The Celebration of 10 Years of Cricket WebCricket Web Team |
This month Cricket Web celebrates its 10th anniversary. The not-for-profit site has come a long way in a relatively short period and, as with the medium within which it operates, has evolved constantly over that time.
Although the present domain went live a decade ago the site’s roots go back a little further than that to 1998 when Head man James Nixon began James’ Cricket Site which, over the next 12 months or so morphed first into The Australasian Cricket Zone and then Cricket Central.
In late 1999 a need to complete his education and secure his future meant that James had to close Cricket Central, but he never lost the desire to establish a top quality community and resource for the sport’s huge worldwide following.
James later dipped his toe back in the water by joining www.cricketgames.com where, through meeting a number of like-minded individuals, his enthusiasm was rekindled and this group set about re-establishing the old Cricket Central which launched as Cricket Web on 12 October 2001.
Cricket Web began where The Australasian Cricket Zone and Cricket Central had left off with its primary focus being on Australia and New Zealand cricket. This quickly led into the English game with a developing gaming section. A forum was created, initially using the fairly basic package XMB which, following a hacking attack in late 2003, was then upgraded to vbulletin following donations from visitors and staff alike.
The site soon saw the creation of World Club Cricket, a simulated league run by Brendon Goff and Simon Fitzsimmons with help from many other sources. This unique feature set Cricket Web apart from other sites and was a huge factor in getting the site buzzing and establishing the sense of community which has been maintained throughout the site’s existence. World Club Cricket went from strength to strength before eventually being retired as Brendon and Simon had other priorities and were unable to devote the necessary time to maintain it.
Fantasy Cricket was the site’s next big launch in late 2003 which moved the site to a new level. Marc Robbins and Rich Twyman worked hard then and continue to do so now on devising the rules, points and documentation which make this free to enter game the best of its kind on the internet. Back in the day not even James foresaw this growing to a level where there were as many as 24,209 teams entered for the 2007 World Cup. All major tournaments and series attract a large following and while the 2007 World Cup remains the high point to date Fantasy Cricket is still a huge part of the site.
February 2005 saw the launch of a sub-site, www.cricketmail.net offering free cricket based email addresses to visitors. Although Cricket Mail never achieved the heights reached by Fantasy Cricket this facility still delivers thousands of emails each day to people using the service.
Later in 2005, on Boxing Day to be exact, a new section was launched specifically for Cricket Book reviews by Sean Ehlers (aka Archie Mac), initially on his own and latterly with a small but dedicated team. Since the section was launched, 268 cricket books have been reviewed and in the process it has become the largest collection of cricket book reviews on the internet. There have also been a number of articles of interest to the cricketing bibliophile and a unique six monthly overview of current and future publications has become immensely popular since it first appeared at the end of 2009.
Just a few days after the Book Review section launched, another feature began with the site’s own cricket stats package named Stats Spider following over 18 months worth of development, data-entry and testing. Stats Spider can be used to access a wealth of statistical information regarding the International game and is used by serious researchers as well as by those who just have a casual interest in particular players, matches or series.
With its wider community and discussion forum growing apace these developments meant that by 2006 Cricket Web had outgrown its shared hosting and an upgrade to the site’s own dedicated server took place. Five years on in August 2011 continuing expansion meant a further upgrade became necessary.
The site’s biggest project to date culminated in the 2009 launch of the CW Games section with a bespoke cricket game along with many side-games. After nearly two years of development and testing the result was a high quality game which has now been played more than 1.5 million times.
Feature articles, many of which remain archived and available to members and guests alike, have always been a major part of the site and all told more than 8,000 pieces of work have been submitted by a large number of volunteers. English County pros Chris Taylor and Andrew Gale graced the site’s front page with a blog for some time and more recently New Zealand internationals Peter McGlashan and Matthew Sinclair have done likewise. The game’s finest writers, including such luminaries as David Frith, Gideon Haigh, Stephen Chalke and Matthew Engel have, in recent years, kindly agreed to extracts from their publications appearing on the front page as well.
The site’s popularity is best measured by the bare statistics that show there are now 137,716 players registered with CW Games and 26,843 member registered with the forums with both continuing to grow further. The forum has seen more than 2.6 million posts over the years with discussions ranging from serious in-depth cricket talk to light-hearted banter between followers of all the Test playing nations as their countries fight for supremacy on the field. The forums are not just about cricket either and there are very few subjects where visitors will not find a lively debate on Cricket Web.
As Cricket Web heads onwards and upwards into its second decade members and guests can rest assured that James Nixon’s commitment to the pursuit of excellence remains undiminished and that there will be no departure from the high standards that have been set in the past. James’ message to everyone is:-
I would like to personally thank all the volunteers who have put in countless hours over the years in making Cricket Web into the site you see before you today. Without them the site would not have reached the heights it has and they all deserve special thanks.
My thanks also go to all Cricket Web visitors who use the site for their cricketing needs. Without you all there would obviously be no site and our content would be for nothing.
I am sure that the site will continue to grow even further over the next 10 years, and that I will be sitting here in 2021 telling everyone about another wonderful decade of Cricket Web.
Finally I would like to stress that I and the rest of the management team are always keen to hear from any of you about ideas on how you believe the Cricket Web experience can be improved and also from anyone interested in joining us and working on any aspect of the site. For either purpose please do not hesitate to contact us..