mierez on, he did add a threat in the air but Bermejo giving way for him was a costly sacrifice. Tenerife piled on late pressure but their aim hadn’t improved. Naranjo should have ensured himself another lengthy spell in mothballs after another soft attempt on goal. Gomez was lively but couldn’t convert good positioning into the finished product. Just four minutes of injury and VAR time were added, long enough for Borja Lasso to pull Alex Lopez back and convert a booking into a sending off, his second in just over a month. It was just another blow for the 9,876 crowd as three more home points evaporated into the night air. There are goals in this squad, at least on away soil, but the mental block at home is feeding frustration and the team slipped into 16th place.