Enfield Ignatians’ attempts to end their hoodoo against Hammersmith & Fulham ended in a frustrating 30-22 defeat as the blue and golds suffered their first home loss of the season.

Hammersmith have been Ignatians’ bogey team, as despite a number of close calls, the Enfield outfit have failed to beat the west London side since they first clashed at London two level in 2007.

The home side got off to the worst possible start on Saturday as defensive lapses led to two quick-fire Hammersmith tries in the first eight minutes which gifted the visitors a 12-0 lead.

Ignatians responded positively and, after their opponents were penalised for holding on, they successfully farmed the catch and drive from the lineout to put Liam Dunne over.

Enfield continued to rattle Hammersmith’s cage but a lack of precision proved their undoing and the more clinical visitors added a third try and a penalty to lead 20-7 at the break.

Ignatians came out firing after the interval and their positive approach was rewarded when they fashioned a second score from an attacking lineout which led to hooker Ben Mills forcing his way over.

Captain Jake Bates added a second conversion and kicked a penalty as Ignatians moved to within three points of their opponents.

Buoyed by a sterling performance from their back row plus man of the match Charlie Hoy, Ignatians continued to storm forward in search of the all-important next score

However, it was Hammersmith, off limited possession, who again threw down the gauntlet by stretching Ignatians to breaking point and adding a fourth try after the hosts ran out of cover.

To their credit Ignatians again responded. They twice got over the line, only for the ball to be ruled held up on each occasion, but they continued to press and eventually scored a third try.

Prop Shane Manning, lurking on the left wing, finished off a multi-phased attack by squeezing in at the corner as the blue and golds again inched their way to within three points.

However, it wasn’t to be Ignatians’ day and, in the final minute, they kicked away possession and Hammersmith responded by kicking long to the corner.

Making the mistake of fielding the ball, the hosts gifted Hammersmith a prime attacking position a metre out and the visiting pack ended on a high by mauling their way over the line to secure an eight-point margin of victory.

Player-coach Manning said: “The plusses for us were our discipline and the way we responded in the second half, as we really came out firing and made more use of the territory we had.

“It was all at the odds with terrible start we made in the first 15 minutes of the first half. Our communication in defence was poor and there were question marks against our maturity and decision making.”