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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 15:49 GMT
Cambridge take honours
Oxford University 11-11 Cambridge University

Oxford University 11
Try: Nwume
Pens: O'Mahoney (2)
Cambridge University 11
Try: Desmond
Pens: Lewis (2)
Cambridge University have retained the MMC trophy after a fighting draw in the 122nd Varsity Match at Twickenham.

Oxford dominated the second half but failed to close out the match, letting slip a commanding position.

The Dark Blues took the lead late in the first half with a try from Henry Nwume and a Ryan O'Mahoney penalty.

They went on to dominate the second half but were caught by a late sucker-punch try from Charlie Desmond for the first draw since 1965.

Oxford came into the match as heavy favourites, but the opening exchanges suggested that Cambridge could upset the form book.

They took a deserved lead with two penalties from fly-half Dafydd Lewis and while one number 10 imposed himself on the game, the other limped out of the action with a torn hip muscle.

Jon Fennell's early injury undoubtedly disrupted Oxford's rhythm, however, slowly but surely, with Graham Barr coming on at fly-half, they found their feet at English rugby's headquarters.

Late in the first half prop Henry Nwume crossed for a try after good build-up work.

And despite Barr missing the conversion, Oxford were soon in the lead with a Ryan O'Mahoney penalty.

The scores inspired Oxford to greater efforts in the second half and they came out and dominated the action.

It seems like an anti-climax but is as good as victory - we were under immense pressure but our defence held out
Stewart Eru,
Cambridge captain
Time and time again they recycled possession and strung together phases, but there was no end product and they were punished with the clock ticking down.

A rare Cambridge foray into opposition territory ended with Desmond's sensational score.

The Cambridge wing was on hand to capitalise on an Akinola Abiola blindside break and beat his man to score in the corner.

Lewis hooked the touchline conversion wide but the draw was good enough for the Light Blues to retain the trophy following their 15-13 win 12 months ago.

Oxford University: R O'Mahoney (Trinity); J Bradshaw (Exeter), A Magro (Wolfsen), J Allen (University, capt), A Slade (St Anne's); J Fennell (Pembroke), J Gaunt (Worcester); K Tkachuk (Kellogg), D Griffiths (St Edmund Hall), H Nwume (University), D Lubans (St Anne's), A van Zyl (Templeton), P Raftery (University), R Woods (St Anne's), T Hayman (St Cross). Replacements: A Dalgleish (St Anne's), M Street (Kellogg), A Harris (St Cross), B Durham (Keble), G Barr (St Cross), R Lavery (St John's), T Maynard (University).

Cambrige University: J Ufton (St Edmund's); C Desmond (Girton), I McInroy (Hughes Hall), J Wright (St Edmund's), N Toy (St Edmund's); D Lewis (Hughes Hall), B Dormer (St Edmund's); R Bosch (St Edmund's), G Forde (Hughes Hall), T Kirkman (St Edmund's), M Hocken (Hughes Hall), G Webster (St Edmund's), B Wheeler (St Edmund's), B Woods (Hughes Hall), S Eru (St Edmund's, capt). Replacements: A Abiola (St Catharines), W Hughes (Hughes Hall), A Birkby (St Catharines), N McGarry (Trinity Hall), M Harfoot (St Catharines), M Bell (St Johns), R Workman (Churchill).

Referee: Chris White (Rugby Football Union)


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