Glamorgan’s Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1985 saw a remarkable all-round performance by Rodney Ontong. In 1983 the South African-born all-rounder had changed bowling styles from pace to spin. He proved to be a prodigious spinner of the ball, claiming 74 wickets in 1984, during which he also took over the captaincy of a struggling Glamorgan side. The following year he produced a truly astonishing performance with an innings of 130 and 13 wickets in the match against Nottinghamshire to record one of the finest all-round efforts by a Glamorgan player.
Nottinghamshire had begun quite promisingly in their first innings, and entering the final half-hour on a rain-affected day, their score was 150-2, with captain Clive Rice leading the way with a brisk 63. But Rodney Ontong took four wickets in five dramatic overs, and all without conceding a run, as Nottinghamshire dramatically collapsed to 171-7.
They added only a further 27 runs on the second morning, before the Glamorgan batsmen produced an almost copybook performance as their opponents. After Alan Lewis Jones and John Hopkins gave the Welsh side a solid start, the home spinners, Eddie Hemmings and Peter Such, reduced Glamorgan 81-4. But Rodney Ontong then made a memorable century, scoring 130 in 247 minutes. The Glamorgan captain was completely untroubled, hitting one six and 14 fours, as he counter-attacked in tandem with uncapped batsman, Matthew Maynard.
The young number six had scored a scintillating century on his county debut in the previous game at Swansea against Yorkshire, and the rookie batsman gave another uninhibited display of strokeplay , hitting ten crisp boundaries, before he was yorked by seamer Andy Pick off the last ball of the afternoon`s play. But it was only a temporary respite for the Nottinghamshire bowlers as Terry Davies and Mark Price gave Ontong further support as the Glamorgan captain reached a well deserved century.
With a deficit on first innings of 131, the Nottinghamshire openers took the score to 59-0 before a dramatic collapse took place as Ontong claimed eight wickets whilst just another 61 runs were added. Wickets fell through tentative prods and indiscreet swipes against the turning balls from the Glamorgan captain. Ontong finished with match figures of 13/106, and quite fittingly, his name went into the notebooks of the England selectors. In 1987 he came very close to selection in England`s World Cup party, but in August 1988 his fine career came to an abrupt end when he badly damaged his knee in a car crash en route to a game in Northamptonshire.