One of Oxford’s oldest and most bitter rivalries intensified this week, as Oriel College Boat Club bought Keble’s website following an administrative oversight.
The Summer Eights runners-up failed to renew their keblecollegebc.com domain name at the start of the academic year.
Upon noticing this, Oriel seized upon the opportunity to further stoke the fire, and purchased the website for themselves for the nominal fee of £6.99.
For the past week, Keble’s professionally-made website has redirected to Oriel’s homepage, rowing.oriel.ox.ac.uk, much to the delight of Oriel Men’s Captain, Robert Boswall. “You snooze, you lose,” he told Cherwell.
The two colleges endured a fractious relationship last year, with both boat clubs using social media to stir the pot.
The ‘Keble4Head’ Instagram account posted a series of memes – several of which were condemned as “sexist and misogynist” by one student in a JCR meeting – at the expense of Oriel.
Meanwhile, Oriel’s Facebook page labelled the Parks Road college ‘Blues-buyers’, with reference to the high number of university-level rowers within Keble, on account of the financial awards given to top rowers by the college courtesy of alumnus Robin Geffen and his company Neptune Investment Management, who sponsor the Boat Club. “I was fed up of Keble buying Blues, so I bought their website,” Boswall continued.
Cherwell understands that Keble are aware of the purchase, and that Oriel have accepted the offer of a crewdate in exchange for the domain’s return to its original owners.
Furthermore, it is understood that Oriel Boat Club have had access to a confidential Google Sheets document, from which Keble’s men’s training is co-ordinated, for the past six months.
This meant that throughout the run-up to this year’s Summer Eights, Oriel had access to every erg score, training plan, schedule, line-up and practice video from Keble’s first VIII.
The spreadsheet, which has been seen by Cherwell, also contains the phone numbers of the whole club, from first-boat rowers to coaches.
Oriel gained access to the document after stumbling across Keble Boat Club’s Facebook group, which featured a link to it in its description, in a remarkable lapse in security.
Neither Keble Boat Club’s President nor its Women’s Captain responded to Cherwell’s request for comment.