A bright start soon faded as Welwyn suffered a defeat on the road at Hitchin.

The Hedgehogs won 20-15 in Counties One Herts Middlesex to move sixth in the table, one spot and two points behind Welwyn for whom this was a third loss of the season.

The victory was secured by a magnificent defensive effort by the Hitchin squad who had to dig very deep to stop a Welwyn side who looked like they would run away with it in the early going.

They had made several changes to their starting line-up but that had no effect as they raced into a 10-point lead in almost as many minutes.

Ash Dobney got things started, touching down after a dominant scrum from five metres out, with the Hitchin scrum half receiving a yellow card in the process.

The numerical advantage brought a second score, Welwyn opting for a scrum instead of a penalty and shoving their way over, Dave Wells getting the final touch.

Both conversions were missed though, as were the two Hitchin efforts that levelled things up before half-time, the hosts responding well to the early sting.

At half time, the injured Will Freeston was replaced by hooker Matt Gray and Josh Walkey moved to prop and the Welwyn pack were less dominant in the second half as a result.

Chris Kemp also left the field and Will Latham moved to scrum half where he acquitted himself well.

A penalty seven minutes into the second period put Hitchin ahead and a converted try with 14 minutes to go gave them two-score lead.

Welwyn's response was to dominate the last part of the match, but Hitchin’s defence held firm against a barrage of attacks from close quarters.

They did get one of the two scores they needed, throwing the ball wide for Liam Scofield to score in the right-hand corner, but this proved to be the last play of the game.

Next week, Welwyn have another away day at in-form Hemel Hempstead.

Datchworth were shut-out in their clash away to Hampstead, losing 27-0.

The Men in Green are 10th and host Enfield Ignatians on Saturday, the team directly below them in the standings.