Two yellow cards and some early season rustiness prevented Welwyn from enjoying a winning start to their league season.

Playing at their Hobbs Way base, the garden city rugby club lost 16-8 to Hackney in Counties One Herts Middlesex.

It was a setback after a promising pre-season but there were still some encouraging signs.

Early mistakes from Welwyn saw Hackney score two penalties to lead 6-0 midway through the first half but the home side hit back with a penalty of their own just before half-time, Chris Kemp landing the kick.

The first try of the game though belonged to the visitors, and again it came from loose play from the Welwyn side.

The conversion stretched the lead to 11-3 and a further try, this one without the extras, made it 16-3.

Welwyn did continue to play with with promise and adventure, but mistakes prevented most of these from being converted into points.

Kemp, having been sin-binned for a tackle within 10 m of a quick penalty returned to the pitch and was moved from fly-half to scrum-half.

That quickened the pace of the game and it brought Welwyn's first try of the campaign, great hands from a number of players eventually putting Liam Schofield into a gap.

Crucially the conversion was missed and although Welwyn continued to build pressure as the game reached its conclusion, they couldn't get another score that would have given them a losing bonus point.

Datchworth though could celebrate an opening day win as they beat Ruislip 18-14.

Both are on the road in week two, and both against Hertfordshire rivals.

Welwyn go to Cheshunt while Datchworth are at Hitchin.