Garstang RUFC’s first XV kicked off the season proper with a 40-31 defeat at Hoylake.
While they totally dominated possession and territory, Garstang were wasteful in the final third.
In comparison, Hoylake lived on scraps but were clinical whenever they had a sniff of a score.
Garstang fell behind a quarter of an hour into the game when Hoylake spilled the ball but it was deemed to be a Garstang knock-on.
Hoylake made a sharp break from the resulting scrum and went under the posts to lead 7-0.
Garstang went right back at Hoylake and levelled the scores when Elliott Davies Taylor threw a dummy close to the line and went over.
Shortly afterwards, the same player made another incisive break before releasing Ainsley Pye to cross.
Nevertheless, Hoylake led at half-time as they punished sloppy defending to score twice for a 21-14 lead.
That advantage was extended early in the second half with another converted try making it 28-14.
Garstang rallied, however, and got within two points when Joel Dugdale went over, followed by a second converted effort for Davies Taylor to trail 28-26.
With a little more than 10 minutes remaining, Garstang forced a penalty but, rather than take the three points, they took a quick tap and wasted the opportunity.
It was especially painful as, from the restart, Hoylake went the length of the pitch to score in the corner.
Trailing 33-26, Garstang saw Hoylake kick a turnover downfield and win the race for a converted try.
With one bonus point achieved for scoring four tries, Garstang knew they could get a second in losing by seven points or fewer.
The last play saw Dugdale score in the corner to make it 40-31 but Kieran Davies’ conversion struck the post.
Elsewhere, the Blues posted a 57-17 win against Kirkby Lonsdale Warriors.
The first XV host New Brighton on Saturday with the Blues facing Southport (both 3pm).