Enfield Ignatians staged one of their greatest ever comebacks as they made light of a 19 point deficit to shade a thriller with Finchley 36-31, as 15 man rugby returned to Donkey Lane on Saturday.

The two sides matched strides in the opening two quarters when Ignatians, following scores from two players who were to share the Man of the Match award, Johnny Dixon and Charlie Hoy, were still very much in the hunt at 14-12 down.

However, Ignatians flirted with disaster in the third quarter as, after having a player sin-binned for persistent team infringement, Finchley enjoyed their best spell and the visitors’ slender lead was extended to 31-12 following a three try salvo.

By rights, Ignatians could have sunk without trace at this point. Instead, the mood hardened and, with Finchley also having a man yellow carded, the hosts cashed in on their numerical superiority by staging a rousing grandstand finish.

Rediscovering their élan with a vengeance, Ignatians wrapped up the ‘friendly’ by adding four tries to their ledger after Charlie Hoy, Lewis White, Lucas Yoxall and Ben Mills all crossed.

Captain Jake Bates, having shrewdly pulled the strings as a playmaker, crucially added three conversions which also helped Ignatians get over the line.

He said: “We were poor in the second and third quarters. However, we just went for it in the fourth and final quarter, when there was a lot of our structure to our play, and we turned the game on its head.”

Ignatians will be hoping to carry on their winning ways when host Kilburn Cosmos at Donkey Lane on Saturday.

There were also good results for the youth section with the U15s dominating their Cheshunt counterparts 58-18, and the girls’ U15s and U13s sides gaining respective 17-16 and 19-16 wins over Watford.