Leafy Wolviston doesn’t exactly fit the Teesside stereotype. Metcalfe Park, home of Wolviston FC, is one of those tree-lined, bucolic grounds – cricket pitch next door – that feels like it should be on the fringes of a national park rather than a short hop from the cooling towers of Middlesbrough or Billingham.
It’s also home to Wearside League football – Wolvo were founder members of the second division in 1988 and have stayed ever since. A village team up against opposition from bigger communities, something of a non-league underdog in an area where two Billingham clubs Synthonia and Town, plus Thornaby and recently Stockton Town have attracted the bulk of the local interest, Wolviston do well to compete at this level. On occasion, they’ve been close to the title – twice runners-up, twice more finishing third – and while the Wearside League’s second tier has not been a permanent feature, the club has remained in the top flight since promotion in 1990.
The last pre-season friendly of the summer, against Northern League Durham City attracts a decent crowd – at least 40 by my count – and produces a good game. Wolviston lead twice against higher-level opposition before giving up a late goal to draw 2-2. For Durham, undergoing a turbulent time following the departure of manager Ollie Hodgkiss to Washington, it was the first game that hadn’t ended in defeat; for Wolvo, playing some neat football, the coming campaign offers greater grounds for optimism.
Metcalfe Park, Wolviston, England
Aug. 1, 2018. Friendly
Wolviston 2 Durham City 2
Att: 40 (head count)