Onlineability principals Andy and Lisa are celebrating with cricket fans around the country after England won The Ashes this weekend.
The tournament, which is the regular Test meeting between England and Australia, dates back to 1882 and is one of the world’s most fiercely-contested sporting rivalries.
During this year’s event, Onlineability’s cricket blog The Nurdler has provided a case-study in the effective use of social media, building a Twitter following of more than 200 at its peak, and initiating dozens of conversations with fellow fans. (The blog is named after a cautious batting technique deployed primarily in Test cricket.)
This built an audience for the blog itself, which offers a daily dose of cricketing news and humour, and helped position it as an opinion-leader in a forum that includes a good many professional and ex-professional cricketers, England team members, commentators and professional sports journalists.
Lisa said: “One time when Twitter really comes into its own is during sporting events of this kind, where fans can use it to share information, express their feelings and share the suspense of their team’s ups and downs.
“We feel privileged to have gained so many readers for The Nurdler during that time and to have shared such an exciting tournament with them.
“It shows how, far from being an elitist or minority sport, passion for Test cricket is alive and well – and the game is becoming more accessible than ever.”
The series was the first home Ashes since England won a closely-fought contest in 2005 – our first victory for 18 years – and the team celebrated with an open-top bus parade through London’s Trafalgar Square, a visit to 10 Downing Street and a strong showing in that year’s New Year’s Honours list.
But things rapidly came down to earth in 2007 when England travelled to Australia in order to be comprehensively thrashed 5-0. Thus the 2009 tournament was viewed with some trepidation – but also with the knowledge that many stalwarts of the Australian side were no longer playing and the visiting team was – whisper it – beatable.
Pitch conditions, the poor summer weather and vulnerabilities in England’s batting and bowling meant the team’s prospects of winning were a very long way from being a foregone conclusion. In fact, many fans did not dare to hope for a win until late in the fifth and final match, after Australia had set a particularly poor first-innings total with the bat.