David dedicated to Woolverstone
DAVID Hazelwood's devotion to Woolverstone United has taken up a huge part of his life.He is in his 50th consecutive year with the Metaltec SIL club.
By Elvin King
DAVID Hazelwood's devotion to Woolverstone United has taken up a huge part of his life.
He is in his 50th consecutive year with the Metaltec SIL club.
So it is fitting that the village side has won promotion for the second season running, and will be playing in Division Four in 2007/08.
The 62-year-old starting playing for Woolverstone while still at school, and has since taken on virtually every job at the club.
He has no plans to give up his secretary and treasurer posts, and he also work six hours a week on the ground - cutting grass and marking out the pitch.
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“We used to have the council cut the grass, but that was not always a reliable arrangement so I now have all my own machinery,” said David.
There is no doubt that without his dedication Woolverstone would almost certainly have joined the number of village clubs that have folded.
“Yes, there were times when I wondered when it was worth carrying on,” David said.
“It was in the days when we had the majority of our players live in Ipswich, and you could not always rely on them.
“Nowadays the team is made up of players from the Shotley peninsular although we do not have anyone who still lives in Woolverstone.”
Shotley, Holbrook, Stutton and Chelmondiston are where the majority of the current side hail from, with manager Craig Catchpole coming from Chelmondiston.
They have found life comfortable in Division Five this campaign, scoring over 100 goals with Henley Athletic and Trimley Red Devils providing the stiffest opposition and set to go up with Woolverstone.
“We have met a couple of Division Four sides in cup competitions, and we expect a tougher season next year,” said David.
“The manager is looking into the prospect of re-starting a reserve side and the future looks bright.“
In the sixties when Woolverstone inherited players from New Park Rangers they moved up to Division Three, but during their long existence in the SIL they have never seriously threatened senior football.
“Things have changed so much,” added David. “I can remember catching a Blue Bird coach at Chelmondiston Red Lion to take me to away games in Ipswich.
“In those days very few people had cars, and for a match at Bawdsey we left at 10.30am and did not return until early evening.”
Woolverstone's success has rubbed off on the village with around 30 spectators attracted to most home games.
“We played at Stonham last week, and had 25 people supporting us,” said David, who will be with the side for their penultimate league game at Stowupland on Saturday.
Paul Adams and Luke Holmes have notched the majority of the goals, while Woolverstone are in the semi-final of the Ross Taylor Cup and hoping to go one better than 2005/07 when they were beaten finalists.