Letchworth's new season at the higher league began in perfect fashion - with a win away from home at Westcliff.

They won 34-26 in Regional One South East, placing them third in the fledgling table with five points.

They could have been overrun by their hosts, who play in the shadow of Southend Airport, but last-ditch defence kept them in it during those opening 20 minutes.

Westcliff did get a converted score in that time while Ben Wilkinson was in the sin-bin and then added another five.

However, Letchworth battled back and new winger Jordan Sullivan-Warner beat two men to score his first try for the club and they were level by the break when Westcliff had a man in the bin.

Luke Mongston got it, crashing over with Josh Sharp adding the extras.

The opening of the second half brought a purple patch for Letchworth that eventually won them the game.

Harvey Howman scuttled in for close range, with Sharp making it 19-12, and after the fly-half had sent a penalty close to the line, Tom Lewis dived over for what became another seven points.

Westcliff reduced the gap back to just seven points with another try of their own and the gap was sufficiently close for Sharp to take three points when the opportunity came.

Both sides were then reduced to 14, obstruction by Lewis earning him a yellow card, and Westcliff grabbed their bonus point try to make it 29-26.

In the end though it was the visitors who got the final score, to kill the nerves and win the game.

Will Titherington was brought down close to the line but Sharp was in support to score and deprive the hosts a losing bonus point.

Letchworth host Bedford Athletic on Saturday.

Hitchin's league season does not start until September 16 when they go to Chiswick but they played their final pre-season game on Saturday.

And hosting long-term rivals St Albans, they picked up a fine 39-5 win.

The Hedgehogs were in the ascendancy from the start, and five minutes in they had their first score.

Ben Wiggins delivered a long pass to Jack Maydom and after beating his opposite number for pace, the winger slipped it to Nick Panton for the try.

The second try came after quick ball from Ryan Godfrey allowed Harry Chater to find Gary Ayres, who proved unstoppable from five metres out.

And it was 17-0 by half-time when an outrageous dummy from Jon Welsford allowed him to score under the sticks, Wiggins converting.

The second period began with a marvellous individual effort on his debut from flanker Callum Cload and try number five was scored by Frazer McGown after a kick forward by Chater.

Still Hitchin kept coming though, James Bolter supplying the pass for Cload's second, and although St Albans pulled one back, the Hedgehogs scored the final try of the day through Tom Tidey.