So, pushing that inner groundhopper aside, I decided that a return to Second Meadow was the order of the day. Although the game was technically a home tie for Wormley Rovers, the match had been switched to Biggleswade because Wormley's ground was not available.
The game was to be Wormley's first venture into the FA Vase. Last season saw the club finish 5th in the Herts Senior League but they managed to secure a place in the Eastern Counties League Division One (Step 6) following the league re-organisation. So, having been a Step 7 side last season, a draw against an established Step 5 outfit like Biggleswade United, was always going to be a tough propostiion for Rovers.
United, who finished 8th in the SSML Premier last season, have reached the 2nd Round of the Vase five times, but only made the 1st Round last season, going down 1-0 at home to Yaxley. Interestingly, back in the 1984-85 season the clubs were both part of the Herts Senior County League set-up, with Division One Wormley being the higher-placed of the teams. United, in those days, were a Division two outfit.
Did anyone get into the re-arranged game for free based upon their confirmed attendance on Friday? Personally, I was happy to pay again (every little helps), but I did wonder if I had missed an announcement on Friday before I left.
Second Meadow has not changed since my last visit in August 2015, a game in which a newly-promoted Welwyn Garden City side ran out 5-1 winners. Of course, The Citizens have since gone on to gain a further promotion and now play in the Southern league. Suffice to say that Second Meadow remains a decent and friendly place to watch football. There is plenty of seating and cover available for those who require it and the pitch still look sin pretty good condition.
So, on an evening noticeably cooler than last Friday, the teams took to the pitch with Wormley in red shirts and Biggleswade in their change kit of blue and black.
It was, however, Biggleswade who got the first meaningful strike towards goal when, after 16 minutes, left-back Kane Farrell let fly from 25 yards out, only to see his effort go wide of Betts-Cooper's left-hand post.
The Rovers response to this effort was immediate though and almost saw them take the lead. First of all Oliver Finch came close before Biggleswade's keeper, Ollie Leslie, just about tipped a second effort onto the bar and out for a corner.
Two minutes later Leslie was called into action again, parrying a free-kick from just outside the box and then seeing the follow up go just wide as both an attacker and defender challenged for the loose ball.
Just before the half-hour mark it was Biggleswade's turn to go close to breaking the deadlock when Taz Andrews chested down a ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a thunderous volley which beat Betts-Cooper but rebounded to safety from the underside of the crossbar. A superb strike from Andrews which probably deserved better.
Rovers then went straight back down the other end and forced a corner. United cleared the corner and broke with incredible speed. A couple of passes and the ball was played into the path of Sam Holmes who saw his shot, in my opinion, brilliantly tipped over the bar by Betts-Cooper. I say in my opinion because the referee and his assistant gave a goal kick.
Just before half-time, United did manage to get the ball into the Rovers net but the assistant had already raised his flag for offside before Cooper's effort went in.
HT Wormley Rovers 0 Biggleswade United 0. Some nice passing play from United and, overall a fairly even game, but the work-rate of Rovers was the stand-out impression from the first half. I've not seen a team chase and harry this much for a long time. Credit to their coaching staff for instilling such discipline in the team too. An intriguing game for a neutral.
Just before the hour mark Biggleswade, once more, had the ball in the Rovers net but, once again, the whistle had already gone for an infringement before the ball had crossed the line. United, tough, were getting closer. A minute or two later, captain George Brinkman hammered an effort just wide of the target before, on 63 minutes, they finally broke the deadlock. There was a slight element of luck about the goal. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where it was returned towards the Rovers goal. Jamie Smith managed to get a deflection on it, sending the ball past Betts-Cooper and into the net. 0-1.
The goal wobbled Wormley, no doubt about that. However, if anyone was expecting them to collapse, then they were sorely mistaken. The work-rate, which may have been expected to drop off, was showing no real sign of abating. True they had their keeper to thank for keeping them in it on 69 minutes, when he superbly turned a Farrell shot around the post with an acrobatic one-handed save, but there was no sign of the floodgates opening.
After 80 minutes Biggleswade once again though they had got the game sewn up but this time a timely goal-line clearance kept the score at 0-1. It was to prove to be the catalyst to a barn-storming finish from Rovers.
With under five minutes remaining a little bit of pinball, and a fortuitous ricochet, gave Rovers a clear site of goal but the ball was fired over the bar and into the car park. The warning bell had been rung though.
With a minute left on the clock Rovers forced a corner on their right side. The ball was played in towards the near post where it was met by the tireless Linger, who headed the ball past Leslie and took the game into extra-time. 1-1.
FT Wormley Rovers 1 Biggleswade United 1. A fascinating game of football. Despite always trying to remain neutral, I have to say I was pleased when Rovers equalised for two reasons. One, their effort deserved some reward. Two, I didn't want the game to end.
During the first half of Extra-Time, the efforts of the first 90 minutes seemed to finally be taking their toll on Wormley. Biggleswade were certainly starting to get on top on the game and the threat from Rovers was getting less and less as the game progressed now. Twice United forward Dave Parkinson made progress on the right but neither chance was converted and we were heading into the last 15 minutes still all-square.
Into the second period of extra-time and the tension was beginning to show. Neither side wanted to make a mistake at this point. Going behind again now would almost certainly be the end of the FA Vase adventure for either team.
With four minutes to go, and both coaches probably thinking of penalties, Wormley were reduced to ten men when one of their players (sorry, I missed who it was), was shown a second yellow. That, possibly, proved to be the turning point. That little bit of extra space allowed Biggleswade to put together one final, one-touch passing move which culminated in substitute Joe Hankin playing a one-two and then slipping the ball under Betts-Cooper. 1-2.
FT ET. Wormley Rovers 1 Biggleswade United 2. Late heartbreak for Rovers. Their players looked out on their feet when the winning goal went in. Great credit to Biggleswade for continuing to plug away even though they clearly weren't at their best.
Massive, massive credit to Wormley Rovers. I can honestly say that I have not seen a side work so hard all across the pitch. Every player, when they are feeling the aches and pains for the next few days, should be proud of their performance.
United go on to face London Lions in the next round. Rovers can now look to consolidate their Step 6 position. Good luck to both sides for the rest of the season.
Wormley Rovers: Betts-Cooper, Head, L. Robinson, Welch (c), Thomas, Tourlamain, Offer, Finch, Montella, Linger, Quarrington-Carter. Subs: King, Archer, M. Robinson, Maybury
Biggleswade United: Leslie, Cooper, Farrell, Lewis, Smith, L. Andrews, Holmes, Irish, Parkinson, Brinkman (c), T. Andrews. Subs: Gauge, Howard-Dobson, Goodman, Drakulic, Hankins
Ground Number: Visited before.
Programme: Free with entry (Tuesday)